My friend Heather tells me not to do it. But I do it anyway.
Watch Oprah, that is.
I can’t help it; she has some really great shows.
Even though sometimes she sticks her foot in her mouth, smack dab in the middle of a really great show.
Such was the case last week.
The show to which I refer was about marriage and how different countries/societies view it. It really was rather interesting. Until it became annoying, that is.
She had a correspondent visit Cairo and interview two different camps of women there: the ones with scarves (who cloak all but their faces) and the ones without. This segment illustrates perfectly why I like Oprah; it was utterly intriguing to hear from those women firsthand and gain a better understanding of why they do what they do.
Next up was an Indian couple who had married via an arranged union. Talk about fascinating. I cannot imagine such a thing, yet here was this couple–happily married for five years–who thought nothing of their lack of courtship. I couldn’t imagine such a life. Yet, by the end of their interview, I’d come to respect them immensely for the blind commitment they’d made to one another.
Up to this point I thought it was a great episode.
During a discussion on marriage in America, Oprah–who is yet to be married, mind you–went and said something to the effect of, everybody wants to be married but nobody wants to be the wife. In this case, by “the wife” she was referring to the partner who sacrifices his or her own career to nurture the family.
Now I’ve never been a career-oriented girl myself. I knew from a very early age that the job I wanted would not require a fancy degree or an internship in some Fortune 500. What I wanted to be was a mom. I didn’t have aspirations to travel the globe and make millions. My aspirations were much smaller. More localized. And they fit quite nicely into a three bedroom ranch house, picket fence and all.
As it turns out, the picket fence never materialized but the “career” I longed for is everything I’d dreamed it would be. My days overflow with laundry and dishes and groceries. I make appointments. Wheat bread. Dinner. I mediate and balance and tidy. I’m a teacher. A taxi driver. A nurse and a dietitian. I’m a damn good travel agent. A counselor. Banker. Spiritual adviser. I tie up loose ends and untangle knotty messes. I address, undress and redress. Bathe and bandage. Soothe and simplify. I’m nothing at all to most people but everything that matters to a select few. My job is to make soft the edges of this life–for the ones most precious to me. I do it every day and I like to think I do it well. And while it certainly is far from easy, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Of that much I’m sure.
Something tells me that I’m not alone in that either.
Each day I visit the blogs of women just like me. Maybe not my size or my height or with the same color hair. But women who sacrifice and rejoice, sweat and cry–all whilst pouring their hearts into the people who come home at the end of every day. They–like me–are “the wife”.
And proud to be.
I would be remiss not to point out that Oprah has–time and again–stated that moms have the hardest jobs in the world. She’s right you know; we do. And–in spite of what she said–Oprah does seem to have a great deal of respect for mothers from all walks of life. So I’m sure that the “wife” comment was a slip of the tongue.
But it was one I noticed.
It didn’t offend me. But it did annoy me. It annoyed me because there are a lot of women who would give anything and everything to be “the wife”. One of them being my friend Erin, who tomorrow morning will leave her two beautiful baby boys to go back to work. Her maternity leave has come to an end. And her heart is aching at the impending leaving she must do.
She wants to be “the wife”.
Many of you give thanks every day for your wifeliness.
I am honored to be “the wife”. And grateful for the blessings that allow me to do so.
So my dear Ms. Winfrey, I can assure you that not every woman in America is itching to get out the door so fast, in pursuit of success.
Some of us have found it.
Right here at home.