There is a Mexican proverb that goes, “The house is not built upon the ground, but upon a woman.” Or, at least, according to an episode of “Criminal Minds,” there is such a proverb. The idea, …
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There is a Mexican proverb that goes, “The house is not built upon the ground, but upon a woman.”
Or, at least, according to an episode of “Criminal Minds,” there is such a proverb.
The idea, of course, is that no matter what surface you build a house upon — be it sand, clay, or granite — it has no foundation without a woman at the center of it holding things together.
I have been blessed in my life to have two very strong women at the foundation of my homes. Of course, growing up, there was mom. I believe both my parents would tell you that our house worked because it was always built on the Church, and the model of the household that was espoused in the Bible. But I think for that to work, it requires two strong people to partner with God.
Dad was always the titular head of the household, but Mom was the one who made things work. She was the one that did the groceries and the laundry, that kept the budget and the checkbook, that shopped for the clothes, cooked the meals, and signed all the permission slips. She was the one who kept the schedules straight, who arranged the carpools, and who made sure everybody was out the door on time. And not that Dad couldn’t do those things — she just did them.
And, mind you, mom was before her time — she worked full-time. First as a Registered nurse and nurse supervisor, and then, when she and Dad made the extraordinary leap to open their own business, she became, in effect, the Chief Operating Officer.
But, more importantly, Mom was the primary homework checker, the one who would suffer through poorly-written essays to help us get better, and who would encourage us to open a book when she heard the inevitable chorus of “I’m bored” from seven of us come the third week of summer vacation. Mom was also the one who would listen to all the complaints about school, who would advise us about tough situations, who would listen — patiently — to endless streams of questions and assertions from kids who thought they knew everything and didn’t see the point of the rules and expectations. She even put up with one little windbag constantly try to make the case that a 16-year old had any idea what his priorities in life should be.
Can’t imagine which one of us that was…
The house was good because the foundation was strong. And, as testimony, there are now seven (relatively) productive members of society rolling around the world from that house.
The house I am in now looks different than that one did, as the times we live in are now different. Through 26 years of marriage, there have been many iterations of each of our roles: sometimes she had primary domestic responsibilities, sometimes it fell more to me; sometimes, I had ridiculous job expectations, and sometimes her; at one point, I had to get more schooling, at another it was her.
But I believe it is a great testimony to the strength and talents of my wife that, through it all, she has seamlessly juggled the changing roles. And I can’t imagine a better example for my children — indeed, for an entire next generation — of a woman who simply works hard and accomplishes at every job she ever worked, including the home, but then, when she finds her passion later in life, goes back to school to get the necessary degree, and within a decade, turn that into a high-powered job with an incredible company in a growth industry. And all the while, maintaining a household with a partner who, in many ways, is just another one of the kids.
So, from a man who has seen close-up the irreplaceability of great mothers, let me just thank all the great moms out there for keeping the house strong. Strong houses make for strong societies. Happy Mother’s Day!
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” which is a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at michaeljalcorn.net. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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