Wonderful books by Father Kinsella:
The Wife Desired
The Man For Her
The ideal wife cannot miss being a mother, unless God in His wisdom denies her this privilege. Her children are her crowning glory. Without them there is a big void in her life, and she suffers much more than the loss of motherhood. Without children she will maintain herself as an ideal wife only with effort. When it is apparent that a couple cannot have children the husband who is wise will encourage her to adopt several. Little babies have a mysterious way of opening the hearts of the most selfish. It is practically a truism that love of man and wife does not really come to full fruition until the first baby arrives. The companionship which they might have been afraid of losing because of the child broadens and deepens instead of diminishing. The child draws them closer together. More sacrifice comes into their lives, and sacrifice is the green pasture wherein their love feeds and grows. While motherhood is closely allied to the concept of the ideal wife, specifically it does not fall within the scope of this book and enters our discussion only in so far as it has bearing on the subject matter. It must be obvious that motherhood adds to the charm of the wife desired. Other avocations may be an obstacle in her quest for this ideal. An opera star, a movie heroine, a career woman of almost any type will find it difficult to be an ideal wife. She will have to struggle constantly against the public phase of her life. Motherhood brings to the wife a fuller capacity for love. If you ever wonder whether it is possible for a person to love more than one with all her heart think of a good mother and her children. She does not divide her love as she would portion and serve a pie. She gives each child all her love. Likewise she gives her husband all her love. One afternoon during the first year of World War II, I visited a good friend. I was practically a member of the Murphy family. Judging that no one was home, I walked in the back door and began to make myself at ease. I was in the act of helping myself to something from the refrigerator, when Mrs. Murphy suddenly appeared red-eyed. She had been crying. Her youngest of seven children had just left for the war with the Navy. I feebly tried to console her, and in my youthful ignorance made the comment that she should not feel sad. She had six other children, all of whom were living close by in the same town. A new flood of tears met this sagacious remark. She did not care how many children she had near her. Her own little Bob was being abducted into the Navy. Obviously love is not something that is doled out in measure. This mother's grief was full over the loss of her son because her love was full to overflowing for each child. Any man who has observed a young mother in her daily chores of keeping house and caring for three or four young children faces the fact that he belongs to the weaker sex. There seems to be no limit to the patience and energy of such a woman, perhaps because there is no limit to her love. I recall a number of husbands of broken marriages who listed among their complaints the grievance that their wives had no time for them; they gave it all to the children. However, as the story unfolded it invariably turned out that the wives had little time for the boobs because they sat on their breeches and let their wives do all the work in caring for the children. Had they pitched in to help with the children they would have had more companionship and love in their joint effort. Furthermore, the wives would have had also a little more time and energy left for their husbands. After all, there are only twenty-four hours in one day. Sociologists interested in the welfare of family life in the United States have expressed alarm over the growing number of wives and mothers employed outside the home. Some years ago a survey was made of women thus gainfully employed. To many, one surprising feature of the survey was the finding that nearly ninety-five per cent worked only because they felt that it was necessary. An overwhelming percentage of these women expressed little enthusiasm for having to leave their homes for work. They felt that financial conditions at home necessitated their decision. In many cases the husband's annual income simply was not sufficient to support the family. Frequently the couple regarded additional income as a temporary necessity. The husband had lost his job. Hospital and medical bills had to be met. It is a sad commentary on our modern, industrialized country that so many thousands of these wives and mothers have to hire themselves away from their homes and children. There are cases in which the family is kept from falling apart at the seams economically only through the valiant efforts of a stout-hearted wife. Although family life suffers because of her absence, no one can criticize her. It seems that the more real is the urgency for her additional income and the more she regrets leaving the home, the more chance she has to remain an ideal wife and mother. There is no doubt that working away from home brings greater problems for the married woman as a mother. But remember that we must here distinguish as much as we can between the married woman as a wife and as a mother. Here we are limiting ourselves to a discussion of how working out of the home is a real handicap to the married woman ever approaching the ideal wife in respect to companionship. Picture for yourself the wife who works. She returns from the factory, the office, or the schoolroom with a day's work behind her. She is tired, but other tasks face her. She has to care for the home. She must do the shopping for the breakfast and evening meals. If she has children, especially those of school age or younger, she has another demand upon her--a demand for which she cannot possibly have time and energy, if she works outside the home. On such a merry-go-round she wears down physically. Her nerves become frayed. She retrogresses mentally and spiritually. With all this varied activity she has no time or desire for companionship with her husband. Is the additional income worth the price she has to pay? Her net income is usually much less than she might suppose. Because she has not more time for them, her shopping and preparation of meals are more expensive. Her carfare to and from work and her extra clothes for work also draw from her income. Is the net remaining income worth the sacrifices she and her family have had to make? It is almost impossible for the wife to remain queen of the home if she works. The disadvantages of working are so numerous that a wife should resist the economic pressure of keeping up with the Jones family. She should leave the home only under the greatest urgency. Then, of course, a word in passing must be given to the married women who work just so that they have some extra "pin money." Many of them feel that this money, hard earned at some factory or store, is completely theirs. This income is not pooled into the family resources. No accounting is made to the husband, who may not know whether she has five dollars or five thousand. "It is none of his business," many of them say. Is it his business that she has to neglect his home, their children, and him in order to work? It is incomprehensible how these wives can be so selfish and stupid. A high percentage of them eventually get acquainted with the divorce courts or at least are a thorn in the side of some marriage counselor. One day an irresponsible sort of happy-go-lucky husband was keeping me from a good book, or the golf course. He had no work and seemed little concerned about his unemployment. On being asked whether he was not worried about the future he naively told me that he was not and that his wife was working and was in good health. There are enough unmarried characters around similar to the husband just mentioned to put a girl looking for a good husband on the alert. However, the vast majority of men do not appreciate the wife wanting to work. It does their ego little good. If they are weak-kneed enough to give in to the wife leaving the home, often they will be the type to sit back and stagnate. I know offhand of no case in which a working wife spurred her husband on to the heights. Likewise, I know of very few working wives who were able to remain their husband's companion. There are other things to a home besides new appliances and expensive furniture which a working wife may contribute to the home. It is in the home where the husband and wife can have the greater part of their companionship. This will be possible if she has the bulk of her work done when he gets home from his work. With the children tucked away early they have a few hours to themselves in the comfort of their own home. Occasionally they will be able to and should get out for a dinner, a show, or an evening with friends. A working wife will hardly be able to accomplish these things, and if she does it will be only with strain. Like Finer Femininity on Facebook
Karen Nelson said:
I love your website and often share your posts. There is only one problem I’m having, and maybe its just my computer? The writing of the post is too far to the right and I’m not able to see the whole post. I was wondering if you could move it just a little to the left as there is a lot of empty space on the left side. Thanks! and keep up the beautiful posts for Catholic families! Karen Nelson
Thank you Karen. 🙂 Hmmm…anyone else having this problem????? Thanks for letting me know. I will wait and see if anyone else is having the same issue and then tackle it… don’t quite know what to do about it but I’ll check until I find out.
Karen, I know this sounds simplistic but have you tried moving the “scroll bar” on the bottom over? Maybe everything is zoomed in on your computer. Anyone else know what it might be?
I can see it fine on my tablet. 🙂 I am loving this series!
Thank you. That is good to know.
Kirsty Cardinale said:
I remember seeing a snippet of Fr. Kinsella’s book posted somewhere, purely for the purpose of mocking his words. “Get a load of this guy! Can you imagine?!”
I haven’t read his book but am reading some your posts. I must say that I agree with what he says about working outside the home, and I have only one child! And I’m part time! One day in the office and remaining hours at home. It encroaches considerably, and had I known beforehand, I may have thought twice about leaping into the fray.
There are some other considerations, which is why I still work, but still. Just thanking God that my daughter (homeschooled; pursuer of ballet) has such an awesome tutor.
It could have been worse but never think that “only 10 hours” won’t have more of an effect than you think. And then, of course, life happens, so what’s manageable today may be quite tricky tomorrow.
Love your site!