My mother was a stay-at-home mom, unusual for AfrAm women. But it was the fifties and it was all the rage.
Actually, that's not why Mom was a homemaker. She was a homemaker because her goal in life was to be a wife (of a preacher) and a mother. So, at the end of her sophomore year in college, she got married at the age of 20
My grandfather made my father promise that Mom would finish college and she did - at the college where my grandparents met (the same one that expelled me in 1972 for being a "militant').
Grandma was a working woman and never wanted to be anything else. She not only taught school five days a week, but she raised cattle on the small ranch my family owns in Texas, grew a bumper crop of vegetables in the world's best single garden I've ever known, cooked better than anyone I've ever met, and reared her four children, two nephews, and two granddaughters, including me.
I went to live with Grandma after Grandpa died in 1958. She was the most driven woman I've ever known and the reason I supported Hilary Clinton for President - and still do. Women with that much drive get things done!
Grandma transformed me from a traumatized introvert (the trauma was from being thrust into a white school in Oklahoma in first grade and being treated like the invisible child) into a straight A student and President of my class by the time I was in high school.
She just didn't give up!
Mom, on the other hand, worked hard having the perfect home, cooking the perfect meals, and looking like Mrs. Huxtable while doing it. However, she didn't have the perfect marriage nor perfect children. One of my brothers ended up on drugs in prison for a total of twelve years and missing from our lives for twenty, one sister ended up being a paranoid schizophrenic, one sister got pregnant and married a man twice her age, one brother got married three times, and I got kicked out of school.
Enough to make Susy Homemaker quite depressed. My mother started taking antedepressants when her father died and has been taking them since then.
She did work occasionally: she was a social worker briefly, a dispatcher when my father started a cab company in a town in Oklahoma where the taxis wouldn't pick up black folks, a Kindergarten teacher (I was one of her students) for the black commuity in another Oklahoma town because there wasn't one for black children, and director of a Head Start program in yet another Oklahoma town. But her entire work career was less than ten years.
After they retired - he from pastoring, she from being a church pianist- she finally had the marriage she'd always fantasized about. My father died of a massive stroke eleven years ago after being in a coma for over a week. His last gesture was picking up my mother's hand and holding it to his lips.
Grandma died thirty years after her husband and was a lonely woman at 88 whose life depended on having a child to fuss over. She needed someone to push, a job to do.
She was verbally abusive, given to fits of rage, and kept a tight rein on me growing up, but I loved her with all myheart and miss her so much.
I still have my mom, Alzheimer's and all.
She talks to Grandma and gives me messages from her. Funny, Grandma never approved of her while she was alive, but now they see to be getting along just fine. Guess she finally realizes in death what she couldn't see in life, that being a homemaker didn't make Mom any less strong and determined than she was. She had to have been. She was married to my father for fifty years!