Heather Abbey| Testimony of a Failed Housewife

When I was but a child I saw my father turn to me,

A brightness in his eyes, he asked what I wanted to be.

See, for a child my age I was quite clever and well-read

So he was merely curious of what success laid ahead.

I didn’t know it then but I know now there are replies

A father longs to hear when he has that look in his eyes;

Like “Doctor! Yes a doctor, that is all I long to be,

No! Lawyer, or a CEO! Or fingers crossed all three!”

But as I did not know there was a script laid out for me,

I spoke my mind and said what I hoped I would one day be,

“A mother” chimed my young voice, sweet, unhesitant and proud,

A fact I’d always known but which I’d never said out loud.

He stopped, stunned briefly, then he laughed, placed his hand on my head

He ruffled my hair playfully looked down at me and said

“That isn’t what I mean my dear, what do you want to DO?”

I blinked confused and told him “Yes, I know daddy, it’s true!”

“I want to be a mother, want to rear and raise my own,

The job for me would be to make a house into a home.

I’d cook and clean and teach and tidy, learn and love and care;

It’s what I want to do daddy, it’s where I’ll go from here.”

I sensed his disappointment; it seeped out of him like water.

That’s not the kind of future he’d envisioned for his daughter.

“You’re far too clever, you must earn a living, you must think

Of how unfulfilled you’d be spending your days behind a sink.

And since then I’ve been told that I must choose another path,

I got the script and now I play the part that I’ve been cast.

The part which says I study, study more, then work, then die,

And marry and have children only if I have the time.

The part which means I’d work to ‘give my children what they want’

A house, a dog, a garden, picket fences at the front,

And though I’m never home, there’ll be a nanny keeping watch,

To witness all the ‘first times’ I’ll be too busy to catch.

Now I’m not judging working mums, in fact, I am in awe

Of the balance that they strive to strike ‘tween home and work and more,

I’m just saying I’m bitter that I feel I have no voice

When last I heard feminism was all about one’s choice.

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