3. Personal income and its use. What we buy marks our own individuality, as well as what we do. The woman whose father or husband adjusts her expenses and expenditures cannot by any possibility be the kind of woman that the one is who chooses her own things, and spends her money absolutely to suit herself. When a man buys cigars or fishing-tackle, his wife may prefer to buy oratorios and golf-clubs.
4. Mothers should have some interest outside of home-tasks, to keep them in touch with world-interests and world-tasks. Not all mother’s duty is inside the four walls of her home. The race has demands upon her, as well as her own child. She ought to be guarded from that short-sighted and selfish devotion which makes her look upon her child as the centre of the universe, and which leads her to sacrifice every hour, every thought, every talent, to him alone.
5. Building up the place of a home in a community means much more than a rivalry with one’s neighbors, as to which one shall have the cleanest house, the prettiest or most expensive curtains and furniture, who shall entertain the most, and whose children shall present the best appearance in the world! Making a social place for a family involves a very wide acquaintance with really great social ideals; with the best instincts and customs; with world refinement and manners, as well as those of one’s own town or village—with the social possibilities of life in general, as well as the etiquette of Quinton’s Corners! To give the right stamp upon her home, a mother must have a social life, as well as domestic one. She must have time to enter somewhat into the activities of her own neighborhood, and must have society after marriage, as well as before.
It is a different sort of society that she then needs. It is not a boy-and-girl society, with its crude ways, and its adolescent ideas of life. It is the society of earnest, cultured, and public-spirited men and women, each of whom is adding something to the general store of interest and ideals; each of whom is doing some phase of social work, according to his own talent and opportunity.
When a mother steps out into life in this large way, makes education and training tributary to her mother-life, and does not stop growing intellectually or spiritually,—her charm as a woman increases, instead of diminishes, every year of her married life. Her looks mark her everywhere as a supremely happy woman, and she goes out into the world marked with that strange, deep, grand impress of motherhood and womanhood, which has always made the true woman not only a working-mother, but a love-crowned queen!
These and many other thoughts flit over one’s mind in looking at any phase of work, or any piece of work. In the right choice of work lies the fullest use of one’s capacities; in the right conditions of work lies the freest play of one’s energies; in the right spirit of work lies the way of one’s lasting happiness, and the foretaste of eternal joys.