Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? A Collaboration with a Purpose Post

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Dedicated to Women Worldwide

Folks, it’s International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018, to be exact), and as such, the Collaboration with a Purpose group wanted to celebrate women. I thought long and hard about it, and decided I was going to talk about what women’s work is — and I decided it must be everything, as all the strong women in my life have shown.

The first two strong women in my life were my mother and grandmother. Mom was one of the first trained computer technicians in the United States, while my grandmother was a traditional housewife — though she took care of all the bills, as my grandfather was a telephone lineman and wasn’t home. She cooked, cleaned, shopped, read books, listened to radio and TV, believed in bettering herself…and my mother also did all of that, plus learned how to be a computer technician.

My Aunt Laurice raised my father and their other siblings after their mother died when he was eleven, and she was about sixteen. She was the oldest one. She knew she had to do it, and that’s what she did…though it wasn’t easy, and there were stops in orphanages (yes, orphanages) along the way. (Their father wasn’t in good shape after his wife’s passing, and the only way to keep the family together was the orphanage. So they all decamped there, and Aunt Laurice took care of them as best she could.) She also was a kindergarten teacher, sang in women’s choirs (the last one being Opus 2000, formerly the Sweet Adelines), was active in her church, raised a huge family of her own, and as her husband (my uncle) started to decline as a senior citizen, took care of him devotedly until the end of her life.

My best female friends also do a great deal. One has been looking for work for quite some time (a full-time job in and of itself, if you ask me), and yet she drives her husband, son, and friends around, cooks and shops for the family, cleans the house, even shovels snow when she must. Another works three jobs: her main, forty-hour-a-week affair, her secondary, which is around thirty hours, and is an Army Reservist. And takes care of two kids, several cats, and maintains an old and creaky house as she’s a do-it-yourself person. And the third helped her family catalogue her beloved mother’s personal effects after she passed last year, then stayed to help the family while she continued to write and plot her books and take care of her health (as dealing with all that is a stressor of the first water).

So, rather than saying women’s work is everything, I’d like to ask the corollary: What isn’t women’s work?

I mean, my sister is an electrical engineer. And she’s damned good at it.

One of my blogger-friends, Tajwarr Fatma (who got me involved in the Collaboration with a Purpose group in the first place), just finished up medical school. In India.

One of my other good friends is married to a doctor. From Malaysia.

And the other various bloggers in the Collaboration with a Purpose group hold all sorts of jobs, present all sorts of views, and do many, many different things in a day.

As for me? I’m a writer, editor, musician, thinker, composer, and I try to help my family and friends in whatever way I can.

If all these different things I talked about don’t give you the idea that women’s work is everything, I don’t know what will. But in case you didn’t get the point, the next time you look at the women in your life, pay attention to what they do. And how they do it. Then the next time you can, tell them how much you appreciate them.

Because that’s what matters.

Now, go take a look at my fellow bloggers’ takes on the subject…(links will be added as they post):

Divyang Shah

Mylene Orillo

Tajwarr Fatma

Sonyo Estavillo

Jane Love (who again made two great pics for us, for International Women’s Day; Brava, Jane!)

Nicolle K. (updated post: Go read this now!)

Ipuna Black

Swati Kadam

Sadaf Siddiqi


Written by Barb Caffrey

March 8, 2018 at 8:00 am

19 Responses

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  1. Every woman started as a girl which is short the potential every lady has –

    Great. Innovative. Rational. Leader

    Women have so many capabilities that we allow ourselves to realize. So as per your advice (“Then the next time you can, tell them how much you appreciate them.”), I would like to appreciate you for being your awesome self and creating an impact in the lives of all who come across you.

    I would also like to appreciate every lady in our collaboration family (who may or may not read this) for using your skills, talents, and self to cause an impact one step after another.


    March 8, 2018 at 8:50 am

    • Thanks, Jane. 🙂 I appreciate that.

      I wanted to write something that would resonate, and I hope it did. I know this is very matter-of-fact, especially for me…but hopefully it works well.

      And yes, we all start out with hope and optimism, or at least I hope we do. We need to remember that teenage girl is still inside us, and keep doing our best to keep that hope and optimism alive. (It doesn’t seem all that long ago I was a teen. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. :-D)

      Barb Caffrey

      March 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      • 😍😍😍

        Wooo hooo! Let’s conquer the world!


        March 13, 2018 at 8:21 am

  2. […] Barb Caffrey @ Barb Caffrey’s Blog : A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? […]

  3. “What isn’t women’s work?” So true! Thank you for sharing with us all the special women who have influenced your life. You influence our life too! You bring so much wisdom. I love how straightforward you are too. Happy Women’s Day! ❤️

    Ipuna Black

    March 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    • Thanks, Ipuna. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Happy Women’s Day! 🙂 (I’ll be off to read your post next.)

      Barb Caffrey

      March 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

  4. That’s pretty impressive that your mom was one of the first trained computer technicians in the country. Speaking of technology, I’m on my way to a tech conference hoping to network. I agree that women do an awful lot and work is important. I just finished a contract and now on the lookout for something either full-time or contract, similar to your friend. Because I’m in a creative field, contracting and going from project to project is rather common. But, I also do a lot with my daughter because she’s in preschool just twice a week, so I have her 3 days during the weekday. Sometimes when I’m hard on myself or disappointed with my job situation, I think about all of the things I already do. We often wear so many hats. 🙂

    Sonyo Estavillo

    March 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    • Yes, I thought it was, too, Sonyo. Mom was trained by AT&T, as there were as of yet no schools teaching the job. She was given aptitude tests, and then took coursework through them, and later wrote a manual and did all sorts of things at her job. She doesn’t see it as anything special, but I do. 🙂

      I hope the tech conference goes well, and that you find a great job that’s perfect for you. (Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.)

      And yes, you do a ton already. Working for pay is just the start of it. (I hope your daughter will grow up to appreciate all you’ve done for her. If she’s anything like you, she should. :-D)

      Barb Caffrey

      March 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm

  5. ❤ this: "Women’s work is everything, I don’t know what will. But in case you didn’t get the point, the next time you look at the women in your life, pay attention to what they do. And how they do it. Then the next time you can, tell them how much you appreciate them." Hahaha, this is really good. I think women are not only multi-taskers, they are also multi-talented. What else can we not do? Haha. Sorry, guys, we are going to give you a tribute in November anyways. Don't worry.

    Mylene Orillo

    March 8, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    • Thanks, Mylene. I’m glad you enjoyed my post.

      And yes, I reminded the folks on Facebook that International Men’s Day is in November and we will be posting about that, too… 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      March 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm

  6. […] Barb Caffrey: A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? A Collaboration With a Purpose Post […]

  7. Life is tough and so are women. The life difficulties only help us to become strong, stronger, strongest. Your post was motivating. Wish you a Happy International Women’s Day.

    Author: Sadaf Siddiqi

    March 9, 2018 at 5:32 am

    • Absolutely, Sadaf. With you all the way. Hope all is good for you today, and hope you continue to celebrate Women’s History Month. (I think there are so many interesting people and topics to discuss, don’t you?)

      Barb Caffrey

      March 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm

  8. I tip my hat to all of you.

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    March 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

  9. […] Barb Caffrey @ Barb Caffrey’s Blog: A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? […]

  10. […] Barb Caffrey: A Woman’s Work Is…Everything? […]

  11. Awesome post, Barb! The women in your life are certainly incredible, which goes to show how much women can achieve! Being in a technical field myself (sort of), I admire your mum who was one of the first trained computer technicians. 😀

    “What isn’t women’s work?” I agree; in many places, women are still expected to be the household manager and raising children, which is the way things worked traditionally… but now that women are also working full time jobs, it’s like they’re doing everything. 😶

    I also think the women in our Collaboration with a Purpose group is awesome, and I’m glad to be part of it! ❤️


    March 14, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    • Yeah. I am with you there. Great people in our group, and yes, also, women tend to do more, not less, than men in man-woman partnerships if there is no discussion between the partners. (I think we all have to discuss things before we pair off, but not everyone thinks to do that. Everything from “who handles the cooking/chores” to “who handles the money” should be discussed, but in the first flush of love, that seems…unromantic, doesn’t it?)

      I’m fortunate that everyone I knew, growing up, had strong talents and expressed them well. Men, women, didn’t matter, they all were awesome. 🙂 But especially the women, ’cause hey, we’re still celebrating women in this post…the men will be celebrated come November. 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      March 15, 2018 at 7:05 am

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