Fishwife (briefly) Revisited

If there is one thing I do understand about raising children, it is the importance of trying your best to create a loving, predictable, and stable home environment. When you have a commercial fishing husband and father that comes and goes at irregular intervals, it is especially important to create an environment that will cause the least amount of stress in the children. The building of a loving and steady home in the midst of uncertainty could even be considered a fishing mother’s greatest life’s work.

I’m always open to learning new things, and I do love to read. About a year ago, I bought a book that I thought might help me personally create the kind of environment in which I want my children to dwell. The book has proven, in fact, to be of value.

It reminds us that our children are constantly watching what we do and the way we live our life. Our children need to know that we will be happy when we see them. We create the atmosphere of our homes with our attitudes. We give expecting nothing in return. We should never give away to others what we have not first given away at home—kind tones, patience, help, cheer.

Ever notice the difference in the tone you reserve for strangers and the tone you use at home with your family? Whew, that was an eye-opener for me.

When it comes right down to it, the person responsible for creating the quality of life (stability) in the fishing family is…the wife and mother. She sets the mood and the atmosphere inside the home. We want the mood inside our home to be warm, positive and loving, right? Don’t we want our homes to be a place of refuge for each member of the family?

The author of the book gives a real-life example of a wife (the wife of a minister, actually) from long ago who, instead of building this type of a home, figuratively tore it down.

Apparently, her husband wrote a letter that listed ten major complaints he had against his wife, including “stealing from his bureau, his inability to invite friends in for tea, her making him feel like a prisoner in his own house, his having to give an account to her of everywhere he went, showing his private papers and letters without his permission, her use of fishwife’s language against the servants, and her malicious slander.”

The paragraph is, admittedly, comical. (That poor guy. And my husband thinks he has it bad?) The point is clear. But besides all that—can’t a fishwife ever catch a break?

(Please see the post “Fishwife: A Tale of Unpopularity” from January 6, 2008 for background)

Tonight, my 2-year old, Eva, chose a book to read before bed. The book she chose was “Curious George Goes Fishing.”

“Bye-bye, Dada, bye-bye,” she said as we opened the book and began to read.

They understand so much.



  1. Hi Jen,

    I’m really enjoying your posts, and get a kick out of the “fishwife” comments. I was brought up in a small fishing village in New England. The fishermen were only gone during the day, and were not on heavy seas … they were just oystering and lobstering on Long Island Sound.

    How well I remember the fishermen, cranky old Yankees, most of ’em, and especially their long-suffering wives, since their wives babysat for me through most of my childhood. The men taught me how to fish, and the women taught me how to cook what I caught.

    I look back on it now, and it seems idyllic … especially now that my little home town is a revolting suburb of Manhattan. Ugh.

    Keep on writing!

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