Growing up I was told that I should do great in school, find a career path, and be able to take care of myself. “Don’t depend on a husband” was one phrase I heard frequently. My last couple of years in high school I endured many talks from the school counselors about how I HAVE to fill out my college applications, how I needed to focus my energy into finding a career. My answer to them? I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Thank goodness they finally gave up on me.
The truth is, I knew what I wanted to be. I’ve always known. I wanted to be a housewife, a homemaker, a mother. For as long as I can remember I’ve never wanted to be anything more than someone’s wife, someone’s mother. Well, except for that brief stint where I was convinced I was going to be an astronaut (thank you Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks). I had jobs while I was in high school, after graduating I was given an amazing opportunity with a well paying/great benefits job, I successfully managed a store for two years, but the entire time I knew I would never last. I’m not a career woman, I’m a housewife.
Women have come a long way since gaining the right to vote and to work. Women all over the world are enjoying high powered positions, excellent wages, blah, blah, blah. That’s great for them, but what about for the women like me? What about the ones who just knew they were going to be, wait, very happily going to be, housewives? Women are being congratulated for getting degrees, becoming doctors/lawyers/teacher/etc but women are also being told that nowadays it’s unacceptable to “just” be a stay at home mom. Women like me grew up being told that Housewife wasn’t good enough. “You can’t depend on a husband to take care of you, what are you going to do when he leaves you?” Yup, I’ve actually been told that.
I’m tired of people assuming since I have no desire to be anything other than a housewife that I’m lazy. They think that I’m just not ambitious, that I want to just have a husband to pay my bills, to just sit around all day or shop till I drop. Just because I don’t want a degree, and that I’m happy with just having a high school diploma, doesn’t mean I’m lazy. Oh and I have plenty of ambition, right now I’m in the middle of turning my hobbies (grown from typical “housewife” skills like sewing) into a small business. I’m not lazy, I’m not stupid, and I’m definitely not worried about my husband leaving me (if I was, why would I have married him?).
I usually try to have a “to each their own” approach to life but I’ll admit that in this case I’m definitely a bit biased. I think it’s great that women have a choice, but I also think that it’s a bit sad that we’re in the midst of leaving our identities as typical women behind. What happens when women start working and stop learning from their mother’s and grandmother’s? Is the world doomed to live off of takeout? Okay, okay. That’s a bit extreme I know. But seriously, am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that there are a good number of women that can’t cook? How many friends do you have who wish they could sew (at least a button!)? I am so thankful that my mother was a seamstress, that she can cook, and that she passed these skills on to me. What’s funny about that is she’s the one who always urged me to be more than “just a housewife”. Thankfully for me, she stayed home (at least for a while) and she cooked, cleaned, and sewed all the while teaching me to do the same.
While I can’t say for sure (because I wasn’t alive then) I really think the average family is missing out by doing things so differently then how they used to be. What’s so wrong with the old fashioned family? The husband goes to work, the wife stays home and raises their children (who better to do it than the person who created them) and takes care of the house. When did having a husband coming home to an at least decently made up wife (sorry ladies, no sweats after 4 allowed!) and dinner almost cooked become a bad thing? I don’t feel like any less of a person for “waiting” on my husband or doing most of the housework. I don’t feel like a maid or a nanny or a personal chef. I feel like a powerful, loving, cherished, respected, and amazing wife and mother. What’s so taboo about that?
I think it’s important for me to add that I do realize a lot of women work today because of money. Some women like to have their own money and not feel like they’re taking money from their husbands. Some feel like things are just too expensive and they have to work so they can afford things. I agree to some point, it’s nice to have money and it’s nice to have things. But it’s also nice to have tradition, family values, and to play a big role in your young kids lives. Sometimes I feel the need to ask for money, but then either my husband just laughs at me for asking (like I’m asking for an allowance?) or I remind myself that I do earn my share by taking care of our home and our family. As for things being expensive, well they are. And right now in our lives we’re lucky enough to not have to worry a ton. But even if that day ever came, I would still stay home. Material things aren’t important if you’re family is never together to enjoy them.
Now I have my own daughter and I wonder what she’ll want to be when she grows up. Of course I would love for her to follow in my footsteps and I’m already beginning to teach her the skills she’ll need if that’s her choice. She helps me bake and pretends to do the same, and I can’t wait for her to be a bit older so I can teach her to sew. And each time she outgrows one of my favourite outfits and I set it aside I secretly hope that she’ll one day have a baby of her own to pass things along too. But even if she chooses to be something other than what I chose, I’ll be happy. I just hope that she’ll see I never settled, I’m just as ambitious as the rest, and that I’m doing what I love.