Thursday, October 14, 2010

Raising a Housewife.

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.



  1. Well said Charissa. I never had any intent on being a stay at home mom, my mother was single and worked multiple jobs to support us. She raised us to NEVER depend on men because "they always leave". I thought her outlook was sad but since we had no father around and random boyfriends in and out, I had no reason to think differently. That was until I met my husband, I knew right away that he'd be there until the day I die. We were both raised in broken homes and were very honest about not wanting that for our own children. When we began talking about having kids he insisted on me staying home with them as his mom had with him. It was a foreign concept to me but I liked it. No, I loved it!! I wanted to raise my own children, not a nanny or daycare provider. It has had it's ups and downs but I wouldn't have it any other way, I want to be the main influence in my boys lives. After all, I am trying to raise two emotionally healthy and responsible MEN!

  2. Great post. I myself am a working mom. My kids are in daycare. I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom. I like having a life outside the house, but it breaks my heart that I am not with my kids. My mom stayed home with my brother and I and I have the greatest memories of that. I am hoping to work out the finances to be able to stay home for a few years with them. Until then, I just have to remember to cherish every moment I am with them and make the most of my time with my most precious gifts.

  3. Thank you so much for your post! I am so plesed to hear there are others like us out there!!! I am also a stay at home mom. I am mom to 7 wonderful kids...& 7 grandkids! I never thought I would be, as I left home to join the AF...but I am exactly where I want / need to be. Is it easy, no. Is it worth it? Most definitely! This "old fashioned" woman is darned proud of being just that...a stay at home, OLD FASHIONED mom! :)


  4. I'm curious to know if you give any regard to how this post may come across to those who wish they could stay at home, but can't. There are many reasons women choose to work, and some have not much choice to the matter. Perhaps their husband is not a high earner? I found this post to be condescending and entitled. Working moms have family values and I love my children dearly.

  5. Thanks ladies for your comments! It's always great to hear that there are still some of us "old fashioned" gals around! :)

    In response to "Anonymous", It's a shame that you found this post to be condescending and entitled as that's not how it was meant to be received.
    This point of this post was to shed light on the fact that women who choose to be homemakers are often perceived to be lazy, uneducated, or unambitious. Too often women are told that it's unacceptable to just "settle" on being someones wife or mother and that there's more to life than dishes and diapers.
    I totally understand that many families need two incomes to support them and that it's not always an option for the mother to stay home. I completely agree that working moms have family values and love their children dearly and I apologize if it came across that I think anything differently.
    But this post was never intended to be about whether or not a woman has the ability to stay home. It's about how women who choose to become nothing more than "just a housewife" shouldn't be seen as anything less than a women who chooses to pursue a career.

  6. I would also like to extend the invitation to you, Anonymous to write a guest post! I have zero experience as a working mother so I can't ever write about it. I know a lot of people would love to know what it's like to be a working mother, or have a post to read from a fellow working mom!
    This upcoming week is already set to feature post from/about working moms.
    If you read this and would like to submit something (which I hope you do) then please, send us an email to

  7. I love this post! I worked very hard through college to graduate with honors and become an engineer. I worked several years in the industry before having our son. My husband and I thoughtfully CHOSE for me to stay home. We made cuts in our lifestyle and budget. It was not always easy. Many of my friends have no idea why I chose this lifestyle, and perceive it as "lazy", "selfish", "nonproductive", and "unhealthy" for our child and myself. UNHEALTHY??? The stigmas that go with being a SAHM can be painful, and far from the truth. I know I have shed my fair share of tears when hearing these comments. My son is now three and I LOVE the choice we made. So nice to other people vocalize their feelings about this issue.