It’s a guest post actually by Megan… posted by LAL (Living Almost Large)
Megan makes a good a point about her values making her feel the way she does (stay at home, etc). I can’t fault that at all, because we all grow up with certain values and we can’t change that mentality. That, I totally agree with.
With that being said, and with my own values of how I was raised (along with my upbringing), I 100%, completely felt repulsed by the idea (!) of staying at home, staying pretty (with the fear of being upgraded), and basically not contributing other than trying to make sure my husband stays extremely happy and well-fed.
Being unable to work, or on maternity leave to raise your offspring are totally different things. I cannot imagine being disabled, and I will definitely be on mat leave for all of my kids, of at least a year.
As per what I have observed over the years, and these things pop to mind:
A) If I were a man, I would not want that.
I’d want an interesting wife, who has a life and a job of her own and can hold her own in interesting conversations because she has other things to talk about other than the home and the kids.
I don’t want a wife who is completely devoted to me and my life, to the point where she doesn’t have one of her own. (I am thinking of Joy Luck Club where one wife lost her identity completely in trying to be the perfect trophy wife to her husband – he dumped her until she realized she lost herself and who she was when they first met, and then they came back together).
And really, let’s face it – if she’s at home and hanging out with other women who have the same mindset, it all becomes a beige blur.
I’d rather her go to work, meet interesting, different people of all levels and be challenged by them and their points of view, and tell me about her challenges at work and how she overcame them, or what she heard from others at work.
Then again, some guys are willing to pay for that. *shrug* I wouldn’t, as a man.
B) I’d be afraid of being upgraded.
You can only stay pretty for so long, and unless I’m filthy rich (which I am not) and my money was partly why he married me so that I could finance his ambitions (Cindy McCain comes to mind), then when I get older, I’d have the constant fear of being shuffled out for a perky secretary.
There’s an infamous woman in Britain who was just recently ousted (I can’t recall her name), and she went publicly on YouTube to slam her husband for leaving her, lamenting about how she had no more money, etc.
I don’t want that!
C) I expect the same work ethic from my spouse
Sure, I’d contribute with the kids, but I’d expect my husband to do the same. He’s got to wash, feed, clothe and take care of the kids as much as I do, and I don’t want to be in that position just because I’m the mother.
It takes two to tango in the baby making sack.
We can’t have two career-driven spouses in a household (I’ve seen that, and it just is NOT pretty because they’re always competing to see who is the best), but who says I or my future husband has to make it to the top to be the Top Dog over the other?
D) Real Life isn’t about having it easy
Where would I be if I didn’t have such a challenge to face, early on? The way my parents raised me? Or the way that I’ve dealt with awful situations in my life?
While I’m experiencing it, I’m envying others with the greenest eyes possible, but in hindsight, having it easy would be boring.
I’m competitive without a doubt, but there are other things in life, and I feel like we’re all so focused on work and getting ahead that we’re losing a real quality of life – the ability to sit there, and do nothing, and live.
I mean, what’s the point of all this money, if we can’t buy our own free time, sit there and wake up knowing that we have absolutely no obligations for a day?
My idea of living does not consist of spas, going out to eat, making sure I’m dressed in diamonds etc.
It’s fine, but not fun if you do it all the time as a hobby just as an insurance so that your spouse won’t leave your blingin’, Pilates-toned butt.
The meaning of life is to live, not to gather stuff like a packrat, or show off.
Anyway, I’m getting off tangent here with my example above, but the other thing that struck me was the idea of not having my own money (made by my own sweat and hard work to contribute to a family). That thought alone, makes me paranoid, feeling inadequate and a bit sick.
E) I just don’t think it’s my money unless I earn it. Bottom line.
If my husband gives me $500/month, it’s not my money. It’s his money, and a gift to me, but I’d still feel like it’s his. Even if you make the case that I’m saving money because the kids aren’t in daycare, blab bla bla.. I would still, deep down, feel like it is his money.
It’s the way I was raised.
F) What’s the point of a degree, then?
Particularly in the IT industry for me, to be out of work for so long past 2 years MAXIMUM at one shot, is not an option for me.
Anything past 2 years, and I’m irrelevant. I am not up to date any more, and I could get back into the groove, but I’d have to get re-certified, take classes, and start from mid-rung to work up to what I had before.
I went to business school for a reason, I sure as hell paid for it, and I’m going to use that degree, even if it’s only part-time.
If not, what’s the point of going to school?
To expand your knowledge so you can be educated enough to pass it on to your kids?
You can do that by reading.
Honestly, I don’t put much stock in getting a degree and then not using it.
What’s the point? Don’t get the degree, don’t waste the money and read books and apply those principles instead and focus on being pretty if that’s what your goal is.
To meet others? You can do that by going out with your own friends who go to college.
What’s the point?
G) You can be as perfect as you want, but there’ll be resentment
I watch a lot of Desperate Housewives, most of whom like Bree van der Kamp was a stay at home trophy wife for the longest time before she wrote her own cookbook.
She was the perfect trophy wife. Immaculate home, she is breathtaking and her meals are divine.
But I found her boring (as a wife) and I identified more with Lynette in the beginning of the series.
Just recently, I saw an episode where they did a flashback of how she came to start thinking about writing a cookbook, and the (now deceased) Mr. van der Kamp brought up a snarky point about resenting that she kept pestering him for a new oven but didn’t actually work for any money, so he was on the hook to pay for it with his income.
That resentment, no matter how slight, is felt by EVERYONE (man or woman) about their spouse who does not bring home some of the bacon, and then expecting their proverbial new stove.
I don’t care who you are. You will, at some point, feel stressed out, and resentful that you’re the one waking up at 6 a.m. to trudge to work and commute in heavy traffic only to be yelled at for 9 hours, while your spouse stays at home.
You come home, and even if the house is immaculate, the kids are clean, well-behaved, and there’s a hot dinner on the table waiting for you, you will inevitably think: Well.. DUH! She’s at home all day. What else is she going to do?
I am not condoning that way of thinking, that what a woman (or man) does at home should not be appreciated (btw, *heart to BF for cooking all the time*), but if put in that position, you are going to wonder.
H) Relying on one income is dangerous
Couldn’t do it. Plain and simple.
If I lost my job, my spouse should be there to help pick up the slack, and vice versa. I don’t want to have that kind of stress, and really…. the husband will always be stressed to some degree thinking about that situation with a wife who doesn’t work:
“What if I lost my job? My kids, my wife… they couldn’t make ends meet, we have some money saved, but what if I don’t get another job in time? What if there’s an accident?“
Then on top of all of that, you hear about how she went rock climbing with the girls after a refreshing lunch at Pastis, then went for a facial afterwards and finished off with some tanning pool time and shopping… and you think: “It was all on MY dollar.”
Even if it was what he wanted – the beautifully toned, manicured, pleasant wife…
I am not sure it would give me much pleasure to know that my wife was completely cared for to her utter whim, being the one who’s actually busting hump in the workplace to pay for all of that.
So, fabulous kudos to Megan for working on pulling it off, but I am definitely on the other side of that spectrum.