I’ve heard some pretty outlandish things but what I heard on the radio the other morning had to be in the top three. A recent survey found that ¾ of all married women would rather divorce their spouse than be doomed to a life of a stay-at-home mother. Wow! Holy insult batman.
This blew my mind, not because I think that every mom should stay home or because I adhere to some archaic idea of what marriage is. I don’t believe that a woman was put on this earth solely to cater to the whims of a man. We are not property or domesticated help. We are more than servants and wet nurses. We are more than concubines and caretakers. We are human; we have free choice. I chose to be at home with my children because that is where I want to be and it happens to be a possibility for our family financially.
No, this statement blew my mind because as hard as it is to find love, you would think that people would not just walk away from a committed loving relationship at the very thought of staying home. That sounds like something that might come out of a 20-year-olds mouth; someone who has not lived enough life to appreciate the value of a loving, caring, partner who unconditionally loves you or the way that, without intention of forethought, a baby becomes the center of a parent’s universe. Sure this is at great sacrifice to our own personal space and time but the privilege of being a parent is not something that anything else can take the place of, once you have experienced it.
Do you have to stay home to be a good mother? Of course not. Will you miss things if you work outside of the home? Sure you will. Just like by staying home, I am missing out on moving up the professional ladder. Marriage and parenthood are an endless succession of small sacrifices for the greater good. It appears to be a selfless act with little reward but don’t be fooled, unconditional love; the privilege to be able to give it and receive it in reciprocation is nothing short of a small miracle and there is nothing selfless about that. I get more out of my relationships with my husband and my children than I sacrifice.
What am I sacrificing? A life spent looking for exactly what I have? People go to the ends of the earth, make complete fools of themselves, even sacrifice themselves to have the very thing that I already have the privilege of living; a life filled with love and no awkward pauses.
I stay home not because I made a decision to put myself second; me staying home without pursuing a career while our girls were babies was just what worked for us. In retrospect, that choice has led me down a path that has now allowed me to pursue my dream career.
At first, I missed being able to come and go as I pleased. I missed quiet time and having extra money and being able to just be but I have gotten so much in return. I am blessed with an abundance of love; random hugs and kisses at all hours of the day, a man who is my partner in everything and my best friend, the security in knowing that when life gets crazy, he’s always got my back. I have children who may drive me completely insane in one moment and fill me completely with purpose and love in the next. My life is never ordinary; exhausting maybe but there is never a moment without purpose.
My children make my life more interesting than I knew it could be. I’m not saying that you need a man or children to complete you but I’m saying that I never knew what was missing until I found it. My husband and daughters are everything that I never knew that I always wanted and they make me a better person than I ever was before they came into my life. Let’s be honest, I was a self-absorbed, narcissistic asshole.
I would never consider divorcing my husband if he asked me to stay home with our girls but then again, he would never had considered asking me to sacrifice my career or myself. In fact, before I had my first daughter, I had decided that I would go right back to work but once I held her in my arms, I couldn’t do it.
I was raised by a stay-at-home mom she was there, whether I needed her or not, and as crazy as it may sound, that meant something more than I can explain. I don’t want to sacrifice missing my daughters become who they are meant to be. I am lucky because I am afforded the luxury of being able to have the choice to decide what is best for me, some people are not.
Either way, I still think it is completely insane to even consider leaving your partner if they asked you to be a stay-at-home parent. You don’t have to shrivel up and die. You are not condemned to a lifetime of yoga pants and ponytails. You just need to set some ground rules. Be honest with your partner. Tell him that you want to still be able to see your friends and you need time to yourself to decompress. Afford him the same luxury. If it’s just not for you, maybe that is something you need to discuss before having children. Parenthood is not a death sentence.
Would you divorce your husband if he asked you to be a stay-at-home parent?