Apr 3, 2011

You can blame Sister Wives for this one

I was watching Sister Wives the other night (don't judge me) and the episode addressed how the unconventional family affords to pay their bills and feed 16 kids and 5 adults. Two of the wives and the husband work outside the home while two of the wives work in the home, caring for all the children. The two "stay-at-home moms" explained how they have responsibilities that make them valuable to the family structure even if they don't bring home a paycheck. When referring to the husband, one wife said, "He brings home the bacon and I fry it up in the pan."  All the adults agreed this arrangement works very well for their family.

This got me thinking about the different roles each partner plays in a family unit. Historically, men and women's responsibilities have been very black and white. Men worked outside the home to provide for the family, while women raised children and tended to the household.

Modern day families look much different than they once did. Thankfully, women now have (near) equal opportunity as men in the work force and the ability to have both a family and a career. I feel very fortunate to be a woman in America and to have the freedom to do whatever I desire with very few external limitations. Ironically, what I desire most is to be a stay-at-home mom and wife. Ever since I was little, I knew my purpose on this earth was to get married and have children. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, that was my response. Yes, I also wanted to be a zoologist and the president, but above all else, my deepest desire was most simple.

I grew up with a mom who didn't work outside the home. When I was sick at school, I always knew she would be available to come get me. She never missed a Halloween parade or a high school tennis match and I felt lucky. I want to be able to give my children that same support and involvement.

I am blessed to have married a man who supports me in these desires and values them as I do. He also grew up with a mother who's primary job was to raise her children. She worked side jobs to bring in money any way she could but it never interfered with her being a mom first. That was her desire just as it is mine.

I realize this can be a touchy subject so let me be clear. I am in no way implying that women who choose to have a career are bad mothers or aren't supportive of their children's needs. There are plenty of women (and men) who work full time and still make it a priority to be at every sporting event and back-to-school night. There are also countless single parents who have no choice but to work to provide for their family. Parents do their best for their family and that looks completely different in every situation. I am speaking only for myself and my family and making ZERO judgements about what anyone else chooses to do.

I'm also certainly not saying that I plan to never work again once I have a child. I think it's important to have something that's my own to look forward to and if that is working part-time to maintain my sanity then I'll be the first to sign up!

I have to admit though, I'm a bit guarded when sharing my stance on this matter with others. I feel that because women have so many career opportunities, they are looked down upon if they choose not to pursue a high powered job and instead, stay home with their children. In today's world, women are free to work their way up the corporate ladder if they wish and those who do are praised for their hard work and dedication. I only wish our society gave the same respect and recognition to women who choose to make their career inside their home because they are equally as dedicated and hardworking. I firmly believe that being a parent is the hardest job in the world and one of the most important.

I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom because I think that all women are good for is birthing children and scrubbing bathtubs.

I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom because I think it's easy. In fact, I think the term should be changed to "work-at-home mom" because it is a full time job.

I want to be a stay-at-home mom because I love making a house a home. I love taking care of my husband who works so hard for us. I love providing my family with nutritious meals, clean clothes and an organized home. And I'm sure I will love participating in carpools, PTA, and soccer practice some day.

Each person has a role in their family. Keane and I agree that when we start a family, his will be to bring home the bacon while mine will be to fry it up in the pan (thanks Sister Wife number 3!). I will not feel confined or limited by this role because it is one I will have chosen for myself and for our family. I know my husband will appreciate and respect me for my contributions, even if they don't come with a paycheck or a 401k.

Each person has a role in their family. I look forward to the day when I can begin mine.

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