Stay at Home Wife Stigma?

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Sunnijoy Posts : 32 Registered: 3/19/10
Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 2:31 PM

Have any of you stay at home wives experienced this? Or even felt it about yourself?

I am about to join the ranks of a stay-at-home wives, leaving a job I have had since 2005 in which I am successful and where I am very well liked ( judging from how unhappy everyone is that I am leaving at the end of this week.)

I am leaving my job because things are not working out with both my husband and I working tons of hours. Our home and pets are not being cared for in a way that satisfies either of us. So I am going to maintain a part time job and make homemaking my first priority.
My husband and I are now in our seventh month of marriage and so we feel we gave the dual career thing a fair trial run. It just has not worked for us.

But I digress. I have had some extreme reactions from some people on another forum- people who I have been posting along side for years- when I shared the news that I am cutting back on work.

Also a lot of people have asked me what I will be doing now that I am leaving my job. When I share that I will be a homemaker I have gotten a lot of " Oh's"- as if people don't view homemaking as legitimate activity for a woman in 2010.

And from my own perspective, I know so many women whom seem to excel at doing it all- having a career, maintaining a beautiful home, chauffering kids from here to there. So there is a part of me that feels I am maybe not as much of a woman as some of my peers.

The other part of my brain condemns my self doubt as being groundless. My mom was a stay at home wife and she made all our lives so great by being so very available to us. My husband is thrilled that I am staying at home. He told the news to most of our friends before I got the chance to- bragging about the great home cooked meals I have started making.

I guess I am just curious for those of you who made the transition from career to stay-at-home wife... how has that worked out for you? For those who are stay-at-home wives, what do you most enjoy about it?

I have been incredibly overbooked for the past six months and so expect my schedule to be manageable now as opposed to boring. I hope that proves true. I am very involved with the youth program at church and have a great circle of friends there, so am not concerned about being unproductive or lonely.

I do expect it to take me awhile to get used to not having to rush everywhere all the time. Seriously ladies, between planning my wedding mostly on my own, working two jobs, and adjusting to married life- I have been like the Energizer Bunny on overdrive.




"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." ~Westminister Catechism

I try to spread my message to the world the best way that I can give it
We can make it, always be optimistic
If you don’t listen, gotta live my life the best way that I can live it
With the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains
And only the heavenly father can ease the hurt
Just let it go and keep prayin’ on your knees in church (Let’s go)
And be hopeful, hopeful, and He’ll make a way
I know it ain’t easy but - that’s okay
Cause we hopeful -"Hope" by Twista and Faith Evans

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 2:46 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

Well, I can only partly relate. I have never been a stay-at-home wife, but I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past year. I return to work tomorrow.

For some reason, being a stay-at-home mom seems to be viewed a little bit more legitimately than being a "housewife". At least that is what I've noticed. But I can relate to a bit of what you've said. The " what do you DO all day?" (I feel more busy than when I work, in reality). And comments like "What, you stayed home for a year? Six weeks is all you should have taken". So I can relate to a big of the judgement.

But I don't understand why you are being judged, anyway. Even if people just stay-at-home wives negatively, it sounds like you will still be working part-time. Don't a LOT of families operate this way? My husband and I are tight for money right now, and I might have to take as many hours as I can get eventually, but right now I am still only planning to work part time. And if I ever actually GOT a job in my field, I could definitely afford to work part time, and would do so. And I just figured that a lot of people would make this choice if they could afford it.

SOOOO...I don't blame you at all! I think people look at being a housewife as either lazy (which isn't true for most people), or anti-feminist. I think that feminism is about woman having equality and control over their own lives, and if what you WANT is to be a housewife/homemaker, than I think you should do it.

If we could afford it - I could remain a stay-at-home mom, and maybe work 10 hours a week in some kind of hobby-job just to get out of the house. I am NOT career-driven. It just isn't who I am.

And yes, sometimes I do feel like less of a woman than some of my friends because I get overwhelmed way too easily in life, and find it difficult just to keep a clean house and make meals, much less find time to work and socialize.


Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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Sunnijoy Posts : 32 Registered: 3/19/10
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 3:13 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Thanks for the response! Congrats on the baby! How blessed you are!

I was not career driven growing up. Growing up, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom just like my mom. When I was a kid I never considered factors that it might be awhile before I got married (and it was; I am 27) and that maybe I would not be pregnant early on in my marriage.
As a young teen, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated high school. I wanted to go to a particular two year Bible college, marry my first love who I was very much into at the time, and get married to him as soon as I graduated Bible college.

I went to the school I wanted to and graduated but that is the only thing that worked out as I planned. The guy literally disappeared from my life when I was 18 and he was 19. Ironically, the guy got married just four months before my husband and I did- so I learned from myspace.
I felt really lost after graduating from Bible College because what I wanted to do in life was get married and raise a family but as they say, it takes two to tango and I was very much alone in the romance department.

So I very hesistantly entered the work place and am surprised at how I took to be a working woman. I never anticipated that I would be one who would find it difficult to stop working.
But my husband and I both agreed before marrying that we wanted me to stay at home to be with the kids. I am at a crossroads career wise where I have the opportunity to exit gracefully and so that is why we are making this move now.

I wish you all the best in returning to work. Blessings on you and your family. Again, congrats on the baby. I think being a mom is the most awesome thing in the world.




"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." ~Westminister Catechism

I try to spread my message to the world the best way that I can give it
We can make it, always be optimistic
If you don’t listen, gotta live my life the best way that I can live it
With the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains
And only the heavenly father can ease the hurt
Just let it go and keep prayin’ on your knees in church (Let’s go)
And be hopeful, hopeful, and He’ll make a way
I know it ain’t easy but - that’s okay
Cause we hopeful -"Hope" by Twista and Faith Evans

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 3:32 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

I read recently that when a woman leaves the workforce for just three years, her income over her lifetime is reduced by 30%.

We also know that after a divorce, a woman's lifestyle goes down, while a man actually receives an increase in cash flow. To the extent that a woman is financially dependent on her husband, she puts herself at risk for whatever might happen down the road.

Furthermore, when women leave the workforce, they take away opportunities for women coming into the workforce to network with them. Meaning, if I'm looking for more female superiors for advice on career and to help me through the ranks (or nudge against the glass ceiling) I can't cause. . . .well, they've all left to be at home.

Additionally, it re-inforces the idea that women aren't worth investing in -- that a company should not put it's resources (whether time or money) into a woman because she's just going to leave eventually. This, again, does not help women currently in the workforce.

That said, I absoulutely feel that freedom is about choice -- even when it's choices that another woman would not make. But I get why other women are skeptical.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 3:47 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

I am not a stay at home wife or mom, nor do I ever want to be - so I'm probably one of the people from whom you'd feel stigmatized.

Here's the thing that kind of bugs me (not just about your post, but about situations like this in general): Why is it generally the woman who needs to quit her job to take care of the home or to take care of the kids? I understand that you said you're not career-driven - but not all men are, either, yet you rarely see a stay-at-home-dad and I couldn't imagine a man being a homemaker.

So, no - I can't relate. Sorry, but I'm probably part of the problem. I totally understand and respect why a woman would want to stay at home and raise her children, but a woman without children being a homemaker seems a little 1950s to me. But feminism is all about choices, and if you choose to do this, then I think it's cool. I totally don't understand why you'd want to, but I love my job and I hate housework, so perhaps I'm just having a hard time relating.

Sorry I can't give you any advice. As far as the comments go, I think people probably just don't know how to respond, as it's uncommon for a childless woman to quit work to take care of a household. Also keep in mind that a lot of people (like me!) hate housework and probably don't understand why you'd want to do it full time. Just remind people that feminism isn't about forcing women into the workforce against their will. Feminism is about women having the freedom to make their own choices, whether that is to work, raise children, or take care of their homes. A lot of people forget that sometimes.


DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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Sunnijoy Posts : 32 Registered: 3/19/10
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 4:00 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

I think it is great how we are all so different! Imagine if we all wanted to take the same path in life how many wonderful routes would go unexplored and how many fantastic journies would be missed!

I have the highest respect for career women and feel a sense of sisterhood with them, having been one myself.

I don't know that I will forever stay-at-home wife/mom. Once my kids are older I may find I have time on my hands and a professional goal I wish to pursue.

I am confident that this period in my life is going to be great in building my character and in developing my personality, same as I benefited from my time as a career woman- though in different regards.

Thanks all for the replies and for sharing your unique perspectives. Much appreciated!



"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." ~Westminister Catechism

I try to spread my message to the world the best way that I can give it
We can make it, always be optimistic
If you don’t listen, gotta live my life the best way that I can live it
With the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains
And only the heavenly father can ease the hurt
Just let it go and keep prayin’ on your knees in church (Let’s go)
And be hopeful, hopeful, and He’ll make a way
I know it ain’t easy but - that’s okay
Cause we hopeful -"Hope" by Twista and Faith Evans

Reply


auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 4:48 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

Dear Sunni,

One thing you learn as you get older is that you cannot please everyone.

If you stay at home, there will be naysayers who urge you back into the work force. If you work, there will be naysayers who question the cleanliness of your house or happiness of your family.

It never stops.

If you have one child, people will whine about a Lonely Only. If you have more children, then the Zero Population crowd will frown at you.

If you eat meat, you will run into those who lecture about the non-sustainability of carnivores. If you go vegetarian, someone will complain about how it's so hard to cook for you when they invite you over.

You need to decide what is best for you, your husband and any future children. Listen to what your own voice tells you. Then, follow your own path and try to ignore the complainers.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 5:11 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

I'm confused. I don't think anyone knew you have kids? But you wrote once your kids are older.

Anyway, I probably fall more in line with Art here, and MsD. I typically keep those thoughts tomyself, however, unless I am criticized for working and that has happened in the past, when my kids were young. They are all grown now. But honestly, I had no choice. Work or we didn't eat orhave a home. I think I would have liked to have a choice, although, I likely would have made the choice to work, because I would want my ability to support myself in tact.

It may be tough for people like me to understand your choice, but again, I don't have anything personally against it. I don't understand it, but typically keep my opinions to myself unless I am outwardly attacked for my choice to work and have a professional career in which case I will not hesitate to give my opinon. This hasn't happened in a long time, though.

In our household, though, it is not my job to do the housework, cook, go grocery shopping, etc. In fact, I can't remember the last time I went grocery shopping. I've been working a ton of hours, so my husband has been doing the shopping on Saturdays while I work. So I guess I don't understand the household/kid raising job as the wife's job. I'm glad my DH agrees. He babysits a lot for the grandbabies on weekends when I have to work, in fact, he basically plans on it for the most part. We watch them on weekends during the day generally because they both work then and day care is cost prohibitive for them. If I had to do it all, I honestly wouldn't be able to keep up.

Still, I would not want to force my personal beliefs on another woman either, and think that we do need to have the freedom to make the choices that are best for us whether it is work part time, work full time, be a stay at home mom, whatever.

Proud Member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People

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wdubin Posts : 49 Registered: 4/27/08
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 6:12 PM Go to message in response to: ArtBride

I think if you choose to stay at home, it is no one else's business. You don't have to answer to anyone else except maybe your husband. Enjoy the new found freedom you will experiencing!

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kennysoldwife Posts : 3,859 Registered: 4/28/07
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 6:14 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

I was a stay-at-home wife and mother and I truly hated it. I couldn't wait to get back to work. I didn't like depending on my husband for everything. I had been taking care of myself since I was 16 I was a single mother prior to getting married so I had always been independant. We decided I would stay home and take care of our son while he was a baby and go back to work when he started school. I lasted exactly one year, I began to go stir crazy. I missed adult interaction. I put my son in daycare when he was two and went back to work. It was the best move I ever made.

 

 

 

Kenny and me perfect together, 10 years and counting

Sucks to be you, So glad I am me

Proud Member of P.O.O.P,  People Offended by Offended People

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HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 7:13 PM Go to message in response to: kennysoldwife

I can partly relate, but I can't let you know yet how it's going. I agree with everyone who's already posted to an extent.

My last day of work was last Friday and our baby was due yesterday (but hasn't arrived yet). I didn't love my job, but it certainly gave me a sense of purpose and I learned new things all the time, which I enjoyed. Plus it of course gave me my own income independent from my husband's and gave me the ability to contribute to my own 401(k). All that on one hand is hard to give up.

Everything that Ms. D says is valid and I agree with her points especially--regarding the importance of considering the loss of earning power, the value of women being able to network, plus the idea that many still have that if anyone quits their job it should be the woman. Also especially agree with Aunt's point that you're damned if you do, damned if you don't, so go ahead and do what's best for you. And ArtBride's point (I think?) that feminism is about choice, and this one is just as valid as choosing to be career woman.

On the other hand, I worry about missing that sense of purpose I got from work and about the feeling of accomplishment you get from completing a project. Intellectually I know that staying home with our kid as long as we can make it work will be very good for it, but I'm feeling worried nonetheless at the same time that I'm looking forward to it.

Today was my first workday NOT being at work, and I had the sort of epiphany that as long as I make up some sort of schedule and "work list" of stuff to get done for the day, that it will probably help all of my worries. I'll get the sense of accomplishment and contribution to the household that I'm looking for.

Also, I think it's good for any kid for one of the parents to be home for a while--doesn't have to be the mom. My husband disagrees and thinks the mom is more important to the child's life, so if one of them is going to stay home, it should be her. Whatever--in our case it worked out, b/c I think I'll be good at it & it would be too hard for me to leave the baby after 3 months maternity leave anyway. So I also feel lucky.

I've rambled all over the place, but your post obviously struck a chord with me.

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agd1017 Posts : 464 Registered: 9/14/09
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 7:36 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Cyndi- I think she meant her future kids. I word it like that all the time, something like "My kids will have manners."

OP- If I'm wrong, please correct me!

Amanda and Eric
10/10/10

Amanda and Eric

 

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August28th Posts : 153 Registered: 1/28/09
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 8:23 PM Go to message in response to: Sunnijoy

I was a stay at home wife for the first 2 weeks of our marriage (not including honeymoon), right after that I got a job. I absolutely loved being home! And I was so busy; I was moving and working from 8 am to after 5, I hardly had any time to be lazy. Crazily enough, I don't mind cleaning (other than dusting, I HATE dusting!) or cooking and all that stuff. Needless to say I'm jealous of you! I personally felt like I was a better wife when I was at home.

I've never been career oriented either. My whole life if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I'd say "a wife and mom". I'm working now because... well, we're poor! DH is in school and only working weekends every few weeks. So hopefully when he's done with school, he can get a good job and maybe I'll find a part time job and spend more time at home. I have had some jobs that I've enjoyed and liked, but I never felt fulfilled like I did those two weeks I stayed at home. I do hope to be a stay at home mom when we do have kids. Like your mom my mom did the same thing and she loved it. When my brother and I were in high school she worked during the day, and obviously she's working now that we're both out of the house.

I've always seen feminism as giving women the freedom to choose how they live their lives: to work or not, raise children or not, be a wife or not. It's your life and if you and your DH think you should be a stay at home wife, go for it. Like a PP said, it's no one's business but yours. Good luck, I hope you enjoy staying home. Also, could I ask what Bible college you went to? Just curious!

True love is like a ghost which many talk about but few have ever seen.

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StarlitHolly Posts : 47 Registered: 2/23/10
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 8:29 PM Go to message in response to: agd1017

I guess I am just curious for those of you who made the
transition from career to stay-at-home wife... how has that worked out
for you? For those who are stay-at-home wives, what do you most enjoy
about it?


I was like the OP - I wasn't a career-driven girl in school, I dabbled with the idea of going into nursing or a career in a medical field but what I wanted to do, what I really want to do, is be a stay-at-home wife and mother.
Currently, I am a stay-at-home wife because I cannot work right now, legally. We're in the Immigration process - hopefully within a year I will have my permanent residency and be able to get a job.
So, this means that while my dH works, my "job" is to keep the home. Groceries, meals, cleaning up, etc. And I love it! I don't know what the future holds as far as when we will have children, etc, but I definately am going to be a stay-home mom.
I was raised by a stay-at-home mother and a working father, who homeschooled me as well. My mom is Supermom - she has 9 children (7 at home right now), she keeps an immaculately tidy home, she is a wonderful cook, and she homeschools from kindergarten to graduation.
No, I did not grow up in a Duggar-type household -
I was a goth (and science-fiction-obsessed kid) for all my teenage years (piercings, eyeliner, etc). My parents paid for my first tattoo! My brother is a metalhead, and used to sport the long hair typically associated with that. He also got his first tattoo at age 13(he has since added 2 more to his body, and more are planned)! My younger sisters are talented indie-rock musicians with amazing fashion sense in their clothing and hairstyles. My youngest sister's ambition in life is to be a mechanic! We are definately not the spelling-bee, matching-clothing, long-haired girls and short-haired guys, socially retarded homeschool kids.

HollyElise


21. Canadian. Stay-At-Home Wife. Living in Hawaii.


Edited by: HollyElise on Mar 22, 2010 8:30 PM

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Stay at Home Wife Stigma?
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 9:56 PM Go to message in response to: August28th

Dear Aug,

"I've always seen feminism as giving women the freedom to choose how they live their lives: to work or not, raise children or not, be a wife or not."

Exactly right.

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