Growing up, I had non-traditional parents. Both of them worked, my mom always making more money than my dad, and now my dad’s retired and my mom pays the bills.
My parents were great. But, I feel like they didn’t help me keep an open mind about the different lifestyles a woman can have. They pushed for university and choosing a career that would offer me “life-time satisfaction” and a great pay check. They asked me a ton of questions about what job I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but they never got me thinking about what type of family I wanted or if I would even have children.
When I moved away from home for the first year of college, the world hit me hard. My mom wasn’t there to make me dinner or do my laundry. Learning life skills on top of the new difficulty of school caused me a lot of anxiety.
Then I met my boyfriend. The most amazing person I’ve ever met. The one person I trust more than anyone else in the universe. He grew up with what would be considered “traditional” parents — his dad worked long hours to provide for the family, giving his mom the freedom to be a stay at home mom and bathe her children with love. His memories from childhood are very different from mine. He remembers crafts with his mom. I remember daycare, after-school programs, and babysitters.
When I Started Thinking About it
As the relationship became more serious and I moved in with my boyfriend, he started asking me some questions about how I wanted to raise children, and if I even wanted them. I’d never really thought about it before. It’s kind of weird being 18 and thinking about if you want kids. Like, I can barely fold my own laundry and now I’m supposed to think about creating a human life?
Looking back, I’m very thankful that my boyfriend got me thinking so early, even if it was hard. With my mind only set on finishing school and developing my career, I needed that push to think about what I wanted. It was difficult. My parents raised me with certain values, and now they were at war with my boyfriend’s values.
My boyfriend clearly wanted a traditional family. He was teaching me and pushing me to do the typical “woman” chores around the house, and he did the man “chores”. I felt a lot of frustration from this. I felt like he was forcing this new “traditional woman” lifestyle on me, and I hadn’t even thought about what I wanted. But before I got mad at him, I knew I had to think it through first.
Why I Should Become a Housewife
I struggled to think about being a housewife. My original life goal (because of the values my parents instilled in me) was to become a working woman and make enough to pay someone else to cook for me and do my laundry! But then I really started thinking about what I wanted. I had wars with myself over this. It’s not easy being a 20 year old and thinking about all this. This is adult stuff.
- I don’t want to lose my man. I think I really hit the jackpot with finding a great partner. Some of my girlfriends say this is a dumb reason and that I have to think for myself. But I am thinking for myself — I love my man, and I would be very unhappy if I lost him.
- Household chore division is much easier in a traditional relationship. I’m scared of how high divorce rates are, and not that I know anything, but I feel like part of the problem is the difficulties in dividing household labour in the “modern” relationship and resentment that builds when one partner feels they do more than the other. The point of marriage is to be a team and to join with another human being that has complementary skills so you can become one super human.
- I thought my career would be more fulfilling, but it’s turning out not to be. I finished my undergraduate degree and I work at Shopify as a software developer. It’s an amazing job, but I don’t get the same joyous feelings as I do when I make my partner happy with a home-cooked meal.
- Hell yes, I want a man to support me! Sometimes I wonder why feminism had to disrupt the traditional relationship roles. Like, isn’t the dream to not work? I think women were very lucky to be able to stay home while the men got up everyday to do the dirty work in the field. I would feel honoured and loved if my boyfriend could provide me with this lifestyle in the future.
- I don’t want to have to choose between my partner, my kids, and my career. Modern relationships aren’t really in favour of women. I think the women are expected to still do all of the traditional housework, in addition to now having a 9–5 job. That seems like too much responsibility for one person. I would crack under the pressure.
- I want the extra time to take care of my body. I’ve always been a bit of a fitness junkie and health nut. The career path I’ve chosen unfortunately involves a lot of sitting. I would love to stay home and learn how to prepare healthy meals for me and my partner instead of withering away at a desk.
- 45 years of work seems depressing. I don’t hate my job, but I don’t love it. It’s work. The thought of renting my brain out to a software company for the next 45 years makes me feel like life isn’t worth it.
- I want to raise my own children. If I bring little people into this world, I want to be the one that raises them. I don’t want to be at work all day and make money to pay someone else to take care of them. I don’t want to give my kids memories of daycares and babysitters like I had. (I do realize some families can’t afford to have a parent stay at home)
- My partner’s dream is to support his family financially. Part of being in a relationship is supporting your partner’s dreams. I have a lot of personal development dreams, but no career dreams thus far. I would love to make my man feel fulfilled. It’s a pretty amazing dream to have if you ask me.
- It’s not like I would never work again. My boyfriend really wants to own his own company. He works for his dad’s construction company and hopefully he’ll get to run it someday. That opens lots of doors for me in terms of accounting and entrepreneurial endeavours.
Why I Shouldn’t Become a Housewife
If I ultimately choose to be a housewife, of course I’ll miss out on some stuff. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it.
- I’ll miss out on career development. For the 17 years I lived with my parents, I watched my mom climb the corporate ladder. She’s now in her late forties and sits at the second top position in her company. For a daughter, this is inspirational. I feel sad that I’ll miss out on growing my career.
- My parents might be against it. I really don’t like upsetting people, especially my parents. It’s so difficult having a continuous war in my head of my partner’s beliefs against my parent’s beliefs. I hope my parents will be supportive and maintain a strong connection with me. I want my children to have a healthy, happy relationship with their grandparents.
- I might get lonely. I’m a complete extrovert. I get depressed when I’m alone for too long. Part of the reason I like work is because of all the people! But, I’m sure this is a problem I could address and fix in the future.
- Society might look down on me. I don’t know if it’s true, but I feel that society has a certain stigma against stay at home moms. Like, if this is the spoiled life you’ve chosen to lead, you’re seen as lesser than a woman that gets up every morning and goes to work. Raising humans is a difficult job, and I don’t think SAHMs get enough credit.
- Getting bored. I love playing with my little cousins, but gosh does it get boring! It takes patience to entertain little minds all day. I really thrive from intellectual stimulation, and without it I start to feel dull and lifeless. But, I don’t see this as a huge barrier because when work fails to stimulate me, I always have my own projects on the go to fill the gap.
My Friends are Against it
Another thing I’ve found frustrating is the lack of support I’ve received from my friends. I go to my girlfriends so I can tell them my feelings about something, and this normally sparks a lively debate. But when I say something like “I cook for my boyfriend”, they immediately become defensive and say “Oh, well does he cook for you?”. The answer of “No, but he fixes my car for free, does house repairs, and holds doors open for me” doesn’t seem to satisfy their modern women palettes.
All of my girlfriends are in their early 20’s too, and some of them haven’t even dated before. So, I’m not blaming them that they become so defensive. They’ve probably never thought about what lifestyle they want. I was exactly the same before I met my boyfriend.
Society is Pushy
I think growing up as a female is more difficult now than ever before. Women have a small period of about 15 years (early adulthood to mid-thirties) to develop their careers, find a partner, and decide if they want to have children. Men are fine if they go do all that stuff and then want to have kids in their forties. Women can’t wait this long. Once we reach a certain age, conception, pregnancy, and childbirth become increasingly more difficult and dangerous for mom and baby.
I’ve only been living as an adult for a few years, and I’m really feeling this pressure from society now. In my teen years, no one told me about all the decisions I would have to make in the next few years as a young woman. I have to figure it out on my own, and I wish someone had given me a head’s up.
In All Honesty, I Just Don’t Know
A lot of people keep telling me I’m choosing the housewife life because that’s what my boyfriend wants. I think that’s partially true, but it’s not my only reason. It took me several years of battling with myself to finally feel confident about my decision. My parents raised me a certain way, and it’s so painful to go against the values they taught me.
I feel very honoured that I even get to make a choice. Most families can’t afford to have a stay at home parent. Many women probably don’t get support from their partners for this lifestyle. And maybe my boyfriend won’t be able to afford the housewife lifestyle for me and I’ll be forced to go back to work. The future has endless possibilities.
At the end of the day, no matter what I decide, I think it’s none of society’s gosh darn business. (Sorry, I hate swearing)