Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm a 1950s Housewife and I love It

This weekend at a social engagement we were sitting at a table with two Phd students (well, three, counting Avram) and a female Physician who has a nine month old daughter. (Thanks Linus and Carrie, it was a great Oktoberfest!). We were talking about our life missions/activities, etc and how this fit in with children. One married man Tom (his wife was in North Carolina) talked about how he and his wife Joan don't want any children at all. Another woman, Ursula, is married and doesn't want children right now. The third woman Camille is just finishing her residency, and her and her husband decided to have a child now that she's not working eighty hour weeks. Then I piped up and said that I love having kids. That I want lots more, and that I love staying home with them. That I always wanted a large family, and having two children has only encouraged this desire.

Realizing the company I was in (two out of the previous three were not LDS, and everyone in the room (four others as well) had a master's degree or higher) I laughed a little and said that I sounded like a 1950s housewife, but that I really meant it. I know that having lots of children and being a homemaker isn't for everyone, but for me and my life it's great. That I've realized that for me what I'm best at is being a mother; that I really like it, that I'm good at it (not that others aren't, but that I have fairly easy pregnancies, short labors, and I don't find staying at home oppressive but rather liberating). They agreed that if it worked for me that was great, and knowing my mission in life was great, and I didn't feel denigrated in my lifestyle or choices at all (just as I hope I did not sound denigrating to their choices, because I love having female Ob-gyns (the kind of doctor she was), and am a fan of higher Phd education for women).

Often I've been around others who have talked about their views on children, whether the timing or numbers, along with working outside the home or not for mothers, etc. Often I just stay silent, because I don't know how to positively talk about my choices and appreciation for choosing to have children immediately, wanting lots of children, and staying home with them without sounding condemning of other's choices or otherwise sounding like a 1950s housewife. This is the first time that I consciously expressed my thoughts, and it went very well.


  1. I like this post. I often just stay silent, too, around people who have made different choices -- unless one of those people speaking is my mom and she's telling me why all my choices are wrong. However, I'm glad your well-educated friends respected your decisions. My feeling is that people with young families who are trying to balance everything understand better than anyone else why families are important and why homemaking is an important job. And you are lucky to have found a job you love.

  2. Good for you! Keep doing it. I love that there are so many SAHM in the States. Over here the only reason you would stay home with your kids would be if you were unemployed. It's so hard for me to explain to Poles that I actually have chosen to be home with the kids. It like an entirely new way of thinking for them. One woman I talked to said she couldn't understand why anyone would want to babysit their kids all day!!! And that women who stay at home are wasting their life etc. I know many people think this, but it was strange to have someone saying it to my face after I'd explained how wonderful it is to see the kids grow and to help them learn ANYTHING I WANT THEM TO, etc. Babysitting? Not at all. Sad.

  3. I'm glad you were able to confidently & unapologetically state your love of being a SAHM. I was a SAHM years ago and I still remain mortified at the people(& even women) who would have the audacity of asking me "What I possibly did all day long?!" (not kidding) How do you possibly explain that to someone who has to ask? & do they dare ask a daycare worker or babysitter what they do all day? I don't get it.

    But I remember dreading and not knowing how to answer(justify) staying home...I always felt put on the spot when people would say.."Man, it must be nice to get to stay home."(never mind alot of us sacrifice nice things to do it-we don't do it because we are financially able necessarily) But some people automatically assume you don't have to work because you're wealthy. And I used to feel obligated to explain...& it made me feel foolish & belittled. My mom gave me great advice...she said...just tell people "Yes, i'm blessed to be at home!" (No other explanation needed)

    I think these people had a bone to pick...they wanted to make me feel small. Maybe they were jealous? i don't know. But simply saying YES! I'm so thankful, and blessed. (that cuts to the chase) ;-)

    You women continue to encourage one another...and stay positive!