Housewife- What does it Mean?

Lately, I feel that women who opt for careers, rather than family-oriented lives, are facing some unfair  criticism in the media. In a previous L&P post Simran Sachdev discussed an Economist article which  seemed to place blame for a declining birth rate on women who choose the single life over marriage or  who have smaller families due to career considerations.

Simran highlighted the many flaws of the Economist article and how it failed to account for societal  issues. Her story got me thinking about the dynamic of my family and why I think some women are  choosing career over the traditional stay-at-home-mom role.

I come from a family of six girls with strong personalities, including my mom - the ringleader. Mom stayed  at home, took care of her girls (and everything in between) while dad worked full-time and more. I  love my dad to bits, but can honestly say (no offense, Dad) that he would be a sheer mess without the  and support that my mother gave for him, our family and his career. Not only would my white  shirts have surrendered to darks in the washing machine, but I probably would have worn sweatpants  with holes in them throughout my school years.

In my eyes, my mom sacrificed everything for us growing up. Everything. Her social life, her "me time",  her passion and - after 25 years of running around - maybe even a little bit of her sanity. It's not to say  that my dad didn't do the same for us in other ways. For instance, if there was a baseball or basketball  team to coach after work - he was there. Together my parents made a great team, but looking back  on my mother's experience I can understand why so many women (including myself) desire a different  lifestyle.

My parents started our family in their early twenties. My mom is an educated lady and could have been  a professional woman had she wanted to; however, with five children it made sense for someone to stay  at home (do the math on the daycare bill). My dad, naturally, became the breadwinner of the family,  ultimately gaining (in my opinion) an unspoken form of power and control.

Throughout the years, my dad prospered in his career and outside life while my mother put many aspects  of her life on hold. We grew up in an amazing household with supportive parents. If my dad would have  had the opportunity to stay at home — he would have taken it in a heartbeat. He couldn’t wait to spend  any second that he had with us. However, I think as time went on, my mother’s life at home became less  fulfilling.

When my sisters and I started getting older and slowly going our own ways, we needed our mom less and  less. We didn't need to gossip about drama at school; we didn't need dinner cooked because we were  never there to eat it. We didn't need to add items to her grocery list since we were never home. It hurts in  my chest to think of my mother giving her entire being to five children and then, eventually, watching her  babies grow into adults who no longer needed her in the same way they once had.

I respect what my mom gave for her family, yet for countless reasons, her sacrifice is also one of my  biggest fears in life.

Thankfully my parents are still madly in love, but what if it hadn't played out this way? What if my dad had  left my mom for a younger woman? My mom would have been left with a career missed, a social life gone  and her girls growing in their own paths and needing her less and less.

Today, my mom has found her passion: fitness. She is now an outdoor fitness instructor/trainer and  currently pursuing yoga and Essentrics. My dad thought that getting back into the workforce would be a  piece of cake for her since he sees her as capable of conquering the world, but I saw the challenge of reentering  the workforce differently. It's like playing Monopoly and getting up for a pee break - you come  back and everything has changed! Next thing you know, the person beside you has collected $2000 and  owns six new properties and you are completely out of the loop.

I feel like everything that I've done career-wise and my attitude at 28 years old has been (for myself yes)  and in some sense because I want to protect myself in ways my mom didn’t. I want to be 100% self sufficient  in my education and finances when the time comes to start a family. When I have children I  will very much be the mother and wife that I've always dreamt of being, however I don't see myself being  the "super- human-mother-to-five-children" that my mom was. I just can't do it.

It is my hope that the moms out there who do stay at home can somehow make time for themselves and  pursue their own passion(s) while their children are growing up. In a simple phrase: put yourself first and  never lose sight of your passion, your personal success & growth.

There is a new generation of women in the world today who are now seeing the value of pursuing their  own goals, being self-sufficient and in turn benefiting from the protection and self-reassurance that comes  with the package. We should not be punished or left to feel guilty for being the breadwinner, the fabulous  mom, the backbone of the family and for knowing how to properly separate our whites from our darks.

Thanks mom- you're the root of everything I push for.