Standards of Comparison: Housewife versus Stay At Home Mom

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been talking about the career wife versus the housewife. Now, I want to take the matter a little further. This is about the relationship dynamic and frankly the prejudice that exists now about the housewife, not the stay at home mom – but the housewife who elects to stay home whether there are children involved or not.

Most of us who have commented on these issues over the last few days have all been moms, but what about the housewife who doesn’t have children. Forty years ago, when a woman married – most assumed she would become a housewife. In fact, the movie Mona Lisa Smiles addresses some of the prejudices that modern women face when they choose marriage over a career.

Note, not parenthood over a career, but marriage. Is that aspiration any better or worse than the woman who wants to become a VP in the executive branch of a bank? What about the woman who wants to becomes a well-known novelist? What makes their career aspirations better or worse than the woman who wants to become a good wife and that’s it?

Even the most open-minded woman is going to wonder – is that all? I mean doesn’t she want to do something else? See – the difference is – even for me as I sit here and write this is that if you ask a woman if she is just a housewife, there is an implication that she is something less – that she is not living up to her potential or worse – that she isn’t good enough to be more.

What’s wrong with being a housewife? Why does it make someone think a person isn’t living up to his or her potential? Running a household, maintaining a yard and performing social work is no better or worse than any other occupation a woman can choose to do.

It’s hypocritical to judge someone else’s choices. We all do it, however. We all feel the same way. The stay-at-home mom versus the career mom – daycare versus homecare – career wives versus housewives – the point of fact is that what all of these have in common is that they are women. If we support the right of a woman to choose her own destiny, then you have to support and not judge the choices she makes no matter whether it’s a career life, a home life, a combination or something altogether new that we haven’t discovered yet.

In writing this, I think about the wife of a politician or powerful figures in both modern day and in history. Many of those were just housewives too – does that make them less in their value or contribution?

Honestly, who judges what is valuable or not? Do your children measure it by the amount of attention they received? Does your spouse decide that value because they do or don’t compete with your work? Who decides? Do you judge yourself by whether you go to work every day or whether you bring in money working from home? Is it wrong to put the welfare of your family ahead of your own desires?

If someone were putting a gun to your head and telling you, no you have to do it just one way and only that way – then I’d have a problem with it. Otherwise, it’s no one else’s business.

This entry was posted in Married Without Children and tagged , , , , by Heather Long. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.