Men should not marry women who have careers, according to an opinion piece at Forbes.com. The statistics are clear:

“Marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill (American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).”

There is a response from a woman, who, big surprise, has a big career. But to me, she just sounds like she’s whining. And she’s definitely missing the point.

The point is that marriage and family work best when one person is taking care of them full time. Duh. Everything in the world is best off when it is cared for very carefully. I wish everyone would stop trying to deny this. It’s barking up the wrong tree.

There is little evidence that the role of housewife is any more frustrating than the role of housewife and careerist rolled into one. (I have done both roles and both are very difficult and not totally satisfying.)

The conclusion, that marriages and families work better with a full-time housewife, is hard to swallow but hard to deny. It’s just that not every woman wants to take care of a family and marriage full time, and even fewer men do. And increasingly few people want to give up almost all child-rearing responsibilities in order to be a single breadwinner. So this is a piece of advice that’s useful to only the small percentage of households in the world. But still, the advice is good.

Many people will say they’d rather face the challenges of a dual-career marriage than the challenge of a stay-at-home-spousedom. Fine. Just know the statistics are not in your favor.

Before I get accused of throwing stones from a glass house, let me come clean with the fact that my husband and I are constantly restructuring our work life in response to these statistics. Also, I believe that the woman being the primary caretaker of both family and marriage is BS, but I don’t see many marriages working any other way, even with two, powerhouse careers.

Please, do not send me emails about your perfect marriage because I don’t believe it. In my marriage we have tried everything, and everything is hard in its own way.

Meanwhile, it’s good advice to men to pick a woman who will be a full-time housewife, but I have some advice for women who are shopping for husbands: To find a partner who will support your choices both financially and emotionally and who will be around enough to participate as an equal parent, marry someone with a very large trust fund.

115 replies
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  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Penelope,
    I truly enjoy your articles and this one is of particular interest to me. I am a newlywed who is considering the role of stay at home mom when the time comes. For all of the commenters who have written about the article I wonder what type of hours they are thinking the husband and wife of this hypothetical couple works. I personally work 60-70 hours a week and travel 16 weeks out of the year. My husband has the luxury of not traveling, however he works 50 hours a week on average, with peaks of 65 during busier times of the year. I am not foolish enough to think we would be able to raise happy children with those work schedules. Do the men and women that are saying that a family with two working parents can be done well consider the hours of an actual career work week? The hours put in on the weekend? The travel? My mom and dad each worked 40 hour weeks, and yes I was raised well, but I find that these days the 40 hour work week is more of a myth than a reality.

  2. SonofRobots
    SonofRobots says:

    Speaking of a son of over achieving parents… I can tell you that it royally f’d up my life.

    You keep forgetting that parents have radically different personalities and parenting styles, It’s not simply just about work, not-work or staying home with the kids, etc.

    It’s NOT JUST ABOUT YOU, lets not forget this. Many people bring lives into the world when they are pretty immature. Life is way more complicated then “oh you must be jealous of me and my perfect family” etc.

    Parents who are never around can have enormous influences and effects on their kids.

    Many workaholics are certifiably insane. The truth is in america the culture of work and ‘achievement’ (or rather corporate enslavement) is lauded, and anything off the beaten path is disdained.

    Women can be perfectly happy at home, so can men.
    In our modern society the speed at which it occurs truncates human development, so many people live their entire lives based on lies, other peopels expectations, idealisms and romanticizations of things.

    The work-life balance issue is pretty big. To me my parents were food and toy dispensers, little more. At times it was hard to even view them as people, being the career robots that they were.

    The truth is people today have no commitment or moral fibre what-so-ever.

    The law of diminishing returns kicks in, in every single relationship. Where you will distort reality and start blowing up small things or normal things in life into crisis and then end things in divorce.

    The truth is most adults today are children, all because they’ve had their heads stuffesd with distortions and romanticizations of how real life is.

  3. Irene
    Irene says:

    I have to admit I was completely horrified by this recent post, and I’m actually quite happy that I’ve never happened upon this blog before. I'll make sure to never return again. You've done a fabulous job of unraveling the hard work generations of women undertook to allow women like yourself to make vast, sweeping generalizations over an entire sex based on a couple of statistics from an *opinion* piece. Perhaps, it was a particularly rough day for you of blogging and taking care of the kids but you should really think before you write. First off, statistics aren't "clear". In fact, statistics are usually used out of context (case in point) and are biased to the collector of the information. How large exactly was the sample study used to determine the satisfaction of women professionally or personally? And can you really verify that these people used in the study were accurately represented?

    I don't think your argument holds water. While I know a great deal of housewives that genuinely fulfilled, I know many housewives who are bored and feel underappreciated by their family members whom they cater to. You are making the assumption that a household runs smoother and the family is happier if a woman remains a full-time housewife, but in reality I know plenty of households run by full-time housewives that are in complete disarray. I know of housewives who can barely complete their household tasks because they are more preoccupied with catching up with their friends or their favorite TV shows. I know housewives who were clearly not involved with their kids activities by choice even though they have the time. And, yes, I can, of course, present a slew of examples of women who are doing a magnificent job just at home as well as many women who are dissatisfied with balancing both work and their home lives, but I think the point is that it all depends. There are so many unique factors to what makes a situation work and what makes someone happy or unhappy that prescribing a life choice into two options (be a housewife and be happy OR a professional and unhappy) is pretty mind-blowing. A large part also depends on the common values that partners agree to from the onset of their partnership.
    I think the point is that women *now* have options to determine what they want to do. I believe that being able to make a *choice* about staying at home vs. balancing work and home life is the key to being satisfied. Also being stressed out about juggling these work and home life does not necessarily mean a woman or even her family is unhappy. It just means that she's DAMN busy.

    Your views reflect your age. A lot. I'm part of a generation of women *and* men who do not see work and home life strictly defined by gender or any "clear" statistics. Just to let you know, I fully intend to enjoy being a working mother and have no intentions of seeking men with trust funds. But please, do let me know how that goes for you. And to be fair to my future husband, I'll make sure to be explicit with him before we get married that regardless of the salary amount either of us will make that there is full expectation that we will support each other and our family in every way–together.

  4. Heather
    Heather says:

    The close mindedness of so many people in todays society is absurd and mind boggling.

    I am a career woman, highly educated and while I am an admitted work-a-holic, I make extended efforts to enjoy quality time with my son and husband.

    My husband has accepted my drive and ambition and because we both feel that our child, and any future children, should be raised at minimum through younger pre-school years, by a nurturing parent who can offer them the love, attention and devotion needed in early childhood developement, he has graciously accepted a role as a stay at home father. And he is wonderful at it, even though members of his family gave him raised eyebrows about his decision.

    Do not for one moment think that just because I hold an executive position, that my family does not come first. Each morning I spend several hours sipping coffee with my husband and discussing politics and daily agendas, before our son wakes up. I make breakfast, clean up the dishes from the morning, and then kiss them BOTH goodbye before I run off to my corporate life.

    I come home every single day to cook and prepare lunch for both my son and husband, spend half an hour or so after our toddler is fed to play with him and then head back to work, where I fall into rythem until the end of my work day.

    Although some days I do work later than average, it is always my aim to arrive home in time to start preparing dinner for my family. My husband does his fair share of laundry, dishes and grocery shopping, which is generally paired with trips to the park and sports with our son, but our main focus is ensuring that our son is given the nurturing loving environment we so badly wish him to have. Never have I claimed that because I earn monetary compensation that I have now waived my duties as a wife and mother. I still cook, clean, and do as much housework as needed. We take turns, and enjoy a partnership.

    With the market, and my career positioned in investments brokering, it has become more stressful for me as a provider to ensure the stability of my family, but it is a burden I gladly carry. My son has never been sick, had diaper rash only ONCE in his lifetime (due to a 6 hour long car ride), is well mannered, polite, shares, is inquisitive and smart and completely happy and secure, and there is no price you can put on that.

    I dont think it should be a matter of just staying home, or working. I also know several house wives who are, sad to say, horrid mothers. They neglect their children, their household responsibilities, and sit around all day with their kids locked in a kid safe area to play, with occassional snacks and little attention. Too many people think of their own selfish needs prior to the needs that their children and family require.

    Some days I fantisize that it would be wonderful to be home with my son, watching his every movement, although I wonder if I would look at each moment with the same magic I see in him now, since each moment spent with him is quality and completely focused on him as a little person, not as a burden or a chore or a job.

    My husband made the choice to put his career on hold to cater to our son and our own shared belief that parenting should be done by parents, not minimum wage strangers. Would it be easier if we had a dual income? Perhaps we could enjoy more vacations, drive different cars, eat out more, but honestly, I wouldnt trade any materialistic throw away in the world for the joy that our son is being raised with our own personal values.

    No car, house, vacation or peice of jewelry should be valued as more important than your child and those important first years in life.

    As parents you must be ready to sacrifice those extra hours of sleep, having fancy lunches with fellow execs, to spend the time with your family and make it count. And if that is not something you are willing to do, then you have no right being a parent, or a spouse for that matter.

    Do what works for your family, the stay at home mom doesnt have to be a mom, it can be a dad. Or a grandma. Perhaps if both parents wish to work, consider that a grandparent on fixed income may WANT and DESIRE to help in raising their child, especially if you invest the amount of compensation alloted for daycares to a family member in need.

    The point is, we are at a time where there are so many various options, that there shouldnt be a need for people to compromise, as long as you understand your duty to your spouse and children should always exceed your own selfish wants.

    God bless.

  5. Julie
    Julie says:

    Hiya. I just stumbled here via a Google search, and I wanted to add my two cents, even though I’m late to the party (not even fashionably late, I’m sure).

    You’re right that stories about perfect marriages are basically BS…unless you somewhat revise your definition of “perfect” to be “having a marriage that usually works, with generally low conflict.” My husband and I never planned for either of us to stay home, but we didn’t initially plan to have children either. When we did decide to have kids, it was apparent to both of us that we believed that kids should be taken care of by their parents or other family members, so we negotiated for who would stay home. Because I made more money, we tried having my husband stay home, but we were both miserable that way, so we renegotiated. Now, we’ve made serious economic compromises so that he works and I stay home (I work part time, online, too–which as someone said is the worst of both worlds in a lot of ways). It works for us and we maintain a basically happy, loving, low-conflict family just because we communicate well and are adult enough to accept the negative consequences of decisions along with the positive. I try not to whine and complain about the difficulties of working part-time at night online, and he tries not to complain about his long commute and stuff that happens at work. We made our beds, so to speak, so we lie in them. I think one of the problems when stay-at-home moms and housewives (and anyone else) become unhappy with their role is just that they don’t accept the negative parts of it, but you have to because life doesn’t usually work out so that you get everything that you want, all perfect.

    Ech, I’m tired, so I’m not expressing myself very clearly. I just mean to say that by revising your definition of perfect to admit the fact that life is never really going to be perfect, you can think of your marriage and life as perfect, even when there are a thousand things you wish were different about it.

  6. Shristu Nanay
    Shristu Nanay says:

    We have this debate coming up. “Women are best suited to be housewives rather than career women.” we want some points both in favour and against the motion. please help. we’re school students!

  7. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    I common misconception: Women can have it all.
    But no one ever said that they have to have it ALL at the SAME TIME!! I think it works best when women get their education, start their careers while looking for a husband/father for their future children (remember not every great husband translates into a great father – so you have to look for both qualities in a person), get married, etc. Then when the children start coming, take time away from the career, raise them, enjoy them, be there with the cameras for all their “firsts”, etc. Once the children are in school, the woman can return to her career, knowing that any ground she lost in taking a hiatus from the professional world, she more than made up in nonrefundable, irreplacable, priceless time she devoted to her family, giving them the security of 1 caregiver during the formative years. Then she has the rest of her life to pound the pavement in the dog-eat-dog career world. There is a time for everything and a season for everything under the sun. No one complains that taking 4-6 years out of your life to get a college degree was time wasted when you could be climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, it is considered an “investment.” Isn’t the 5-8 years you “invest” into the world, the next generation of humanity the best investment any of us can make.

  8. casey
    casey says:

    oh penelope….

    you have not researched the data well.

    i’m guessing you don’t have much of a math background. i’m guessing you’re english or communications, history perhaps…

    holes in your logic and take it from the female chemical engineer….

    1st….
    Forbes’ definition of a career woman is extraordinarily broad, including any woman who has a college education, works 35 hours a week, and makes more than $30,000. So, if you define non-career women as all the “undereducated” who work part-time and make less than $30K, it becomes painfully obvious why female careerists are more likely to divorce than non-careerists:

    They can better afford to get out of an unhappy marriage than their sisters.

    2nd….

    according to the AARP # 1 reason women won’t leave marriage: finances.

    3rd….

    according to a british study (UK google it, BBC i think)

    Premarriage housework:
    women: 10
    men: 8

    Post marriage:
    women : 15
    men: 5

    maybe we’d have it easier if got off his lazy ass.

    also,
    4th…

    by steven levitt>….

    factors that contribute to a child’s success:

    mom is over 30
    mom is educated

    smart parents have smart kids. end of story. TS it’s genetics.
    the rest is monkey see monkey due.
    dumb mom = dumb kids (unless dad is unusually bright to compensate)

    5th….

    why when a man ignores his family and work 70 hrs a weak he’s a hero but a women a bitch?

    we deny men their right to be fathers. mom’s are hogging the child’s spotlight just so they can be validated. what about him?

    Does it really matter who is around ? father or mother?

    isn’t the love more important than your validation?
    lack of a father in one’s life:

    http://www.ncfr.org/pdf/press_releases/parent_1.pdf

    a mother’s increased access in her children’s life did not compensate for the father’s lacking.

    here are stats on absent fathers and less involved fathers.
    http://www.dadsworld.com/parenting-statistics/importance-of-fathers.html

    men should be involved too. stop being so greedy.

    besides, if i was at home….the world would be stuck listening to a basketweaving major like you all day….

  9. MS
    MS says:

    I feel very strongly about this subject – because I am the product of a dual income household with a career mom, and it RUINED my childhood. I got to grow up in daycare centers watching my friends being picked up from school by a parent, and later got to feel the loneliness of seeing everyone else’s parents attending their school functions while I arrived and left alone. Nobody ever cheered on the sidelines for me. They were at work. Do you know how hard that is for a kid?! I would sit and wait for my mother to come home, only for her to be exhausted from a long day at work and want to go straight to bed. True, the income was nice. I was never lack for any material good. But, I never got to know what it felt like to be someone’s daughter. I still don’t know. Now that I’m grown I have such a disconnect with my parents. I don’t know them and they don’t know me. I don’t seek their advice or comfort, and they wonder why I never take the time to see or call them. I find it difficult to even accept hugs, because I didn’t grow up receiving them. People don’t realize how crucial the younger years are in our lives at forming important social patterns and life skills. A nurturing home and parents are absolutely central to that. Parents who come home tired, and talk to each other about work at the dinner table aren’t giving their children the much needed attention they need, regardless of how unaware they may be of it. In the end, EVERYONE loses. Money doesn’t make a happy home, people. I would have rather worked through college and have had student loans to repay than to have had it paid for with the lack of a mother growing up. That’s a debt that can never be repaid. I think Penelope deserves kudos for this article. In my experience, most of those who have argued pro-career moms are those who never grew up in a household with one. Thank you Penelope.

    • Bill
      Bill says:

      my mother stayed at home, and increasingly became mentally ill. I was relieved when she didnt come to my school functions. Life was torture in my home. I wished like hell for divorce or for her to get a job.

      You were the lucky one. I would have loved to have been you.

  10. jessica
    jessica says:

    The one thing that I have to disagree with in your article is when you say that men should name marry when who have careers. I was very career oriented at one time. I wanted a career more than I wanted marriage, more than a family. Then after having my daughter, a year later decided that I needed to be a dedicated mother and wife and made the decision to leave a career and stay at home. I am in agreement that you cant do both 100%, one is always lacking. Doesn’t matter what you do to try and fix it, one will always be lacking.

  11. jessica
    jessica says:

    The one thing that I have to disagree with in your article is when you say that men should not marry women who have careers. I was very career oriented at one time. I wanted a career more than I wanted marriage, more than a family. But I changed… after having my daughter, a year later decided that I needed to be a dedicated mother and wife and made the decision to leave a career and stay at home. I am in agreement that you cant do both 100%, one is always lacking. Doesn’t matter what you do to try and fix it, one will always be lacking.

  12. jj
    jj says:

    Re: I wanted to respone to the commenter who said a dual-income RUINED her childhood. First of all, she starts off by saying that both parents neglected her yet she obviously assumes the stay at home parent would be the mother, not the father. That is very unfair and wrong to the mother.

    Secondly, please don’t think that your experience is reason enough to stay home. My parents both worked and my sisters and I are very close to my working mom. She is truly the best and better than many SAHM I know.

    Finally, I know kids whose dads work their butt off so the mom can stay home. Yes , they got to know their mom but usually have rocky distant relationships from their fathers. That is a trade-off, too.

  13. MS
    MS says:

    I apologize if my post sounded like I only thought a mother at home was the best option – that is of course not my view. I was simply trying not to say “father or mother” every time. Of course I believe both are perfect options to stay at home! Also, please keep in mind that I stated it is only my personal experience that most (this does not mean all) families who support parents at work never had one. I only know a few who this worked well for. In your case your parents obviously did a fantastic job in balancing family with work. It’s an extremely difficult thing to do and a rare thing to accomplish. It’s just not a risk I’m personally willing to take.

  14. Kim, Rambling Family Manager
    Kim, Rambling Family Manager says:

    Interesting article! I’m a housewife, although I prefer the term family manager, and happy with that choice. I could work if I wanted to but I don’t; my husband is fine either way, and supportive of whatever I choose. I guess the key for men, or women who want a househusband, (or a house-spouse of either gender) is to find a partner with a career they are unhappy with, as I was, then they’ll LOVE staying home, as I do. ;) (Or someone with a career they can do from home might work.) I meet my needs for intellectual stimulation and getting out there through volunteering and blogging.

  15. Sophia
    Sophia says:

    I’m just torn. I am a strong willed, educated, independent, self sufficient woman…and a stay at home Mom. I chose to do this because I my children became my career, and I strongly felt it was the right thing to do for my family. I still do. It isn’t fair that women, in general, still hold the majority of the better nurturing, parenting and multitasking skills, and still hold themselves to certain expectations where their baby cubs are concerned. Unfortunately, in marriages not in a single parent household, many times the woman is not the better choice of the two parents but she is either “expected” to be the primary caretaker (because of stereotyping), or she just “is” the primary caretaker because her husband makes better money (better paying job or just makes more money cuz he’s a male).

    But on to my point: although I think it is great that the workforce began embracing women (albeit slowly) and that women were given the “go ahead” to get educated, get tough, and show the corporate world her stuff….society’s families and family values are crumbling. Our families are now taking on the sad shape that our politics have been. Does the woman’s adult skills and identity suffer just a tad bit (okay, a whole lot more than that) for a long while while devoting most (if not all) of her time, efforts, and everything else she can give to her children? YES!!! I’m living proof! But if ONE of the parents (mom or dad) doesn’t stay home full time for a good time of it to raise the kids, the kids suffer a whole heckuva lot more than the parent’s identity. Someone has to stay home if it is possible!!!!

    It sounds cold, but I stayed home not because I thought I’d ever win Mother of the Year, or because I had a gut feeling I’d be Mother Goose, and despite the fact that I am driven, self absorbed, and lacking in patience, but because this was a career change for me. I’d had these kids and I was going to experience them for myself as much as I could…just like I experienced all else I’d done (good and bad) before I had them. And, when they were older and I re-entered the workforce, gosh darn it all I’d just have to work twice as hard to reassemble myself, relearn, and hit the ground running! More work for me, better for my kids! And really, our greatest accomplishment is the type of citizens and parents we raise and guide our kids to be someday…we’ll never really be able to chart our success until they have kids of their own, but no one said good parenting would be easy! In fact, it’s the hardest damn there thing is, with the peaks and valleys of a solid, lasting, marriage being a close second.

    I am a Mom of two, pre-teen daughters. By now, I can’t stand myself! I’m a broken record, I’m always the bad guy, and no one listens to me! I’m not sure I listen to me anymore! But I’m hanging in there for the good fight – it’s my job like it or not. I believe in what I’m doing.

    I resent that whenever I talk about the pride I have for being a stay-at-home-Mom, working Moms around me immediately think I’m judging them and jump down my throat. I’m NOT Mother Goose! I’ve struggled with my self (old and new) ever since I had children, and question everything I was and am becoming. It’s hard! Maybe harder on me than it is for others, maybe not as hard for me as it is for others. I do not judge but I do not like being judged.

    I repeat: I’m torn. I am pro-life but do not ever want to see a woman’s right to choice to ever be taken from her, and I feel ALL men should abstain from this decision for obvious reasons. I think a parent should stay at home full time to raise the kids, but I do not ever want society to take the easy road and start forcing women out of careers and back into the kitchen. Personally, I strongly believe those women who “burned bras” years ago to earn rights that never should have been withheld from women in the first place left women in the lurch trying to unnaturally do it all. The kids are suffering because of this. Women are the ones that must figure it out because men are not women and can not be expected to understand us. Many, many men are just trying to figure out how to give us what we want so we’ll be happy, realize our full potential, take good care of their children, and love them like we once did before kids.

    I do know, from experience, that what is expected from women in the home is discrimination in public places or the workforce. All these “minorities” screaming prejudice and special handling…hello…I’m discriminated in one form or another on a daily basis just because I’m a woman! I deal and I don’t expect to be given a thing – I’m willing to work for the respect I know deserve – because I am a human being and because of my hard work!

    I don’t pretend to be a legislator, but I would like to see more women get educated, kick ass in the workforce, find love, experience motherhood, and stay at home while fighting from women’s rights and never stop being vocal to show local government, state government, national government and the school system that WE CARE and WE’RE getting mad!!! Women aren’t cupcakes – we’re people with brains and as we get older we get better and more unafraid to speak our minds!

    I guess I just spoke my mind, huh? Well, I guess it’s because I’ve been a stay-at-home-Mom for over 10 years and I can no longer even think about living with a one income household any longer, and I have to figure out who I am and how I am going to learn to live in a workforce that has gone on without me. My priorities have changed and I don’t know how to share those priorities with a future boss’ business interests. I admit to be quite frustrated.

    Just passionate, two cents in a world I feel is making decisions for me without knowing my potential, my passion, or my purpose. Thanks for listening, folks!

  16. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    If you are “constantly restructuring” your marriage in response to statistics, you sorely misunderstand the concept of statistics in general.

    You must take individual circumstances into account or you invalidate every assumption you present.

    You’re also coming off pretty defensive. You don’t have to defend your choices to anyone, but why the need to proselytize your lifestyle to others?

    I’ll do what works best for me and my own family, thanks.

  17. aleem ahmad
    aleem ahmad says:

    Islam teaches that a woman’s responsibility is to keep her husband happy, raise their children properly and run their home effectively. A man’s responsibility is to provide for his wife and home (within his means). This does not include gifts and luxury that would come anyway if the man was happy.
    An education today would help any woman perform these responsibilities better.
    If a woman can accomplish her basic mandate and still do a job, then there is no harm. Every woman has to decide herself whether she can fulfill her responsibilities, but she should not loose sight of what she is primarily required to do.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      so what if women work smart enough to have enough money that the family can have a house keeper who carefully takes care of everything?

  18. David Allgayer
    David Allgayer says:

    I have just had a major argument with my wife about this, which prompted me to look on the net about how the role of housewife is perceived by people in general. My wife is Japanese, I am German, and we currently live in London (very very expensive). I am a structural engineer and my company is about to cut salaries and working week, which means that if we are lucky I will make just enough to pay the rent (about £1200/month). I would like her to work because I think it is silly that I should be the one who works and her the one who stays at home in anticipation of having children.
    She expects me to work and herself to stay at home in anticipation of having children.

    Both of my parents always worked and we had a comfortable life thanks to that. My sister and I both went to university, could live in London without having to work, enjoyed going on holiday somewhere exotic during summer holidays. The life of spoiled brats basically. I got used to seeing my mother share the financial load equally and so I expect that my wife should do the same. Maybe not equally, but at least pick up some of it not that my salary is on the verge of being substantially reduced. I am also worried about paying for tuition fees later on, etc.

    On the other hand my wife sees her role in the typical Japanese way: I go to work and bring back enough money for us all to live and she takes care of the home. If I don’t earn enough then I should have two jobs.

    After reading all the comments here I am not sure what is right anymore. Am I being too demanding and excessively harsh? I thought marriage was about making life together. If one person can’t do all of it their partner helps out. Is there such a clear cut separation between male and female roles in a family?

    In some ways I wish it were possible to go back to the 1960s when everything was clearly defined. Nowadays it seems you are at a clear disadvantage when one one spouse is works: not enough money and people look down on you for being traditional…

    Apologies if I am rambling here, but my whole perspective on life just got upended. There is a clear rift between Japan and Europe.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      I think my husband feels similarly, often. I want to have the opportunity to stay home with my kids (or him if I make more money) because I have a preference for it.

      I’ve felt just like you when it comes to clearly defined everything!

      If she wants to stay home it doesn’t mean that she cannot make an income.

      With what little experience in the workplace she seems to have (and perhaps little education) she won’t get a good paying job anyway. So why not try to get her to start a business to manage from home?

      When she has kids you both will need even more money! So she can stay home and bring money in.

      This, I see, will be the best solution regarding statistics in the article.

      My solution won’t work out if she is still stuck in her Japanese cultural expectations.

      • David Allgayer
        David Allgayer says:

        Thanks for the comments karelys.
        Since I posted on this blog things have changed quite a bit for my wife and me. We both moved to Japan and my wife is pregnant now. That’s good change I’d say.

        The sad part is that in Japan life is not much better than in the UK. I am working at a Japanese company now and I can see why my wife, after having worked five years at a Japanese company before we got married, would not want to work anymore.

        Since my post I have also done some thinking and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter whether both parents work or not as long as the family is a happy one… of course money problems don’t contribute to making a happy environment, but when it comes to that I hope that my wife and I will find a compromise. It’s all down to communication in the end I guess :o)

  19. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Let me premise my comments by stating that I am a forty-three year old college educated woman. I have been happily married for nineteen years and am proud to be have chosen the title of “wife and mother”. I’ve always been happy because I live under the philosophy that “life is what you make of it”. I’ve also learned that “it’s not what you are dealt in life, but how you deal with it”. And as my grandmother taught her family well, “life is a book filled with many chapters, you don’t have to have it all or do it all in one”.

    As far as children go, if you are blessed enough to have them, then they have essentially been dealt to you. As long as they are in the “raising stage”, you have a moral obligation to do the best job of being parents as you possibly can with your given “hand”. I must say that I am sickened by the selfishness that exists in our current culture. Whether parents are holding down paying jobs outside of the home, or holding down the at-home job, too many of them are far too concerned with the judgement of others and let this affect their common sense. So many want to appear to be the “best” or “most successful”, thinking this will bring happiness. Many people that have given up on these titles for themselves try to pin the description to their children’s hats. The poor kids! Whether it’s the overachieving absent parents or the overscheduled future overachiever,it’s all too much!

    Modern parents need to slow down and learn self-satisfaction in giving and doing for others,the simple stuff, especially for their spouses and children.I’m glad that my family passed on this trait. Be happy if you are doing your best!

  20. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    This is a touchy subject for most. I understand that. However have you stopped and noticed the decline of values in this country?!! I am happily a stay at home mom. I know where I am needed most. Children don’t sit down at the table with their parents and talk about their day any more. They aren’t taught right from wrong. I’m not saying YOU. But you can’t tell me you haven’t seen those children and those parents at your local shopping center. It’s truly sad. I do want a full time career, but my children didnt ask to be here, and they shouldn’t be punished by not having and getting the attention they need.
    I am aware of when you tell someone “what you do” they immediately think you are lazy or can’t hold a job. I have a job, and it is certainly more rewarding than making money just to spend it. Maybe some need to step back and realize what’s really important. It’s not like you can take the $250k house with you when you pass, but you can leave behind happy well-adjusted children.

  21. Sue
    Sue says:

    I agree with your observations. I recently quit my job to raise my two children. With engineering / masters degree with solid job and income it was the hardest decision ever.

    I was raised to believe that women can do it all – marriage, career and great kids. Fact of the matter is we cant. Home cooked meals from scratch, clean house and well taken care of kids on top of a full time is not humanly possible. I became sick literally trying to juggle it all.

  22. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    Rather than sacrifice my potential and economic freedom, I’ve opted to just not have kids. Why make my relationship with my husband second to anything else?

    But most people do want to have children and most people want what’s best for them. In today’s economy, a dual-income household is almost necessary and definitely more secure. The solution to the puzzle of work/home is, in my mind, extended family. Both you and your lifemate surely have at least one retired parent/aunt/uncle/etc. who can babysit. The more people who are available to love and care for a child, the better. And it will help strengthen your family bonds! Where’s the downside to that?

  23. Patricia Vynchester
    Patricia Vynchester says:

    My man doesn’t care what I look like, heck he hardly really pays much attention when I dress up nice with make-up on and hair done. He doens’t care about that type of stuff at all. He likes when I do cook for him… At least I gained some points with my cooking and oral sex, because since I read Jacks Blowjob Guide ( http://www.howtogiveablowjobtips.net ) I'm pro ;) He will always despise my movie tastes as long as it includes a “chick flick” but for the most part we can agree on movies to watch…

  24. Bruce Tritton
    Bruce Tritton says:

    And for men, simply don’t get married and even more importantly, DO NOT have kids. Housewives or no, you WILL be screwed over, period.

  25. Lessie
    Lessie says:

    Smart article. I am an attractive woman, with a B.A., that I’m not so using, and would love help on how to meet a good man that would like a housewife. What dating sites. What social outings (as at many social places to try to meet someone the male prospects expect you to be social and working–a paradox of going out to try to meet a guy when you really want to ‘stay in, in the relationship’)?

    Your help is great.

  26. Hobbit
    Hobbit says:

    People advocating the stay at home wife forget to mention the depression and isolation that comes with it.
    women are the most social of humans, making them stay at home will cause serious depression mental illness and lead to obesity and other problems.
    do this: stay at home while all your friends are working and see how you deal with the isolation.
    men asking wives to stay at home just want to control them, and risk ending up with a seriously obese and mentally damaged wife

    • LiterateReader
      LiterateReader says:

      I doubt most men have the capacity to juggle the duties of a house wife like most women can. Have you ever thought that some of these men think so because they know can’t do a better job?

      If a house wife is too stupid to learn how to make her own social appointments with other house wives during the day or hang out with her friends after work, she is victimizing herself and has no one else to blame.

      The author is giving suggestions based on observations. Had you read the article more carefully you would realize that it is not necessary for the ‘housewife’ to be a woman if the man is willing; however, the odds of that is slim. The requirement is that someone is needed to fill that role, whether it be the husband, wife or a professional caregiver.

      Your sweeping general statements makes it quite clear that you have
      issues with male control and power, and make a poor argument.

    • Kitejones
      Kitejones says:

      I was a career oriented woman.  I gave up my job 3 years ago to raise my children- I do not regret my choice.  My husband and I were exhausted and hated life because of the exhaustion while I worked.  Our house was a mess, and we barely felt like having family time.  Now we spend more family time together and our family is closer than ever.  We don’t have the nicest clothes or have the greatest material things in life, but kids are only small once and I would hate to lose that time with my children.  I was depressed at first when staying at home because I am very social, but I had to get off my butt and find social networks.  There are a  lot of free networks.  Through those networks, I have a lot of playdates and exercise partners.  I am more fit than ever- I never had to time to work out when I was at work. My days of working were filled with getting kids ready, going to work,commute and then going to bed. I also trade afternoons off with other women so i can have kid-free time for myself.  I am not saying that women shouldn’t work.  I am saying that for my family, I had the opportunity to stay home and it works very well for us. 

    • Happy@Home
      Happy@Home says:

      Depression and isolation only happen if you want them to.  There are plenty of ways to maintain social skills and self esteam while raising your kids at home.  Play dates, running errands, or a scheduled Mom’s day off are all simple way for a woman to maintian her sense of self.  The thought that a man wanting his wife to stay home so he can control her is ludicris.  If he wanted to control her it would start way before child-bearing.  Then to also mention because a woman stays home she will end up obese?!? really do you think she will be sitting around eating bon bons and watching soaps? No more likely running around chasing kids and making sure her house is wonderful for her hard working man to return home.  I would like to mention that I have been blessed with the gift of a husband who can allow me to stay home with our 5 and 3 year old children.  I have a happy an fulfilling social life, and fit nicely into a size eight jean.  So your mis-guided stereotype is embarassing.   

  27. MiMi
    MiMi says:

    Great article,I understand what the author was trying to say. One thing I got from her article was sacrifice, I believe sometimes we forget that in order to build strong family relationships it takes sacrifice and what we sacrifice is dependent upon whats most important to us. I grew up with both parents having careers and somehow they managed to make it to everything i did from playing an instrument to competing in track meets, all after a hard days work. Now that I am married I cannot imagine having children and maintaining a career. I applaud all mothers who do.

  28. MiMi
    MiMi says:

    Great article,I understand what the author was trying to say. One thing I got from her article was sacrifice, I believe sometimes we forget that in order to build strong family relationships it takes sacrifice and what we sacrifice is dependent upon whats most important to us. I grew up with both parents having careers and somehow they managed to make it to everything i did from playing an instrument to competing in track meets, all after a hard days work. Now that I am married I cannot imagine having children and maintaining a career. I applaud all mothers who do.

  29. A
    A says:

    There is no right way, is there?

    As a 25 year old female, I would absolutely love to be a stay at home mom. I’m well-educated, and worked in marketing for a bit. I would much, much prefer to get married, work part-time at a beauty salon or a perfume shop, and otherwise take care of kids and a house.

    But its certainly a bind! Most men, even if thats what they want, are not able to support someone in this economy. And as someone who thinks it is important to marry for love, there are other factors involved as well. Not to mention the horrible potential for physical and emotional abuse.

    Making the decision to trust someone enough to subjugate career paths before marriage, and nowadays, even after marriage, seems like folly to me. And romance in this day and age is so fraught with difficulty as it is! We all have such high expectations in every aspect of our life, that it seems like something is going to not work, and certainly at some point.

    But really, working very hard for an advanced degree in something that I’m hoping to barely use? It seems like a waste of time and money, although very good insurance.

    Strange, strange times on planet earth.

  30. L
    L says:

    28 years youthful and await marriage. Gaining family and love is more compelling than my B.A. that I’d like to use in less stress environment.

    Ladies keep your heads up and I hope that you are fulfillied as I klnow being without and simply dreaming can hurt.

  31. Vic
    Vic says:

    What about a house husband? If it really needs full time work, so be it. It doesn’t have to be the woman.. any one saying it does is clinging too hard to outdated patriarchal ideals. Having said that I’m well aware that perhaps my labelling them as being outdated is premature, since there are at least two generations of men not-so-secretly longing for the return of the ‘good old days’.

  32. sahm
    sahm says:

    I stay at home, homeschooling my 4 children and doing “mom” stuff. My house is about 1200 sf and my husband makes about $32000 a year. I would be an exquisite employee for some company (& on days that the kids are tweaking and trashing my house I long for that) but nothing is static. This position I CHOOSE is my contribution to my kids well being. My 3 oldest are girls and it’s my job to prepare them for whatever they choose to do (my oldest proclaims she will never marry) with their lives. For me, this is best & I make it work. For many others who are willing to sacrifice political correctness this is best. For other folks, not so much. Life is full of trial and error. Don’t polarize your position and miss out on something that could enrich your life. Be open to change and then choose what’s best…for you. Just remember, nothing is perfect. :)

  33. Shelley greenaway
    Shelley greenaway says:

    what the?! is this article from stepford ?! NO WAY would i want to be a housewife or a baby machine!! i don’t care if i turn out to be a crazycat lady, perhaps it’s better that way then following love advice from 950’s , i’d rather be who i am, an abitious student with hopes of working in the field of VFX than be june cleaver!

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