Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Good Wife

If I had read this when I was a teenager-or maybe even in my early 20's, I would have been offended. I remember thinking being a housewife was not something to aspire to. I was going to take the world by storm-you know, run companies, kick butt, take names, etc.....

And naturally, here I am 20 years later, thinking-I would do just about everything on that list if it meant I could quit my job and raise my own kids. In the beginning, it seems that men took care of women and women took care of men-we just each had our roles. As society evolved from the hunter/gatherer phase, men became the breadwinners and women the homemakers. It always had a bit of a condescending feel to it-like the breadwinner was the superior one. As if the one who earned a living was the only one with the capacity to think for himself. Maybe that's just our culture where money rules our world. Or maybe it was just my perception-I had a father from the middle east (Iran) and a mother from the deep south (Arkansas). In any case, I always thought financial independence would keep be a great thing. It was total independence from men. No man could mistreat me.

Then I got married, and some 18 years later, I am finally realizing that he is not going to mistreat me. My husband (though he does get on my nerves) is a very good man. He is kind and fair. He is not perfect but he is my partner, and just like it has always been intended, we are supposed to take care of each other. I never needed to ensure independence. I think I was just worried I would be in my mom's shoes but I am not. And largely thanks to her I am not. I am educated, and I picked someone from my own culture who does not degrade women or treat me like I am inferior. I guess growing up with an example like that than made me think that's just how it was. But it's not.

Then I got in the workforce. At first, when I had tons of time and no money, it seemed reasonable to work my butt off-I had nothing else to do, and I thought I could really ascend that way. Eventually though, the work force became I place I didn't like anymore. It was a combination of events: I had babies and my industry completely fell apart (mortgage-that which must not be named). The two together made me realize I wasn't really living out a dream-it was a nightmare actually. However, the dual income lifestyle has sucked us in, and we now have a house and two cars and kids in a private Christian school. Being able to stay at home has not been a viable option. I do long for the day it is.

The problem with working outside the home, is that all of those things on the list of the Good Wife article are still somewhat expected of moms/wives. Our roles there have not changed that much. My husband wants his meals cooked, his house orderly, his kids taken care of, etc. The only difference is that I work-well, and of course, it's not the set of "Father Knows Best" either. Some of that crap was just ridiculous. Honestly-put a bow in your hair and freshen your make up? But the overall role is still overwhelming as the woman of the house. I never feel like I am on top of things, I miss out on tons of time with my kids. I HATE my job. I am thankful my mom and mother in law have watched my kids all these years so they have been able to stay at home while their parents are at work. It has enabled us to give them a very privileged life. Still, if I could do it again (and who doesn't have a HUGE list of these); I wish I would have had to forsight to know what I did not know then!


  1. Yes, don't we all--wish, and have lists!!

    These are our hard questions, and you ask them seriously. I have no answers, just wanted you to know that i read and feel the same and wish for my now-grown daughters a better path than I trod.

    May each step we take lead the way to Peace.

  2. Don't short change yourself sis ... you've been an amazing mom and wife! I hope one day you can find a way to make the income situation work out so you can work full time as a fitness instructor...that would make you so happy!