Not so long ago, very few women had a position of high rank in the workplace; it is no longer the case. In fact, many successful companies are not only run by a woman, but owned.
Setting aside your opinion about whether a woman should choose a career over staying at home to rear the children, or a combination of the two, the point is that women have choices. The question is, should a woman, whether married or in a committed partnership make this critical decision on her own? No matter what she decides, it affects the entire family. There is an exception where a decision is dictated by circumstances.
A couple that I was acquainted with brought up the topic of the wife staying home or going to work; he went on to say that his wife had chosen to return to the workforce because she wanted a specific luxury vehicle, and without her returning to work, they could not afford it. He was obviously in disagreement with her decision, but felt he had no choice in the matter. In a nutshell, she chose to return to work in order to possess a luxury item. Some may disagree with her reason, in fact; even find it selfish and materialistic. None the less, he left it up to her to decide.
I always knew that I wanted to stay home if and when I had children; I was fortunate enough to find a man that agreed and made it possible for me to do so. Of course, this decision is not for everyone. I have known a few women who decided to stay home with the children because it was expected, not because they wanted to, and it was evident.
While others choose to return to work for a variety of reasons, one reason stands out: “It is too boring.” I am still trying to grasp that concept. In all of the years that I spent at home, “boring” never crept into my life. Perhaps it is what you make of it or a preconception.
Rant: The adorable little jokes about housewives sitting around eating bonbons, watching soap operas or Oprah all day is stale; stop it, please! Since the age of nineteen, I have not tuned into a soap opera, and I have not watched Oprah for years. As for the bonbons . . . I must admit that only recently, Tid Bits are on my dessert menu now and then. Moving on.
In my experience, I found women to be the most judgmental. When they asked me what I did, I naively replied, “I’m a housewife,” followed by an awkward pause. Is it such a complex notion that leaves them speechless? Why? The blank look on their face suggested that I had nothing to contribute to a conversation; I wouldn’t understand what they go through; we must not have anything common . . . Instead of being supportive, inquisitive, or at least silently judgmental, they turned and walked away. I found myself justifying my decision. Why, again?
Someone recently said to me, “You’re growing up” . . . now that I am devoting full time to my business. What was I before? Oh, just a housewife.
A decision made based on what is best for you is fine, if you live alone. What if a decision affecting you was made by your husband/wife/partner without first considering you?
Women in the workforce are here to stay; I am one of them. No matter what choices anyone makes, remember it is not yours to change, judge, comment (unless asked), or worst of all, make patronizing remarks.
Enjoy this 1950s vintage video, Attitudes Toward Working Women.
P.S. Thank you to the man that made it possible.