The Bride Who Was Groomed for a Career

Recently, a possibly tragic event took place: a highly educated young woman I know got married. Radiant in her delicate lace dress, full of joy and optimism about the future, this blushing bride was not yet aware of the reality of her situation: that she has been groomed through her many years of education to be, well, the groom – and this fact is very likely to cause friction for her and her family as she tries to achieve the deepest hopes and dreams of her heart.

On the heels of International Women’s Day, which celebrated all that feminism has achieved for women’s progress in society and the workplace, it seems that this young woman’s educational path is the modern girl’s dream. Whip-smart, she holds two degrees from Ivy League universities. She has had scholarships and fellowships in the best places and with the most renowned scholars. Just before her wedding she graduated from the most exclusive educational program in her chosen professional field and passed the state exams for her profession. Her career glistens ahead of her with sky-high potential. She could be the next big name in her field, even a Nobel laureate one day.

Only now, she has a husband, and should children come along…what happens then?

The story of this young woman is far from unique. Many women experience aspects of this story upon graduation from university and while beginning their careers, as I did eight years ago. Having graduated from Harvard Law School, passed the New York Bar and headed out to a major law firm to begin my career, I asked myself at 26 where my life was headed. I was not yet married, but I was beginning to realize that with my six-digit salary and two-digit workday hours, I was in a great position to be my future family’s financial provider, but not so much the actual wife and mother.

I wanted to get married and have children, and I deeply believed that children needed their mommies. On the other hand, I also had a great burden on my shoulders – the weight of my as-yet unfulfilled career “potential”. I wanted to put my expensive, extensive and exclusive education to “good use” and to make something of myself in the world, not just at home. In some ways I felt like Frodo carrying the Ring of Power – what will I do with this career potential of mine? Any high school dropout can stay at home with children – but a successful career is not easily achieved or thrown away.

This is a very difficult dilemma for many young women today. The higher women climb on the education ladder, the harder it is for many of them to get off the track. There are several reasons for this, including the years of invested sweat and money, as well as the deeply-held career goals that have been created over years of academic success, but which clash in reality with the role of a wife and mother.

These are not popular words, and many will surely take vehement issue with what I am writing here. There are so many examples of women who seem to “have it all” – substantial career success as well as seemingly functional and happy children and families. And so many women – and men – want to believe that women can be superheroes: CEOs and moms of five kids at the same time.

But now as a stay-at-home mom, I have come to a different conclusion. Caring for children, at least while they are small, is a full-time job, and creating and maintaining a family’s home, including the cooking, is no easy task either. Women have only two choices when it comes to these matters – do it themselves or get someone else to do it for them. There is a price to pay for getting others to do the work for you, and it’s not just financial. Much of the emotional price for outsourced childcare is paid by the children. As my husband remarked the other day, it’s funny how much they need us, since we don’t really need them (at least in the same way). When I hear my children crying “Mama”, I am glad that it is me – and not someone else -  who is there for them.

As I think about how I want to raise my little girl, there are things I want to do differently. When I was growing up, academic success and my future occupation were the focus of my world. I spent high school and university pondering what kind of job I wanted to get after university. Somehow, it was assumed that the role of wife and mother would eventually just coexist alongside my career ambitions. It was never clarified how this would work in practice.

I wish that as I was growing up, the role of wife and mother had been more fully present as a respectable and important option that also needs time and training, not just an afterthought that automatically tacks on to a career. Much of the skill set I acquired in university is not very useful in the home. Although I know how to write legal briefs, I wish I knew how to sew, play family songs on the piano and cook without a cookbook, and even that I was more familiar with caring for little ones and for a busy household. All the chores I was protected from in order to enable me to study as I was growing up – maybe I should have done them after all, including some babysitting. I want to give these experiences to my daughter, so that she will be better equipped not just for a career, but also for motherhood.

I even wish – and this is sure to get some hair frizzed – that it had been explained to me that a high-flying career does not go well with family life. Men and women really are different. When the man gets married, it is just a sweet step in the direction of all his life dreams. He can climb up the career ladder and still be a good father to his nine kids. He will get a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment from providing for his family.

But where feminism has confused women, it has made us dream that we are the same as men. Men are not mothers, and children don’t need them in the same way as they will inevitably need us. So if we want to have children, we can’t pretend to be men in our career plans and aspirations. Do we really want to have someone else caring for our homes and our children? It does not have to be that way. We need to embrace a model of life success that is less career-oriented and more family-centered. Giving of oneself to others, while it comes without diplomas, year-end bonuses and frequent-flyer miles, is just as worthy and important as building up one’s own career.

Lea Singh writes from Canada. 

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  • Ahawkins77

    I love this article. Its what I have been trying to teach my children all of their lives. As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a mom, but even though my own mother and grandmother were stay at home moms, they did not encourage such dreams for me. Instead they strongly encouraged me to choose a career, go to college and make something of myself. Though I started on that path, I quit college to become a stay at home mom once I got married and became pregnant with my first child. I remained a stay at home mom joyfully raising my six children against all the negative comments that would be uttered from the career oriented women in my life. I knew in my heart then as I know now that being a stay at home mom is the most important and hardest job you’ll ever love.

  • Claire

    God bless you for having the courage to say this, and for having the courage to set aside your original dreams for the important dream of raising your family.  I think there’s a lot to be said for a woman having an education and developing career skills.  But I also totally agree that choosing a path toward a high-powered career, that requires long hours and has no flexibility, does not mix well with motherhood.  Personally, I believe that raising children is a fulltime job even when they reach school-age.  If they attend school outside the home, they’re generally there for 6 hours/day, 180 days/year.  That still leaves a lot of time when they need a parent available.  I’m not saying that it is always inappropriate for a mother to work outside the home, but there is a lot to be said for pursuing a career that mixes well with family life (has flexibility, can be set aside temporarily, etc).

  • 911mom

    As a mom that routinely works 50-60 hour weeks and attempts to balance the needs of home and family I agree. It is a huge struggle and I know my children – even though they are teens now – need me more than ever and wish I could be home more. My schedule also causes some conflict with my hubby as he is taking on a more domestic role not really in his nature. I would love it if his job paid more so that I could work less and be home more often. I know the waters would be much smoother…and my home cleaner ;)  I often speak with my daughter about the impact of her future career choices on her future family.

  • Teresa

    Completely agree. However, the more common phenomenon today among faithful Catholic women is that we are groomed and prepared for marriage and unable to find a Catholic spouse. So we have to face the difficult situation of seeking a career when we do not feel called to it. Not to mention the intense mourning of ‘lost motherhood.’ I would like to see an article about this.

  • Michael

    I am sure that a man commenting on this may not be as interesting as a woman’s comment, but just to add my perspective…when my wife and I were first married we both had very successful careers.  As our first year progressed I realized how much she really hated her very well paying job and how much she wanted to be able to stay at home when children came along.  This was ironic considering how smart she is and how good at everything she is and what a perfect employee she will be and always has made.  She often fretted about how this might mean a substantial loss of income and in truth she was ashamed to own up to her desire to run a house and nurture a baby without distractions.  Finally God sent us our first son, we moved closer to family, she stopped working, I also took a pay cut and now times have never been harder BUT she has never been happier and all the stress about income remains but seems to be halved simply because she now has the time and ability to determine her own attitudes and be faithful to her own hopes.  She didn’t have that time before because it was consumed by the job.  I think she even likes me more. 
    When we enter an empty church we see a faint red light glimmer from somewhere near the tabernacle and we are reminded that Jesus is indeed there.  My wife’s work at home is like that light…I come home and see her work done, or her leisure enjoyed, and I am rewarded for my toils at a difficult and underpaying job because I know that she has complemented my attempts at loving through providing, with loving through disposal.  She has taken what she was given and used it to help the baby, and me and her. And she has improved our lot in ways that a provider can never have time to do, she has given me more energy for work, more inspiration for life and more call to be a better man than I thought was ever going to come my way.  Once a family member of mine called her my “domestic servant.”  I don’t think you can imagine my anger at that.  Perhaps I was wrong though; service is not bad; the Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God; my wife provides me greater rest from work and greater  hope for a good life…where would I be without these “services”? In the work camp we lived in before God gave us our son, that’s where. 
    I don’t think women understand that to certain men a lovingly run home is worth more sacrifice on the man’s part than his country, friends, siblings, society, and all.  She is just so important.  So important I can never describe it.

  • LovesBeingHome!

    I, too, was raised to be focused on the education/career path. When I married at age 34, I did not even know how to cook, save boiling water for pasta and jar sauce. Now, with three daughters, I am striving to ensure that they see that being a wife and mother is an awesome vacation for a woman. I do work part-time and make a respectable hourly rate, which shows them that women can also contribute financially to the family. We discuss many different ways that a wife/mother can stay home and still bring in some income if necessary, and how this can become the focus of their education. A good role model is the girls’ piano teacher who will be heading to college this fall to major in music education. She hopes to become a stay-at-home mother who will teach music from her home studio. That’s the kind of forward thinking I want for my girls!

  • LovesBeingHome!

    Vocation, not vacation!

  • Ahawkins77

    your mother did a wonderful job raising you!

  • Pargontwin

    Others will point out that “outsourcing child care” has been around for ages; look at all those upper-class families in Victorian England who had nannies to care for their children.  Well, I say, take a good, hard look at “Mary Poppins.”  Here you have the father with a career that had him away from home most of the day, and the mother who, in an era when wives did not work outside the home unless they were destitute, spent all her time involved with social activitism (she was a suffragette, remember.)  And the children were rebelling against their nannies to the point that the family couldn’t keep one for more than a week.  All they wanted was someone to actually care about them them, and the nannies weren’t filling the bill.

    Now let’s update this a little.  Daddy has his career.  Mommy has her career.  The kids spend their days either in school or in day care.  Dinner, in too many cases, is catch-as-catch-can, usually involving either takeout or some ready-made meal that they just throw in the microwave.  (Is it any wonder childhood obesity has become epidemic?)  There is no family life.  And the kids are rebelling.  They immerse themselves in their electronics, and they get into trouble at school because apparently nobody really cares there, either.  Today we call it “acting out,” and psychologists tell us it’s a clear cry for help.  But do we listen?  No; we just throw more surrogates at them, when what they really need is their parents.

    Now my mother was nobody’s role model.  But I look back at my own childhood, with all its problems, and I look at the life kids have today, and guess what?  At the end of the day, I had a better childhood than today’s kids have simply because, as imperfect as Mom was, SHE WAS THERE! 

    My upbringing was one in which, yes, education was stressed, the possibility of a career was always held before me, because you never knew what the future might hold.  There might not be a husband and family in any individual girl’s future, and she needs to be able to support herself when her parents are gone.  But at the same time, I had my household chores.  I cleaned, I helped Mom cook (by the time I was in high school, I was cooking the family’s meals myself), and at the tender age of eight, I was babysitting my brothers so Mom and Dad could have a “date night” once a week. 

    As it turned out, there was no husband in my future, and I was able to support myself.  And I had the skills to manage my budget, care for my home, and keep myself fed without eating takeout every night.  My point is, our girls need a balanced upbringing.  Give them that education, let them dream of a career, but always point out to them that they must also be ready to set that career aside for the good of their families.   Some women can keep both career and family, and their kids truly don’t feel any lack, because when their parents are home, they’re there for them.  But most can’t manage that stunt; they try, and their families eventually fall apart. 

    “Mary Poppins” was a cute movie, but it also had a very important lesson for us all.

  • Cel

    I loved the article and wished it had been written some 15 years ago. However, one thing not mentioned was the college debit while trying to obtain that degree and promise of a high paying job. Sadly, coming from family were an education is highly stressed, we taught our daughters to go to college and get a great education. Now our daughters straped with these loans, the promise of great careers and the potential to make great money have put their lives on hold because they do not want to bring that kind of stress into a marriage and family even though marriage and family is what they truly want.  

  • cmacri

    “Men and women really are different. When the man gets married, it is just a sweet step in the direction of all his life dreams. He can climb up the career ladder and still be a good father to his nine kids. He will get a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment from providing for his family.”

    I agree with a lot of the article, but, I don’t buy into this.  Yes there is a grain of truth, but climbing the corporate ladder may just mean long hours doing a lot of management garbage far removed from what the poor guy loves and actually went to school for.  Yes, families need to realize that the loss in salary from mom not working is a worthy tradeoff.  But they also have to realize that shorter hours and just letting dad stay technical or hands on instead of becoming middle management is also worth 20 or 30K a year less.

    Dad’s job is NOT fulfilling because he dreads going to work and hates not being able to be there mentally or physically for all the demands of a wife and nine kids.  And yet the family thinks they need their McMansion and new SUV….. because, well, you know, they have nine kids and NEED all that space and a NEW dependable car. 

    Of course not all families are like this, but I sure see a lot of families with a stay-at-home mom and a lot less than nine kids who are. 

     

  • drea916

    “Completely agree. However, the more common phenomenon today among faithful Catholic women is that we are groomed and prepared for marriage and unable to find a Catholic spouse. So we have to face the difficult situation of seeking a career when we do not feel called to it. Not to mention the intense mourning of ‘lost motherhood.’ I would like to see an article about this”

    AMEN!!!! That’s exactly my position. Every sentence in this comment is exactly my experience.

  • QuoVadisAnima

    Hearing your wife called your “domestic servant” must be kind of how Mother Teresa felt when people referred to her & her sisters as social workers. 

    It is insulting because the motivations for serving and the motivations for being a servant are as different as, well, God and mammon!

  • Missannccd

    Your questions are those we had — remember, 60s, women’s lib, bra-burning, fulfill your potential, have it all be earth mother at home and wonder woman at work. They lied then and they lie now. No you cannot have it all, any more than a man can, at least, and here is the kicker, not all at the same time.

    You have a much longer lifetime than your grandmothers did to live out all those dreams–and to discover which were only dreams and which could be reality. Yes you can still practice law or medicine, run a business, but not necessarily in the baby-boom years, but with technology part-timeing is much more feasible. Yes you might lose some of your edge if you take time off for raising a family, but you will find as my daughters are doing, even having fully accepted God’s plan for their fertility and family size, that you still have time for a 30 year career on another path. I am on my third.

    Ask the right question now and and every stage of your life: what does God want for me and what does He ask of me today, tomorrow and every day? The rest will fall into place.

  • Molly

    I too agree with you drea916, I’ve created a site to address some of the issues you’ve raised and will be writing more posts regarding ‘lost motherhood’ and the desire for a spouse. 

    http://singlecatholicgirl.com/thoughts/romans-818/

    Pax

  • Catholicwoman4ever

    Thank you for having the courage to post your article.  I very much think that God is calling Christian women to stand up for their families right now, but since it is against what seems to be the status quo, a lot of women are afraid to speak up.  

  • Catholic4ever

    Thank you, Michael, for providing a God inspired affirmation that so many women need right now to accept their genuine femininity in Christ.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raylan.alleman Raylan Alleman

    This is SO refreshing to hear from a young woman who has “seen the light” before it is too late.  Believe it or not, when I discuss this issue some women will actually ask why a man can work and still be a good dad while a mom can’t or shouldn’t.  We have a You Tube channel and website focused on this and related issues to try to address what is being said so little girls and young ladies can see through the lies of the feminist agenda.  Thank you for this article.  It is excellent. http://www.youtube.com/user/citadelcatholicmedia
    http://citadelcatholicmedia.com/

  • Susus4jesu

    Yep, that’s for sure.  Follow our nature and we will stay home with the kids – not that we CAN’T contribute to the world in other ways, it’s just the MOST important – our DESTINY.  And, I believe that SOON we will all know this most profoundly (oops, my mysticism is showing).

  • Christina M.

    Amen! I realized this while in the midst of my undergraduate, pre-med education, before it is too late. While a woman should acquire knowledge, she should not do so at the university.

  • Annie

    Having a good education and learning how to be independent and take care of yourself I think is important for everyone, especially in these times where spouses up and walk away with out notice. For women I believe that it is important to have the education and skill there if they ever need it. I think it is smart to teach that to our daughters. That gives them more options in their lives.

     I knew I always wanted to be a mother, but I was not going to go out and look for a husband just to have a child, so I was a little older when I got married. In the mean time I worked and complete 3 degrees. When I had my children I didn’t follow my career that would have paid me a three digit salary, but rather took a part time job paying me very little. When I was at work my children spent time with family and friends, giving them a broader base of people who cared about them and that they could count on in the future, or in a local Christian nursery school where they learn basic schooling and proper socialization. When they become old enough for real school we enrolled them in the Catholic school next to my work where they simply walked over after school. This gave me a good self esteem and socialization which I feel made me a better mother, but we could not have many of the frills other people had, which was fine for all of us.

    There are too many stay at home moms that become isolated and depressed. Everyone in my family contribute to the upkeep of our home, learning the every day tasks they will need as adult, like cooking, shopping for food, laundry, washing the cars or dogs. Every woman needs to find what is going to keep her going. If she tries to please someone else, she will never be happy and her kids will know it. Keeping the lines of communication with your children is very important. They need to be able to tell you that they need more of your time. You also need to communicate with your spouse discussing all the possibilities that might come up in your marriage and what you both agree on. Too many couple wait until they are in difficult situation with very hard decisions to make with no clue how the other feels.

  • Trillian

    Here’s my two cents (more like ten cents!): first of all,
    this is a classic example of a “first world problem”, and we really all need to
    get some perspective.  Most women our age
    have to worry about being raped or abused (worst case) or being controlled and
    completely powerless (best case).  I
    think too many of us privileged women fret over our choices, when really, the
    kids are going to be just fine either way. 
     Putting that aside, here are my
    thoughts.  I think the author’s main
    point is that we should make our daughters aware that career+family is not easy
    and that some people are not happy when they try to combine the two.  I think it’s fine to point that out, but I
    would hope that she presents a balanced case. 
    For example, some people are also unhappy if their ambitions go
    unfulfilled.  Some may also resent their
    husbands who are allowed to fulfill their ambitions while they sacrifice their
    own career.  Some husbands leave, leaving
    the housewife with little leverage when she has to be independent again.  I would hope that she tells her daughters all
    of these things, rather than making a biased case.  Another point is that not everyone is unhappy
    with the family+career choice.

    Some of the commenters here spout too many misconceptions
    about what life is like for kids of dual-career parents.  All kids are different, but I can say that
    mine don’t sit at daycare crying for me.  
    They love going there and sometimes they cry when I come to pick them
    up!  I reject the notion that Mom is
    always the better parent, as well. 
    Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes the Dad is better.  So why should it be the Mom that sacrifices
    the career?  Every family is
    different.  Also, the author assumes that
    outsourcing care is second-rate compared to Mom’s care.  I disagree with that notion.  I truly believe that my kids benefit from
    being “raised” by multiple adults.  My
    kids’ caregivers are like second moms to them, and I like that.  I can tell that they love my kids almost as
    much as I do. 

    That said, not all daycare centers are excellent.  Some have high teacher turnover rates, which is
    bad for the kids (my kids have had the same teachers for 3 years).  Some let the kids watch TV.  Some do not emphasize nutrition, growth,
    learning.  Some don’t have outdoor
    centers.   I think that low-income
    families might have to put their kids in places like this, which is
    unfortunate.  These families probably don’t
    have the choice for one of the parents to stay home, anyhow.  I think the article was more about Mom’s who
    actually have the choice to stay home. 
    If they can afford to stay home, they can probably also afford a nice
    daycare on dual-incomes.  So I would say
    that poor daycare doesn’t really apply in this situation.

    How do I feel about my life? 
    I am happy.  Happy parents means
    happy kids.  I really believe that.  If Mom’s unhappy and resentful, the kids are
    going to notice and I think they mimic the Mom’s feelings.  My kids are happy.  And smart. 
    And healthy.  I do have a flexible
    schedule, which helps.  I think some
    careers have longer hours than mine, and/or the hours all have to take place
    between 8am and 7pm.  I can leave at 5pm
    and then pick up work again after they go to bed.  That helps a lot.

    So again, the point is that everyone is different, every situation
    is different.  I would hate to see girls
    discouraged from a career just because it didn’t work for someone close to them.
     

  • Claire

     Trillian, yes, this is a first-world problem.  But that doesn’t necessarily equate trivial.  A trivial problem would be deciding where to get a manicure.  We are blessed that we have enough to eat and don’t have to live our lives in constant fear and danger, so that we can focus on making the best decisions we can for our families.  Maybe the kids would be okay whether or not mom works, or how much mom works, or how family-friendly her job is.  Maybe, maybe not.  That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want what’s best for our kids (and by best I don’t mean being able to take them to Disney World every year or buy them designer clothes). 

    In my previous comment, I made a point of saying that I believe in women pursuing education and developing marketable career skills, and I don’t make blanket statements about it being automatically preferable for mom to stay home.  That being said, I totally disagree with your comment about quality daycare being accessible to this demographic (people who can afford to stay home).  First of all, there are many women, like me, who barely can afford to stay home, and are doing it by the skin of our teeth.  Former colleagues of mine who earn comparable incomes to what I earned when I worked fulltime (and their husbands earn far more than my husband does, making their combined income much higher than what my household’s would be if I still worked fulltime), have encountered one daycare disaster after another.  I’m really glad that you found a good, quality affordable daycare for your kids.  Unfortunately, this is not the reality for everyone, even people who can afford it and who take pains to find good daycare.

    As far as fathers being equally good caregivers:  I agree with this.  In some situations, fathers can be just as good if not better primary caregivers.  I worked fulltime from the time my son was 3 months old till he was 18 months old;  at that time my husband worked a part-time schedule opposite mine, so he was my son’s primary caregiver.  (Since then, we have flip-flopped where he now works fulltime and I work part-time opposite his schedule.)  He did a great job caring for our son.  But I’m still thankful that we were able to reverse our situation once my son entered toddlerhood (selfishly, I would have preferred to have flipflopped it a lot sooner, since it broke my heart to have to miss so much of my son’s infancy, but since my salary is much higher than my husband’s, it took us a while to be able to swing having me home most of the time).  Now that my son is older, it is easier for me as the mother to coordinate playdates with other mothers and other things that would be awkward for my husband as the token stay-at-home dad.  When he was home, we tried to no avail to connect with other stay-at-home fathers.  I suspect this would have been easier in a metropolitan area, but in our area it just doesn’t work.

    I agree that every family is different and there is no one-size-fits all answer.  But I do think it’s good for women to consider a family-friendly career when planning their higher education.  Whether it’s hormones, gender differences (whether innate or cultural), or something else, women do seem to be more prone to feeling torn between work and home.  Not always, but much of the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raylan.alleman Raylan Alleman

    Tribute to the Singh’s  God bless you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI_fxmCBeX8 

  • Fran

    I don’t think the goal of feminisim was to make women think they are men.  I think its goal was equality…meaning that among other things, men need to assume some of the responsibilities delegated to women to allow for equal partnerships as well as opportunities.  You said yourself:”When a man gets married, it is a step in the direction of all his life dreams”;  (however, in most cases, I am sure that does not include staying home to raise children while putting his career on hold)….we need to move in that direction and indeed we have to a certain degree…no one should have it all or be made to give it all up……compromise is key and until society is invested in making that happen it will still be up to us women to insist on it at home as well as in school and  the workplace.

    Frances

  • AnnaMarie53

    Thanks for sharing with the rest of us women your wonderful story.  I wish I had been able to stay home with my sons full-time when they were growing up.  So, I did the next best thing; I twisted myself inside out to make sure I worked in such a way as to be with my boys from the time they got out of school until they went to sleep.  I found they needed me even more when they went to high school, and because I was one of the few women of my generation who welcomed all children/teens into our home, I managed to semi-raise approximately 25-30 other young men in addition to my own and loved every minute of it!  I found out, though, to my sorrow, when our sons graduated from college and I had gotten chronically ill, that my husband felt it was his time to be “happy” and left me.  All that time I believed I had a seriously Catholic husband, only to discover such wasn’t the case and I am now having to re-boot my career skills as best I can while coping with illness. 
    Let us be encouraging to our daughters to be mothers full time but to keep a weather-eye to the possibility that they may one day have to take care of themselves.  I pray they do not, but it is ever harder, thanks to our society and the likes of the “femiNazis” that men will decide they no longer want to provide for them in their old age.

  • SingleGirl

     Exactly my thoughts! I feel Catholic families and communities put too much pressure on a girl to become a wife and mother – and that is a calling that depends on another person’s willingness as well. I would love to see more attention paid to women who are working (and yes, having successful careers – is there something wrong with working hard and putting your heart into it?) and feel they ‘should be’ getting married or having children, but yet haven’t met the right man.

  • annie

    That must be the area you are from. Being born and raised Catholic, gong to Catholic school for 13 years, and working at a Catholic school the last 20 years I have never felt the pressure to settle down and raise children. As the youngest of 5 children raise by a stay at home mother, we were given a great eduacation to use how we saw fit for our individual lives. Our parents never raised me to have the same lives as my sisters or telling my brothrers to go out find wives who would do the same. I have a sister who has always been the bread winner, a sister that stayed at home, and I myself work part time at the Catholic high school next to my children’s grade school. I would definately say I have the best situation as I can be there for my children yet show them that I have skills I can utilize in the world and build on if, God forbid my husband died; something my sister that stayed home lost after college.

    Every family, every situation is different. We all need to pray and ask God for the guidence to lead us to the best place for ourselves and for our families, but in no way is that going to be the same for every woman. Open communication and suppport amoung spouces is also very key to creating a happy family and teaching aour children the strenghth of whatever situation is at hand. Then we must listen to our childrern if things may need to be altered.

  • annie

    No, WE don’t need to move in that direction. Those decisions need to be made by 2 responsible adults who are deciding to get married. This is not a blanket requirement for society, it is something that 2 mature individuals need to completely discuss before the thought of marriage enters their mind. I knew what I wanted and was willing to take on long before I got serious about a man. That meant ending some relationships much sooner than others.  I did not want to be the main bread winner of the family, but I was willing to wash the cars, do the yard work, fix things, etc. so that my husband could come home and relax after a tense day; that was as long as I got to watch all the sports I wanted on the weekends. I have never been willing to travel with his parents, yet I am OK with him taking the kids and going with his parent on a trip without me for a week.

    This is all about what 2 people agree on BEFORE they get married, something that is not discussed enough, even in Catholic marriage prep. Every marriage is different and as long as the lines of communication are always open and honest, no matter how hard, between spouses and their children, so much positive can be accomplished for all.

  • Mo86

    Well said, and very needed.

    One of the saddest things to see are daycare centers filled with very young children. some are there as early as 7:00 in the morning and as late as 6 or 7 at night.

    Why go bear children if you’re going to pay someone else to raise them?

  • Mo86

    However, I also need to add that my view is that fathers need to be more involved in raising their children and taking responsibility for the home upkeep. I know that’s not always workable in a world where the workday/week is structured (time wise) the way it is. But I am not one who believes that women are supposed to do nearly all the work, while all the man has to do is go to work, come home, read the kids a bedtime story and put them to bed.

    Both live in the house. Both need to do things like clean, cook, do dishes, laundry, and all the rest. This attitude that such things are women’s work is nonsense. Single women who work full time and live alone do all these things, and so do single men who live alone! Of course if the woman is home all day with the kids, more chores may fall to her. But it shouldn’t be all of them, and all the time.

    There’s no such thing as “women’s work” and “men’s work” in the home. Whoever’s got the ability, whoever is there, needs to do it. That’s how I grew up. My father did and still does everything from cooking to cleaning to child care! And that was on top of working full time in a factory for 25 years. If anyone could’ve have the excuse of “I’m too tired.” it would have been him. But he didn’t.

    Men and women both need to grow up, and step up to their responsibilities in this area. If you don’t want to, then don’t get married and don’t have children.

  • Andrealeal00

    Well said!!!

  • Single female engineer

    Ah, but finding a suitable spouse is work in and of itself.  If we’re so tied up in our job and other activities, when do we have time to meet men?  I also think that as many women have become more educated, they also seem to be more picky about who they consider a suitable spouse.

    And personally, I’ve found that my feeling that I “should be” getting married is really my true vocation calling me – and it’s not my career that’s my vocation.

  • Jean Simmons

    You say some good things, but I don’t identify with being “protected” from chores. My mom gave us kids plenty of chores so we’d know how to take care of a house and my grandma taught me how to sew. I wonder how typical your experience actually is. (I never aspired to a high-powered career either…) But if you feel you missed out, this book is really helpful for anything to do with housekeeping: 
    http://www.amazon.com/Home-Comforts-Science-Keeping-House/dp/0743272862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341930676&sr=8-1&keywords=home+comforts

    I consult it any time I’m not sure how to do something around the house, and it has more than most people would ever want to know on the subject of keeping a house. 

  • Jean

    And could you please delete my comment? I didn’t want my name on here and it won’t let me delete it myself.

  • Jean

    You say some good things, but I don’t identify with being “protected” from chores. My mom gave us kids plenty of chores so we’d know how to take care of a house and my grandma taught me how to sew. I wonder how typical your experience actually is. (I never aspired to a high-powered career either…) But if you feel you missed out, this book is really helpful for anything to do with housekeeping: http://www.amazon.com/Home-Com…
    I consult it any time I’m not sure how to do something around the house, and it has more than most people would ever want to know on the subject of keeping a house. 

  • lorbalorba

    With no husband in your future, your skills made you able to support yourself. 

    Should boys not also be given the opportunity to learn the same skills?

    I was raised by a mother and father who both had busy careers they were passionately involved in. They were both heavily involved in our local parish, and are still involved in our local marriage preparation program. They are a beautiful example of the vocation of marriage, and never once did I feel that my childhood lacked because my mother worked. 

    For 25 years I have watched my parents work as a team to raise my sisters and I. My dad is an excellent cook and took turns with my mum to make dinner. He always made my lunch for school, knows how to use the washing machine and taught me how to mow the lawn. Had there been any boys in my family, I am 100% positive my mother would have taught them to cook when she taught my sisters and me.
    Is marriage not a partnership? Why should I be learning to be a “wife” if there is not a man out there who considers learning to cook as part of his “training” to be a husband?

  • Nyereven

    This is really interesting to read just now, as this has been weighing on my mind for some time. I am in my second year of graduate study in clinical psychology and have also just gotten married this year. Growing up, I never saw marriage/children as a big part of my future…. until I met my now-husband. Now I am thrilled to be married and cannot wait until we have children together. However, that being said, I am really struggling to see how that reconciles with grad school, as both are full time commitments. I’m wishing I had thought this through more, because I am not seeing how I can practically make it work. My husband has so far followed his drive into youth ministry, but that isn’t a position that can really be a living income for a family. We had always just assumed that the income I would make after getting my Ph.D. would support us. Now I’m just questioning/struggling with that goal, as I am more and more feeling that that isn’t something that will work around taking care of a family, and that once I have children, my place is taking care of them. Just interesting to read this as we are wrestling with these questions and issues right now….

  • BillyHW

     Bravo!

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