Happy Wife, Happy Life
Years ago, I went on a date and this guy told me that he expected his future wife to quit her job to raise their children. I almost responded, "We can just end this date right here because this isn't going to work out". When I look back to that time period, every male colleague I knew had a wife that stayed at home with their kids. This was the expectation: go to college, get married, get pregnant, have a child, quit your job. Fast forward ten years later and I feel like the antiquated mindsets of some male professionals still ring through the halls of even the most advanced corporations.
I have great friends who have chosen the stay-at-home mom (SAHM) life. They are phenomenal moms, great at managing multiple children of all different ages, and I am honest with myself to admit that I am sometimes jealous of them. I am jealous because they get to spend all day with their kids. I am jealous because they master the SAHM life with such ease. I am jealous because I know I could never live up to their motherly successes. I could never be as good at mastering the SAHM life. And then I realize that I am great at other things.
I am great at managing large teams. I am empathetic, strong-willed, resilient, and persistent. I strive to make each individual on my team the best employee they could be. I work hard to do a great job and I do my best to demonstrate my value to my company. I do my best to end work at a decent hour so I can spend quality time with my family. I love my husband and son dearly. I do all of these things for my family, but also for myself - and that's ok. Why? Because I need to be true to myself and my needs. I'd like to think that most days I am great at it, but there are a lot of days that I fail - and that's also ok.
It has taken me a long time, but I have come to realize that the best thing I can do for my family is to get up every morning and rock the Boss Mom life, no matter how many people look down on me for it. I have a strong, masculine husband who supports me in my endeavors and he often jokes, "Happy wife, happy life" (but that doesn't mean we put his needs on the backburner). So I raise the following questions to you: Why is it our first reaction to ask a woman if she is going to quit her job when she announces her pregnancy? Why are we not celebrating women for recognizing their personal needs and allowing themselves to honor them? Why is it frowned upon for women to embrace a rewarding career and climb the success ladder?
Society has taught us that it is ok for a man to achieve great things outside the home and that women achieve great things in the home. It is tolerable for him to stay late at the office and take lengthy business trips. It's ok for him to miss Tuesday soccer games and Friday night plays. We have never faulted a man for choosing to pursue a life of success; but we have never praised a woman for recognizing her strengths and needs and staying true to them.
My advice to any woman is to stay true to herself. Whether you decide to marry and have children, or own twenty cats, or pursue the Auntie life, or have a husband who stays at home to raise the children while you go to work, you do you. You figure out what's best for you and your family and pursue that path. Don't let anyone fault you for the choices that you make.