A Traditional Marriage? Blasphemy!
Can you believe it? I intentionally married my husband when I knew that he would some day want a traditional marriage, for me to stay at home with the kids and have dinner on the table when he walked in the door. What’s more shocking? I did this despite my horrible cooking skills and complete lack of knowledge on child care. But still, for some reason, I married a traditional man, on purpose!
But, How Could I?
So, what possessed me to do such a thing? Well for starters, I love the crap out of him, obviously. But besides that, I have to be honest, I kind of think being a homemaker is awesome.
I grew up in a very different type of home than my husband. My parents had me very young and had to work and go to school. They are amazing parents and gave me tons of attention. I just didn’t have the mom who cooked elaborate meals for dinner every night and attended every PTO meeting at school, at least not when I was very young. Later, when I Was about 10, my mom stayed home for a couple of years. I remember those years very fondly. Things were just less stressful than when both parents were running around all the time (plus the food was amazing!)
Now, here’s the kicker. As a kid, my parents focused on making sure that would grow up to be a strong, confident woman. They raised me to believe that I could be anything I wanted to. Later when I started dating, they made sure I knew that no man should stand in my way. A traditional marriage just wasn’t something I ever envisioned for myself. My mom was also an extremely good female role model. Despite dropping out of high school and having a baby, she later became one of the top doctors in her speciality.
So, I spent my early adult years trying to make something of myself. While I wanted to be just like my mother, I wasn’t exactly a “science” person so I studied various areas of art and design only to end up with a mountain of debt and no degree. Eventually, I found myself working in Human Resources doing company training and education. I discovered that I liked making things easier for people, and essentially, taking care of them. Money didn’t matter nearly as much as hearing how much I made someone’s day easier or better yet, brightened their outlook with my optimistic personality.
Pre-parenthood, when we both worked, things were relatively equal. My husband and I shared the workload at home, but his preference was always that I do the cooking and cleaning. Initially, I took offense to this and constantly reminded him that I worked just as much as him. Over time, I began to realize that it wasn’t about equal responsibility, or even the tasks themselves. My husband wanted me to take care of him. He grew up with his mom doing all of those things for his dad and for the kids, and it made him feel loved and cared for. As we evolved in our marriage, I realized that I wanted to be that for him. When he felt well taken care of, I felt a great sense of pride.
Still, I was very dedicated to my career and received constant praise at work. My husband wasn’t the best at showing appreciation so it was difficult to focus on being the wife I wanted to be. While I started taking on more of a traditional female role at home, we often argued about it. Rarely did I feel the pride I was aiming for.
Baby Makes Three
About a year into our marriage, we decided to try for a baby. During pregnancy, we decided that we both wanted me to become a stay at home mom. Suddenly the career I loved so much felt to me like a threat on the time I would have with my son. I realized that as hard as it was to provide the type of home life we wanted for just my husband, adding a baby into the mix was going to make it next to impossible. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having someone else raising our son 55 hours a week. In order to make this possible, we also moved from Arizona to New Hampshire (near my parents) so that my husband could take a higher paying job and I could have the support of my parents as a new mom.
I can’t even begin to explain how big of a challenge this endeavor was for us. We initially moved in with my parents and my husband took the first decent job he could get, Just to get settled and gain some income. The job was terrible and required overnight shifts and on-call evenings and weekends. Meanwhile, living with my parents proved to be hard on our relationship and the lack of social interaction with friends, who all lived in Arizona, took a toll on us. Our marriage struggled and I was certainly not able to fulfill the wife and mother role we intended without being in our own home.
Eventually my husband found a new job with better pay and normal work hours. It’s not a job he enjoys, but it did put us in the position to get our own place and finally start settling in. I began to focus on the skills I needed as a homemaker. Life was filled with failed dinner attempts, “fussy baby days” where it felt like I accomplished nothing (which my husband so lovingly validated) and some serious financial concerns due to a single income. But, little by little, I began to get better at running the home, and my husbands appreciation slowly grew.
So here we are, nearly three years into our marriage and one year into parenting, and we are finally starting to get somewhere. My skills as a homemaker have greatly improved, including the ability to find ways to get things done with a baby on my hip. My husband still doesn’t like his job, but he is happy that when he comes home everything is in order and the focus is on family time. Our marriage is growing stronger with every financial frustration we overcome and every emotional issue we address. I feel a sense of pride in maintaining the home and raising our son to the best of my ability. My husband fees a sense of pride in knowing that he is the sole provider and works hard to support our family. We have a long way to go, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I may not be the career woman I once thought I should be. Perhaps some might think I am capable of more than the role of Susie Homemaker. This traditional marriage is the life I chose and after actually living it, I can’t believe I ever thought that a high level career would give me more value or self-worth. So, while I feel it is important to fight for women to have the same rights as men, I also want women to have the right to choose a traditional lifestyle and not be criticized. I certainly wouldn’t criticize working moms, whether they made the decision out of necessity or want. Mommas, make the choice that works best for you and your family, and don’t let anyone change your mind.
New to the world of homemaking? The Good Housekeeping Cookbook has been essential to my kitchen success. This is the bridal edition given to me as a wedding gift from my mother-in-law, but any edition will do. It outlines every detail of cooking from the names of all the different kinds of pots and pans, to every cooking term you could imagine. Obviously there are some great recipes in here as well.
Now, back to my soap operas and BonBons…
Speaking of BonBons – Want to follow me on my weight loss journey? Check out My 16 Week Weight Loss Plan.