Recently, I was at home drowning my waistline in chocolate chip cookies and watching a marathon of Good Times. In one particular episode, Willona receives a marriage proposal from the man of her dreams. She is, of course, elated and wants to begin planning immediately, but there’s just one small catch: She has to quit her job.
See, her new fiancée is making serious dollars (for those days anyway) and doesn’t want any wife of his working. He begins coming to her job, where she’s worked her way up from stock girl to head buyer, and begins trying to get her fired. Once he realizes how upset it’s making her, he devises a new plan; he buys the shop for Willona under the pretense of her being in charge. He still expects her to be a stay-at-home wife and have someone else to the actual running of the place. Strong-willed Willona isn’t having that jive and gives him a good talking to about how she’s worked hard to get where she is and ain’t nobody taking it all away.
Watching that episode got me thinking of how, even though so much has changed, several things haven’t. There are still men out there who expect their women to give up working and parts of themselves once they become wives. Even though over the decades women have made great strides becoming more educated and successful in the workplace and have managed to juggle both personal and professional duties with some ease, none of that seems to matter (at least to some men) when it comes to “traditional” views of what marriage and a woman’s “role” should be. I myself know men who still won’t date a woman who makes more money than them and others who feel just like Willona’s beau and want their successful, educated, driven women to drop everything to become a stay at home mom as soon as the diamond touches their finger.
Now don’t get me wrong, stay at home mothers are probably the hardest working women on the planet. It’s no small task to have one baby on your breast, one you have to chase around to get dressed for school, a house that needs cleaning, bills that need to be paid, dinner that needs to be cooked (or ordered) a husband that needs sexin’ and an entire household that needs love, attention, nurturing, guidance and support. However, I just can’t see that being my entire existence. Even if I only did it until they were in high school or off at college, that’s a LOT of years to have to push my passions to the back burner. I know when you become a Mrs. and a mommy you make certain sacrifices, but I believe that if you’re not living your best life individually, you can’t give your best to your family. How can I give my all to them when I’m secretly depressed over dreams deferred?
I have a list of things that I want to accomplish or at least attempt to accomplish before my short time on this Earth is up and as much as I’ll love my future husband I love me more and I just can’t sacrifice who I am just to please him and his ego. Any man that decides they want me as a Mrs. will know that I’m an independent person and would never even raise an ultimatum like that. He will support my goals and will want me to be a happy and complete person, not just his wife and should I choose to become a stay at home wife, he will support that too because he knows that the decision is one that makes me happy. So I stand with Willona, strong, independent and willingly working for “the man”, not because someone else says so, but because we say it is so.
Would you quit your job to stay home if your man asked? What would you do if your working could end your marriage before it even starts? Do you think it’s better to be a stay at home wife/mother or a working mother?