Role Reversal

I am a stay at home mom. For many people, that simple statement conjures up their own vision of who I am and what I do. Generally speaking, the idea of a 1950’s housewife pops into their head. I know this based on comments made by some of my husband’s coworkers and relatives over the years. It’s true that my husband goes off to work and that I stay at home….or not, depending on where our unschooling journeys take us. However, that is where any similarity ends.

Photo by fishermansdaughter (Flickr)

I don’t stay home because it is expected of me. That would be a joke in this day and age where most families are dual income. Neither do I stay home because I lack education or knowledge. I am an intelligent woman and happen to possess multiple degrees. It is my choice to stay home with my children.

Before my husband and I were married, we discussed how we would raise our future, and hopeful, children. It was important to both of us to have a parent stay home with the kids. While we didn’t know how it would look at the time, we also knew we wanted to homeschool.
I stay at home with my children, but I am not the stereotypical little woman supporting her husband as he goes off to work in the world. That isn’t to say that I am unsupportive of him, but the focus in that scenario is all wrong for our family. Our focus is on raising our children the way we believe is best for our family. In that endeavor, my husband plays the supporting role by working outside the home, enabling us to have a parent at home with the kids and making our unschooling lifestyle easier.
When all is said and done, my husband and I remain partners, working toward our collective goal of raising our children and enjoying life together.

7 thoughts on “Role Reversal

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  1. Hi! I really enjoyed reading this post. I could have written it myself, lol…

    We have 2 boys, ages 11 and 6, and I have been staying at home since the birth of my second. But even before that, my husband and I worked it out so one of us was always home. I worked during the day and he worked at night.

    When people we don’t know ask about our home life, they often ask questions that makes me think they have a very June Cleaver-ish image in their head. It’s funny to explain to them that I can’t cook and would gladly hire out my housework if we could afford it, lol.

    I liked your statement that staying home was something you chose. We made a decision, and sacrificed quite a lot to give up that second income, so I could. We have never done anything because that’s what we were “supposed” to do. 🙂

    Again, I enjoyed reading your post and I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Transitioning two boys, ages 11 and 6, from “school-at-home” homeschooling to unschooling… and enjoying the results (and the sanity it has seemed to restore) so far!

  2. staying at home is a perfectly respectable choice, but why diss women in the 50s? did they lack information and knowledge? many went to college but then didn’t use their degree, just like you. (the ol’ “MRS” degree)

    didn’t they make a choice? were they not partners with their husbands?

    if you feel people are pigeonholing you, i get that, but why pigeonhole other women in response? if being a partner with your spouse, staying home, and raising your children is a choice to be honored, shouldn’t they be honored as well?

    1. I would agree whole-heartedly with you, had I said anything derogatory about women staying home in the 1950s or of the women themselves. However, I didn’t. The only mention of women in the 1950s was that some people conjure that stereotype when they think of what I do – a time when it was acceptable for women to stay at home, and dare I say, expected in most cases. Some of the women during that time did make choices concerning how to live their lives, but for the vast majority, that wasn’t so. While today women only make, on average, 77% of the salary of their male coworkers, that disparagy was even greater half a century ago, with many jobs being blocked entirely from women. There is a reason their has been a suffragist movement. I agree that the women who have come before us should be honored. I very much honor my mother and grandmothers – strong, intelligent women who did not have the opportunities I have had, merely due to their gender. It’s because of such women that I have a choice in how I raise my family.

  3. i think we feel the exact same way about this. unfortunately these statements:

    “I don’t stay home because it is expected of me. That would be a joke in this day and age where most families are dual income. Neither do I stay home because I lack education or knowledge. I am an intelligent woman and happen to possess multiple degrees. It is my choice to stay home with my children.”

    make it sound like you are saying the opposite was true of women in the 50s. agree with you re: general societal expectations, but still not *all* women made their choice due to those societal expectations. they didn’t all lack education and knowledge. many of them were intelligent; some possessed college degrees.

    i just think we women need to stick together. 😉

    1. Ah, I see. That paragraph was commentary on reasons people have given for why I stay home, not based on anything I feel about women of previous generations. 😉 Also, I would never equate intelligence with degrees. While it’s true that I am both intelligent and happen to possess multiple degrees, I am an unschooler at heart. Degrees, regardless of the number, subject, or lofty expectations, do not bely education. Learning happens all around us and is best achieved by those who seek it. My mother was a very intelligent woman, despite being told that she couldn’t go to college because she was female. I feel her strength constantly by how she raised us and her conviction that none of her children be limited by their gender.

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