highly educated women should quit their jobs in order to guide and “sculpt” their husbands to professional triumphs (that he might not be able to achieve on his own), and that women should constantly “celebrate his attempts as well as his victories” as their full-time gig.
Colour me surprised, but I’m with AskSam* in questioning whether this is really a good thing. I don’t have a subscription to Madison magazine so I can only assume that it is real, not a tongue in cheek article. I’d love someone to prove me wrong – about the article that is. I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking this is a bad idea.
Of course there is a book out about it: “Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman’s Guide to Having It All” authored by Megan Basham (haven’t read it, probably won’t)
Basham cites studies that conclude that relationships actually thrive when the bloke sees himself as the breadwinner, despite his university-educated wife having the ability to make more dough than him. Basham also says that if women do follow her advice to quit their careers and focus their skills solely on her man’s career ambitions, that these men will go on to earn a staggering 31 per cent more than if their wives focused on careers of their own.
Wow, 31% more. I wonder if their wives wages are more than 31% of theirs? That, of course, isn’t taking into account their wives well being, mental health, sense of job satisfaction, social networking, friends, your own money or any of the other benefits you can get from working. It also assumes that you are married to a man so thankful and devoted to you that he won’t ditch you for a younger model once you start to age a little or just take you for granted and expect to be treated like a prince. I’m not saying that this is a bad idea for every woman, but I don’t think it is a good idea for every woman either. Of course if you are outside the het/cis paradigm or not “highly educated” or are in any way unable to “sculpt your man to professional triumphs” because of a lack of spoons apparently you don’t need to worry.
[Warning anecdata] In my personal experience I just got bitter and felt like I was wasting myself and my talents (and my modest nature obviously!). Sure I can iron a basket of shirts while watching Oprah and I do get a kick out of having a clean house, but I still wanted more for myself. Like self respect [eta] and what I needed, personally, to get that was a job and the knowledge that I was making a monetary contribution to the household, not just thinking about having lunch at home instead of down the street or how to use up what was in the fridge because then I could put off spending [his] money at the supermarket for another day. I got bored and sick of waiting for him to come home. I don’t know if the book mentions that if he’s going to be 31% more successful that’s likely to translate into 31% more time spent at the office or away at meetings, conferences etc. There is a sting in the tail to success and it is time away or caught up doing other things when your family want to see you too. So sure, my Nigel could be 31% more successful but I would be 100% more unhappy. Guaranteed.
*although she does waver at the end. But I’m not in her situation either. I’m in a long term relationship with two kids under my belt so I can’t be critical of someone who is still looking for Mr Right and wondering how to keep him.
SotBO: This lifestyle may suit some women down to a T. If this isn’t about you, it’s not about you. It’s about giving this sort of advice to all women as if it is a holy grail to happiness. As the article points out, men are never counselled to do anything like this. [eta] This is not having a go at SAHM’s or women who for whatever reason don’t have paid work outside their home. I am not suggesting that the only path to self respect is a paid job, just that it was my path to self respect and happiness. If you can find that as a SAHM you have both my respect, my admiration and my envy because I found it too bloody hard and if you’ve never felt like you have failed as a parent because you can’t play with your child then please understand how lucky you are. At least thanks to the blogosphere I know I’m not alone.
ETA: In fairness to my Nigel, he didn’t ask me to do any of this. It was a joint decision made mostly because a) he had a career going and I didn’t or it was something I could move around with like teaching or b) because we had a new child and I wasn’t ready to go back to work and have them in childcare so moving somewhere else to support his career which supported me to be a SAHM wasn’t a big deal. It was just that once I started to want to go back to work and had trouble finding good childcare options and work options that the unfairness of the situation started to bite. It was not a situation of his making. For the record I think we are both much happier when we are both working. It works for us and benefits our children who have two generally happy parents.