This letter is harsh, it is honest and raw, but it encapsulates what I believe some families may go through when both parents are super career-orientated. I must confess, I’ve always loved working, ever since I was a child as young as 9 I had strong ideas of what I wanted to do for work… for the rest of my life! So I’m posting this letter from a husband knowing full well what it is to have a huge drive to work, and lots of untapped ambition pent up. Being a stay-at-home mother, at least for me, is wonderful and fulfilling in a multitude of ways, however there is always a part of me that can’t wait to work – even part-time again, or to get my tiny business off the ground.
I also totally understand why feminists have labored so hard to have equal rights for women, which have gratefully extended to equal opportunity in the workplace. Like most things meant for good though, too much of it is not a good thing, and feminism has crossed the line when it glorifies the liberated, career-orientated mother who sees her children only an hour or two each work-day, and has to try to cram in some quality time on weekends only.
Now that I’ve effectively been in both roles to some extent, I can tell the difference in how much more attune to my son I am when I am the one teaching him, and when I’m the one spending quality time with him everyday together. There is no denying the truth (except if you’re staunchly feminist) that I make much more of an impact in my son’s, and even my husband’s, life when I’m not super career-orientated. This difference is often trivialized, but its a lie that is promoted by people who want you to think that you should be able to have the privilege of doing whatever you want, to the detriment of your children. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow, it is for me as well. I have plans of achieving a pharmacy degree, but they won’t happen until my youngest is a little older. Even then, I may only work part-time in effort to handle both roles “mother” and “career-woman” well.
Also, this is something that is seen after years of impact, in this letter from a husband to his wife, it seems clear that they’ve probably been married over 10-years. To be honest, I believe that couples usually don’t start to face issues head-on like these until after 10 years of marriage. Before that they are too caught up in the early years of marriage without kids, and then the struggle through the trenches of having very young ones who aren’t in kindergarten yet. It takes 10 years + to realize some of these things that really matter in a family. Here is the letter:
“I’m learning more as the years go by that you are a career-orientated person who doesn’t have a clue or understand the essence of what it means to be a wife and mother. Call me traditional if you like, but I firmly believe that mothers need to spend more time at home, perhaps 100 percent of their time at home, to nurture a family and develop a home.
Far too often, there are too many things that get overlooked by you as a wife and mother as it pertains to this family. Our kids lack focus, training, and discipline. They have no routine and there’s no order about anything they do. Mothers, in my opinion, are nurturers and teachers who ought to spend as much time with their kids to teach them things, skills that they will use to cope with life. To put it bluntly, you haven’t been a mother. Our kids have been left too often to cope and figure out things for themselves.
When it comes to being a wife, you put no effort. And I think you don’t love me anymore. Making love is not high on your agenda of things to do, and showing any intimate interest in me isn’t either.
I’m feeling less and less interested in you and less and less motivated to keep our family together. I’m feeling like you are married to your job and that you are more committed to it than to us as a wife and mother.
I’m not claiming that I’m the perfect husband and father. You and I both work too many hours, but I believe you underestimate the importance of the mother in a family. Mothers and fathers play different roles in a family. I’ve never discouraged you from pursuing a Ph.D., but I don’t think it’s high on the list of priorities of what I think is best for us as a family right now.
I want to love you, be with you, support you, but I must confess that I’m feeling like we are losing each other and our kids. I don’t know what the complete answer is, but I know it has to start with us spending more time at home to grow, develop, and nurture our family and our relationships.”
The wife’s response? A quickie solution to go on a 2 week vacation to Disneyland.
Copy of a letter sent in to Dr. Laura when she was writing Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands