We, as a society, feel we've evolved past the 1950s nuclear family model. In today's fluid society, many assume a woman is either brainwashed or uneducated to accept traditional gender roles. And yet, droves of women, including myself, are embracing a lifestyle that feels much more Leave it to Beaver than Lean In.
I was raised by a working mom who came from a long line of working women. I graduated from college with honors and had a successful career as a developmental therapist before having kids. After my kids came, I traded development for dirty diapers, and now my days look suspiciously like a 1950s housewife. I clean, I do laundry, I chase the kids, and I have dinner on the table every night by five for my husband.
Most importantly, I'm happy.
For decades, possibly even centuries, women fought for the right to lead the life they chose for themselves. We've made great strides, but some people today undermine traditional marriage as a valid life choice. While it's certainly not for every woman, this domestic lifestyle has advantages. Here are a select few.
Clearly defined responsibilities
While my husband provides financially for our family, I contribute by keeping our household running efficiently. I worked in the same career field as my husband, and I know he's not taking an eight-hour paid vacation away from the kids each day. We both work equally hard to provide for our families; we just do it in different ways. Understanding our unique contributions to the family is key to feeling respected.
I also appreciate that we're not competing over who makes more money or enjoys more professional success. Because our duties exist in separate spheres, we're acutely aware of how the other fills the needs of our family. This interdependence fosters teamwork instead of competition.
More quality family time
Because our division of labor works so well, we're able to enjoy our time as a family fully. We don't spend our weekends cleaning the house and buying groceries because those tasks were completed during the week. My work at home during the day allows us to spend quality time together each night and on weekends. This also gives my husband time to relax away from the pressures of work and enjoy his time with his kids, something the kids also love. Our kids get the best of us because we're not overburdened trying to fill too many roles at once.
Someone for the kids
My working mother did a fantastic job balancing her time, and I respect her for juggling her career and her family. However, I maintain that having a dedicated parent around for the kids is extremely convenient. There's no scrambling to arrange summer care, and I'm always available to pick up a sick kid from school. Our kids can participate in whatever extracurriculars interest them because they have me around to take them. On a biological level, it makes sense that the mother fills this role. Even though he's a wonderful father, my husband cannot get pregnant or nurse a baby. Sorry, guys.
However, we can't forget that this lifestyle is only viable when it's the result of a conscientious choice. Therein lies the great difference between now and the 50s - women back then didn't have a choice. There are still some women who, for economic or other reasons, couldn't choose this lifestyle even if they wanted, and there are women who want a less traditional lifestyle. Also, men today are more conditioned to treat their wives as an equal life partner, making traditional marriage even more lucrative than the past.
That's the beauty of our modern society. Women are more free than ever to choose the life that feels most authentic to them. We should celebrate that instead of judging others for their life choices. We do not get an opinion about someone else's subjective experience. Running a household makes me happy, and therefore, it is a valid choice, even if it's not popular. I'll take a happy 1950s marriage over being modern and miserable any day.