A Woman’s Job?

Reader’s Question:

My wife and I have been married a little over a year and want to start a family. This was our plan from the very beginning, but we never discussed the work situation. My wife is a nurse practitioner and I am a surgeon. I have asked my wife to start thinking about quitting work as we start to try to have a baby.  We do not need her income and it would really make things easier if she would just stay home, like women are supposed to, and care for our home and our soon to be children. She is thoroughly pissed off and angry with me for asking her to quit and said we could live on her salary alone. I highly doubt this as I make at least triple her salary yearly and we have grown accustomed to not skimping on much. I don’t want to come home to a wife who has worked all day and is just as tired as I am. I want to come home to nice meals and a clean home. I don’t want my children raised in daycares when my wife is highly educated and can get them started at home in our care. Am I wrong to want a wife that has traditional values, who is willing to care for me and our children, and only work within our home, now that we are expanding? How can I make her see this is her place in our family?

WOW. JUST, WOW.

I am guessing that she is very pissed off, and from the way you worded the question, she has every reason to be.

I get that you make more money. I get that you want your children to skip the first few years of daycare. I get that you want to come home to a nice dinner and a clean house. Who doesn’t want all these things? BUT, should they come at the expense of your wife’s’ happiness? Do you get what is wrong here?

I sincerely doubt you do.

Your wife worked very hard to get where she is in her career. Now, after all that hard work, you are asking her to leave it all behind and never look back for wet diapers, dirty dishes, and all your wants and needs. 

Why does she have to quit now? Why can’t she continue to work until you have children, take maternity leave, and see how it goes? There are many, many, MANY women who say they will go back to work, but then love being at home with their children and change their mind, deciding instead to take a few years off to stay at home.

Can you accept that you must be patient and let your wife make her own decision when the kids are born? You should try.

You must consider that you dated for years and have known how much her career meant to her. She has bettered her career over time and must feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Wanting children does not mean who she is or what she cares for most, has changed.

Both of you will most likely change when you become parents, but you are “putting the cart in front of the horse.” 

At this point, I am not sure sitting across from one another at a table will do much good, but you can always try. Have you asked her what she wants? How she feels? Her thoughts on how to handle the changes that are involved with having children? Have you considered those things? Since money is no issues, what about a livein nanny to help out? There are many options to discuss in a RESPECTFUL manner. i.e. Do not tell her what is going to happen, ask her what she thinks.

These discussions must not start with making her “see” her place is in the home. It’s 2017!

Now, to your wife:

What’s wrong with staying home and having a family? There are many women that would give anything to stay home and care for their family, me included, but this was not always true.

Once, I wanted to take over the world and no one, no husband or child, was going to stop me!

Then, I had kids and a husband. I started working really hard as a full-time employee, a full-time wife, and a full-time mom. All of that became a full-time me. It is stressful. Through all of this I realized, I totally would have stayed home and been the “old fashioned” wife and mom. I guess you don’t know until you’ve been there and done that. Sometimes we look back and think, damn, I got that one wrong. 

I wish someone would have told me. So I’m telling you:

Your husbands delivery was awful and left no room for you to consider the option due to his approach. If you can get past that, consider the possibility that you will love your children so much that going to work instead of being with them through the precious few years you have at a young, impressionable, and adorable age, will seem dreadful and downright depressing. Just keep an open mind, and maybe smack your husband a bit for his inconsiderate communication style.

This is on both of you. Communication, rather poor communication, is the problem here. Talk it out. Don’t fight and put each other “in their place.” Everyone should be where they feel comfortable and there must be some sort of compromise in these situations. “Walk in each other’s shoes.” Think about all the outcomes. Really put some effort into analyzing the situation, but COMMUNICATE with each other in a healthy way. You have a great relationship and when you add kids to the mix, things can get a little tricky/messy/hard/complicated/busy…so, you really want a solid foundation of understanding from the get-go.

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