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chinchin31's avatar

If your mother was a housewife, looking back do you think it was a good thing or would you have preferred that she worked outside the home?

Asked by chinchin31 (1748points) July 5th, 2017

I am contemplating becoming a housewife but I feel that children do not really appreciate you as they get older and actually feel like you wasted your time being at home . Most people I know that had mothers that were housewives would either see it as a status symbol i.e that their father was rich enough to keep their mother at home or that it was a waste of her time and they would never wish that on themselves. What do you that had housewife mothers think looking back?

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19 Answers

chyna's avatar

My mom was a housewife until I started the first grade. I was they youngest of 4. She then found a part time job that allowed her to work until we came home from school.
I don’t think I can help you because I grew up in a different time period that most mothers stayed home. I did like that my mom was home when I got home until I was about in the 5th grade and then I didn’t really notice or care. It was all about going out to play with the kids in the neighborhood. I don’t know if she was happy being home or wished she had a full time job.
What do you want to do?

Aethelwine's avatar

My mother was a housewife and I didn’t appreciate it until I was older. Looking back I’m glad she was home when I needed someone. I didn’t have to go to a day care or relative when I was sick and I was able to stay home during school vacations and holidays. We were able to travel more often because my mother didn’t have to work.

I’m a stay at home parent dealing with some major issues with our 13 year old and our entire family is very thankful that I can be home at this difficult time to take care of everything.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My mother was and my sisters and I certainly appreciated her greatly. She stayed home while we were very young and dad worked. There was not a lot of money but they were a team and made it work. Then cirumstances changed and my dad went back to school full-time when mom worked a menial job at the university to get dad free tuition. Once dad became an engineer he returned the favor by allowing mom to go back to school and earn several degrees. It was quite an influence and it left a mark to see them work as a team.
Remember that your kids will see this and I doubt they will forget it. Being a stay at home mom is being a team player and it’s a good team to be on. Same goes for stay at home dads if that is what is most strategic in raising good kids. I can’t say that for the parents who are selfish and want kids and high profile, time consuming careers that keep them distracted from family.

imrainmaker's avatar

I don’t think you can generalise this thing so easily that people don’t appreciate their mother if she was a housewife. It really depends on the person involved. They will care for you irrespective of whether you’re working or not if they are sensible enough. Take the decision on the basis what you think will be best for them / you rather than what they will think about you in future.

Sneki2's avatar

My mother was a housewife, dealing with three children.
Looking back, it wasn’t the best decision she made in her life.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

Can I be a special case? I have a career woman as a mother but she and my dad ‘dump’ (for lack of better term) me and my siblings in to our grandparents’ house and pick us up at the end of the day (weekend is an exception as it’s a family day so we spend time together as a family) so the lack of housewive-figure never bother me as a child. I can even say that it’s a surplus (which I didn’t even realized until my teen years) that aside from having a well-to-do father as our source of income we also have a mother that increase that financial stability, which mean, (and this is the part that I love) that me and my siblings can always enjoy a better quality of life, I often go shopping with my parents, having my personal wants and needs fullfilled, etc etc. I have seen many kids throw tantrum on their moms that they want this and that (mostly toys as I remember) and the moms just harshly denied the request, I didn’t even understand when my friend said it’s good to be me, having live in such house, can do this do that, etc, it’s not because I was ungrateful but it’s because as a child I haven’t seen the living condition of my childhood friends.

The truth is, my mom is a terrible cook, not doing any good housework except washing dishes and sweep the floor (which aren’t often anyway as we can hire maid for that). She tried but she just can’t. My grandmas, on the other hand, are great cook, seamstress, house cleaner, and whatever quality you can expect from a housewive. I have never heard my parents complain about that but as a child I enjoy their cooking and how they look after us.

These days, I have seen that it’s more beneficial to fullfill your family expenses both for now and in the future. You can never have too much money. The lack of financial stability can easily cause strain in the relationship, which, in the end, will affect the family itself. You can definitely do what you enjoy but remember that dumping your children in to their grandparents/single relatives’ house is definitely (which I believe many people haven’t realized yet) a great idea, considering they tend to love children anyway.

chinchin31's avatar

@Unofficial_Member ha…thanks but I don’t have grandparents for my child. My husband and I live oversees far away from family

Unofficial_Member's avatar

@chinchin31 Then perhaps a daycare or a job where they provide daycare facility in the office will be just what you’re looking for. You can negotiate with your boss to ask if your (should be toddler-age) child can be brought in to the office. I have seen that many office women carried their children with them when they work in the office until they got home.

marinelife's avatar

My Mom was a housewife until I was in high school and all of my siblings were in school. Then she worked parttime. I knew that she had worked before being married so I never thought any less of her for staying at home. She had five kids.

jca's avatar

I can’t speak from personal experience, as my mom was single for the majority of my early childhood, and she worked. She had a Bachelor’s degree at a time when a lot of women didn’t, and then when I was 11 and she was still single, she went back and got her MBA. I give her a lot of credit and she was an excellent example.

I am also a single mother who works outside the home, not nearly as ambitious as my mom because I’m not pursuing my Master’s. I don’t consider myself “not a team player” as someone suggested above. My daughter wanted to be me on career day, which was very flattering. I didn’t realize what an example I am to her. I am a full time union rep and so what does a unio rep wear? She wanted some lanyards and ID to put around her neck LOL. It’s hard to explain what a union rep does in a way that a second grader can identify with for something like career day.

I wish I didn’t have to work full time with a long commute but I make a very good salary and I have great benefits and a pension, so I have no choice and I appreciate what I have.
What I want to add is that my best friend was a housewife raising three kids. Her husband is very traditional and even though she went to school to be an RN, she and her husband felt it would be better for her to stay home. They were comfortable financially, mainly because they are very frugal and she baked bread and sewed clothes and they didn’t go on vacation and the kids stayed home all summer. What happened was the third child was a “surprise” and by then, my friend was shot. Shot in that he was an energetic boy, (ADHD) and she would be screaming at him, just screaming because he’d do things like climb up on the table and spill a whole bottle of juice and stuff like that. Her husband’s attitude was “I work outside the home, you work inside the home” so he wasn’t helping her or relieving her when he got home from work at 6.

My point is, staying home is not necessarily better. It’s all dependent on your circumstances, what help is available, your mental and physical health and a whole host of other things.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My mother died when I was quite small. She was a housewife but just before finding out she was carrying me she had found a job she loved. She gave it up to be at home with me. I feel pretty sad about that she had to give up something she loved doing. I hope she wasn’t too disappointed.

My stepmother worked out of the home. It was what I knew and so I was fine with that. I never felt disadvantaged.

I’ve been a stay-at-home and a working mum and I’ve worked from home.

Women today have choices. They can work or stay home and some can work from home. I think having choices is a very good thing. Your decision should be guided by what is right for your family. If you have good options for child care, and you can spend quality time with your children when you get home, you being a working mum won’t harm your kids.

If you can afford to stay home and you are an engaged, interested parent who has the patience to do things with your kids, that can be a good option too. Edit – as long as you can afford it. These days it costs so much to keep a family functioning, not many women can comfortably afford to stay home for the long-haul and be a stay-at-home mum. As I said above, money stress is a killer. I had to go back to work when my oldest was tiny. We would not have been able to pay our mortgage if I hadn’t. I didn’t want to leave her, but I preferred leaving her with a good child carer to losing our home and struggling to pay our basic bills.

I think I was a better parent when I was working. First, we could manage better financially so we weren’t under money stress trying to pay mortgages and so on. We weren’t rich because I worked, but we could afford our bills! Money stress is an awful thing for a family to go through. I loved being at home with my children when they were very little, but I know I that eventually, I needed the additional stimulation of my work life. I was a happier, and a more engaged parent when I had a work life. My perfect experience was when I could work from home much of the time. I was often there when my son (my youngest) came home, but I also had a job that kept me interested and engaged with people and things outside the home. How many days a week I needed to go in varied, but I had and have a very flexible work environment.

What works for you will depend on your own family. Whether your kids take you for granted because you are there with them, or whether they thrive if you go out to work will depend on how you manage the situation. You may find being at home full-time doesn’t work for you in the long-term. What do you WANT to do? That’s really what matters here.

I want to support @jca‘s suggestion about being a role model too. I know my own now adult daughters have told me how inspired they are by my journey. They have said they see me as one of the strongest women they know. I remember when my first marriage broke down and I was studying at the time, I questioned if I should give up and get a job or keep going. I thought about my own father and his aspirations for me and I realised I wanted to show my daughters they could have a career and a family even if they didn’t have a partner. I also knew I needed to be in a position to be able to pay all our bills myself. So I kept studying, was soon offered work with my institution that allowed me to keep studying AND pay my bills and now have a very good job. I want my daughters to have choice and examples that show them they can do it any way they want.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Glen Campbell Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LonUQ5o-vLc

YARNLADY's avatar

My Mom was a housewife until the three of us children were teens. I loved having her at home during the day. She took a job for a few years, but it really took a toll on her health. I was glad when she quit.

johnpowell's avatar

My mom worked at my dads welding and machine shop. She did the front-desk and accounting shit while he wasted away in Autocad.

It was fantastic for us kids.

Nobody cared. We would pretty much did whatever on a 80 acre farm. My sister has removed more splinters from my young hands with tweezers then I can remember. She also pulled one of my baby teeth with pliers. That later turned out to not be a dental thing but her being very mean.

rojo's avatar

Mom was, for the most part, a housewife most of my childhood. She did on occasion take a part time job, usually in department store sales, when the household budget needed it or to supplement the family income around Christmas time. This was at a time when the majority of women were stay-at-home moms although working moms were certainly not unusual.
As a child I am sure I took her for granted more than I should have but I do remember the times she did work and I had to come home to an empty house. I did not enjoy those times even though I benefited from them financially.

As an adult I can look back and be thankful that I had someone who made sure I got off to school every day and had a lunch to take; someone who helped with all those special projects and homework assignments and the subsequent running around to gather up supplies or whatever was required; the smell of cookies or pie some afternoons, the embarrassment of having your mom available to participate in all the school outings and field trips; the hugs, the kisses; the quiet knock on my bedroom door shortly after I shut it to be alone after a particularly trying day just to make sure I was all right. There was a certain loving quality that I didn’t even recognize at the time when she used to yell “don’t slam the door!” every time I walked in. Mom took care of the pre-planning that is needed to make sure that life functions smoothly, the grocery shopping, making sure we were fed and clothed properly (I don’t even remember ever having to go looking for clothes), purchasing all the pens, paper, notebooks and other necessary school supplies, Being at home allowed my father more free time after work; he had about an hour commute to and from his job and his hobbies helped keep him sane.

I look at my own kids childhood and even though they turned out well, I wonder if they realize what they missed out on with both of their parents at work. I remember the sometimes frantic running around trying to get things purchased and meals prepared all before bedtime. I remember the guilt when it didn’t happen and you knew your children needed more sleep but it just wasn’t going to happen that night.

Sometimes it takes going through it to realize how good you had it.

tedibear's avatar

My mom was a housewife from the time I was four until I was 12 or 13. She was able to be a Brownie leader, act as treasurer of her bowling league, do a lot of crafts, and do a little charity work. She was also bored a good bit of the time. The only reason she didn’t have an outside job was that my father felt that “his wife shouldn’t have to go out to work.” (He was very much a man of the 1940’s.) It irritated him greatly when she worked for a couple of years when I was very young. He had lost his job and was trying to start his own business. Once he found a new job, he insisted that she quit.

In 1977 or so, when the economy was still trying to recover, she put her foot down and got a job. She loved getting out of the house and earning a wage. It was great for my older sister and I as this is when we learned to appreciate all of the housework that she did. It’s also how I learned to cook beyond brownies and decorating cookies. I am grateful that she did this as I learned more about responsibility at a time when I was capable of doing the tasks I was given.

In my mind, I had the best of both worlds. A mom who was home after school when I was of an age where leaving me home alone wouldn’t have been a good thing, and a mom who went to work later in my life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As a kid I would have preferred my Mom of course.
If you have the option take it. They’ll never be little again.

Strauss's avatar

My mother was a housewife. My oldest brother was born in 1936, and my youngest sister was born in 1959. The only time Mom ever had a job other than homemaker was during WWII, when she worked as a forklift operator during World War II.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My mom was a housewife. Looking back, it was nice not to come back to an empty house. As we got older, sometimes we did. Sometimes we were flat locked out and had to wait for her to get home! And OMG, sometimes the phone would start ringing and I’d be standing on the other side of the sliding glass door, staring at it a few feet away, slowly dying inside. FINALLY that boy I had a crush on was calling me!! I just knew it was him and I couldn’t get to the phone to answer it!

I think perhaps she may have been happier working, though. But maybe not. Her unhappiness ran really, really deep.

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