The Stay-At-Home Mom Stereotype

The Stay-At-Home Mom Stereotype

We need to stop generalizing women, and mothers, in general.
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“A woman’s place is in the house and the senate.”

One of the biggest stereotypes that surrounds women is that we all love children and just can’t wait to have our own, but not all women want four-plus kids, and some women don’t even want kids. This stereotype is becoming more and more irritating to women everywhere. We’re used to the “women can’t drive” and “women are emotionally unstable” comments—which we shouldn’t be—but some of us were just flat out born with little to no maternal instincts.

The double standards need to stop. We either assume that all women want to be stay-at-home moms, or we ridicule them for having this desire. If you have the financial means, what’s wrong with wanting to be invested in your children’s future? Just because she doesn’t contribute to the family financially doesn’t mean she has an easy job. Until about 50 years ago, all women were expected to stay home and conduct the various “feminine” responsibilities around the house; such as cleaning, tending the garden, raising the children, doing the laundry, and make the meals. The only time it wasn’t frowned upon for a woman to work was when she was working to “kill time” while finding a husband, or to have something to do after all the children grew up.

We need to stop generalizing women, and mothers, in general. If you expect your future wife to be a stay-at-home mom—don’t. Just because that’s what you want, doesn’t mean that that’s what she wants. According to a New York Times article, a wife’s employment lowers a couple’s risk of divorce, and women who stay at home often experience feelings of sadness, anger, and depression.

Personally, I have no desire to be a house wife. I want a career. I will get my law degree to end up taking six years off to raise the kids until they’re old enough to go to school. Of course I want to see their milestones and accomplishments, but having them go to daycare isn’t a big deal to me. I’m not going to put myself into debt to go through graduate school only to potentially marry someone that assumes I want to stay at home with the kids for a few years. I had a single mom who worked two jobs, and there wasn’t an option for her to stay home. I was at daycare from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and she didn’t miss a thing. I turned out just fine, with no feelings of bitterness toward the way I was raised.

Raising a family is no easy feat, and the typical family expectations are beginning to disintegrate. Stay-at-home dads are becoming a more common family aspect, contributing to the breakdown of gender stereotypes. For all the stay-at-home moms, or even dads, out there, I commend you. I am in no way throwing shade in your direction.

Staying home all day with the kids is definitely not for everyone. We need to stop making women feel like they are choosing between their children and their careers. There are women who cannot wait to get off of maternity leave, and there are mothers that never want it to end. Women no longer fit into categories because we have bent the guidelines and created our own sub categories for ourselves. We are all unique, with individual differences and talents.

Whatever it is that you want to do in life, male or female, don’t let society influence how you raise your family. You need to do what is best for them, but you also need to keep in mind what is best for you as well. You are not choosing your career over your family, or vise versa. How you choose to raise your family is no one’s business but your own. You can have a career and a family, so break the stereotypes and stigmas by doing it your way.

Cover Image Credit: Winnie Forbes

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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