SHOULD YOU WORK OR STAY HOME? — A WIFE
3 models women who are willing to work and care for their family may consider
- Stay at home as a full time career
- Stay at home now, work later
- Work, full time
- Keys to taking decision
In her book, ‘make your kid a money genius’, Beth Cobliner said ……”If one spouse takes care of the kids full-time and the other works for a salary, it’s a good idea to discuss the value of stay-at-home parenting, making it clear that this is a job, too.”
This discussion about a wife staying at home full time, working full time, and everything in-between is usually done within a religious and cultural context, which is a good one. After all, what are we without our beliefs and religion?
However, the discussion is also taking an economic scale.
What is the family income?
What are the family expenses?
What are the family goals?
In the end, what I intend to achieve is to create an awareness where you take the decision consciously and deliberately.
After assessing the family’s financial situation and prospects, you may want to consider any of the three options below.
STAY AT HOME AS A FULL-TIME CAREER
If the husband’s financial income is sufficient enough to take care of the family and has a secure career. This may have to be sufficient enough to pay the wife a stipend considering the fact that she may want to take care of some personal stuff such as her parents, etc (depending on your family’s arrangement) then, the wife may want to stay at home, full time.
Now, unlike what we were made to believe, staying at home doesn’t make you less than responsible, uneducated, uncivilized, or out of vogue, in fact, for the most part, you may be more responsible. Like Beth mentioned above, it is a job itself.
Raising children, building homes is our true culture and identity, civilization took that from us and we have to take it back. This time, with more consciousness and an eye on excellence. Ask yourself, what is the big picture, what will I achieve in the short, medium, and long term, if I chose to stay at home?
What I’ve seen however is an abuse of this position. Often time, women who fall into this category don’t do better than their counterparts who go out to pursue a career.
Sometimes they are characterized by an untidy kitchen, delayed food, unkempt children, poor or total lack of personal hygiene with an ‘after all I am not going anywhere, I will do it later’ mentality.
A woman that stays at home full time should be able to take care of the family better — Sparkling clean house, healthy and well-nourished family, lack of family stress, tracking family goals, etc. however, this is often not so.
The problem with this can be likened to what David J Schwartz said in his book ‘the magic of thinking big’ — if you want to get a job done, give it to a busy man. Because these women don’t appreciate their role, they appear too free and fall victim to procrastination.
What we have also seen is that sometimes, they even abuse their free time by watching movies and showing up longer on social media. Some, later fall prey to backbiting because they are so available to the extent that they know everything around them and will want to talk about it.
If done well and with the condition that the husband can handle the family finance effectively, this is the best. Often time, the argument against this model is that what if the husband dies, falls sick, or couldn’t provide as usual. Well, these are all speculations but then, the fear can be worth it. This is where financial planning, savings, and investing come in handy. You don’t subject your entire life to fear. Do you? Rather, you plan and rely on the Almighty.
STAY AT HOME NOW, WORK LATER.
Suspend working till a future time. This is also a possible model. However, the key is clarity and understanding of the big picture.
For some reason, there may be a need for the wife to suspend working until a certain time. Perhaps to raise their children to a level or other factors that may warrant this. For instance, a Muslim mother may want to support her child to complete the memorization of the Qur’an or a family may want their children to complete primary education before letting go.
Again, the basis is the same. As long as the man has the capacity to finance the family and the wife will utilize the time productively, you are good to go.
Oftentimes, women who settle for this option have their eye on a personal goal beyond just going out to make money. For instance, they may want to further their education, set up a business, engage in certain non-profit activities, etc.
Whichever the case, the challenge with this is that they find it hard to keep their eye on the big picture till the end. At the end of the day, they unconsciously fall into category one. This is not a bad idea at all. The challenge is, if you decide not to work outside completely, the way you manage yourself to achieve your goal will not be the same as when you still intend to go out and achieve your goals. The key is clarity and being deliberate.
The third category is those that will work outside the home full time. Again, it all depends on what you want to achieve.
Mark you, this doesn’t in any way make you better than the other two above. We have come off-age where people think being a career woman makes you a superwoman. Our society truly needs women that will be committed to the home building while they also enjoy the perks of office (home makers’ office).
If, however, conditions warrant that you work full time, you have to take the decision deliberately, weigh the option and be sure it is for common good.
There are other good reasons you may want to work full time. For instance, if you live in a sane community and the kids are enrolled in a good school, this can block out quality time for you to work full-time. Another instance is getting a job in places that completely align with your personal value. It is also possible that, beyond making money, your skill is needed to help people, save lives, or have some value that will make life better.
In addition, you will also have to ensure that there is no significant negative effect on the upbringing of your children and the general wellbeing of the home. Like others, you also want to ensure that the main purpose of working is achieved and that you are guided by the principles of Islam.
Key to making decisions
- Avoid comparison. Your choice should be personal to you. Do not compare yourself to your friend, a neighbor, or a colleague.
- Communication. To take these decisions, you will have to engage in open and frank conversation with your spouse. Don’t hold anything back and be ready to make compromises. For you and your spouse, the common good of the entire family and the future of the children should be the priority.
- Clear goal. To make a good decision, you have to be clear about what you want to achieve at the end of the day. What is the big picture and how do you evaluate yourself. Do you have to work to support the family, do you have to stay back to achieve a novel objective about the children, do you have to develop yourself to become the woman of your good dream, etc.
Know also, that if for any good reason you have to stay at home, you can still be productively engaged and still get ahead career/business-wise. The internet has enabled people to stay fully at home and achieve their goals. Personal development is also another area to look at — reading, online courses, etc. For instance, an online school like Edtrack offers teachers the opportunity to work completely from home. This will make you maximize your homestay, become a better mom and wife and be ahead of your peers even if they are the president of the World Bank
In conclusion, the decision to work or otherwise for a woman has to be taken carefully and in clear communication with the husband. There is no denying the fact that most women who are graduates will be willing to apply their knowledge. We must however realize that the qualification can be applied in a variety of ways. Therefore, the wellbeing and success of the family including building a righteous future generation should be paramount. Also, no option is better than the other, your true circumstances will make your option unique to you and that doesn’t make you less than a quality woman.