There has been a rash of recent articles promoting women as the new bread winner and on the other hand, why 'stay-at-home' mums are the new exhilarating niche of the well-to-do and / or - as a matter of choice.
Take this News.com article where many professional millennial’s (that's the current generation of family women) see themselves as being in the last generation to remember a time - when the men were the major bread winners. They now see this as 'wrong' - as in the questionable, societally-imposed variety of wrong, such as seeing a man carrying a purse. AKA, something that makes some people feel uncomfortable for no logical reason. Something some people have decided is strange.
The article noted that traditionally dad brought home the bacon and Mum cooked it. Even if Mum worked, it’s unlikely that her job was the primary source of household income or even contributed to it significantly. If Dad’s job moved, the family moved. If Mum’s job moved, she either found a new one or didn’t bother.
That is changing, and rapidly. I recall an article in the New York Post, about how women are struggling to assume the role of primary breadwinner. Part of it is the pressure that comes with it, but hey — that’s what is becoming the assumption when women embark on a lucrative career path.
It is time to wrap our heads around the idea that there’s nothing wrong with our wives or girlfriends bringing in the lion’s share, but we’re old enough that our association of manhood with income runs deep. If we still feel the need to ask the question and define ourselves as men, that stool just lost its sturdiest leg.
Fresh stay-at-home mums
As one of these new fresh 'stay-at-home' mums explained to her working sister-hood “I’m a stay-at home mum well ahhh - I have two amazing girls and I left my job as a journalist to look after them but I’m also doing my Masters degree and I’m a freelance writer and umm I’m really, really busy…”
More - “See, I used to do something. I wasn’t always just at home!” (but) did I realise how offensive such a comment was to those who had stopped working outside the home to be with their children and were damn proud of it thank-you-very-much.
There you have it. There is a new breed of women who have made deliberate decisions not to go outside the family home and work, some choose to work from the home, others just to be the fully monty, 'stay-at-home’ - mums.
Winning the right
There are different issue at hand that presupposes the natural differences between the sexes and the way in society has changed. Some women have managed both a family and a high degree of professional success and one such example is former Governor-General Quentin Bryce with a husband and four children and who is also a grand-ma.
Women want this free choice to work and succeed, and financial circumstances permitting, many would love to stay home, as others enjoy a working life. We all know some women who would prefer to be home with the kids (if they possibly could), and be provided for by family or husband.
It is a far cry from the English aristocracy, both women and men stayed home and were provided for by family money, as is the monarchy. Everyone would like a lazy life with someone else doing the ‘providing’, at least some of the time. But then a few people would get bored and want to go and contribute to society at large. And this should be their free choice too, if they want, and that applies to women and men.
It is wonderful that our heritage has provided us with such a bountiful democratic and cross-cultural society, with educational and career opportunities for all who wish to take them, whether they be women or migrants from every place on Earth or descendants of convicts or “even” descendants of the NSW Rum Corps.
Everyone, school-leavers or mature-age workers wanting to change or improve their careers, has these same educational opportunities if they wish to take them. But if one parent wants to stay home with young children, or maybe because they have an occupation or hobbies that they prefer do to from home (such as writers, artists, musicians or just someone who wants to home-school their kids), then our society allows them that free choice.
We do not compel, by regulation or strict social or class structure, that anyone ‘has’ to live their life the same way as anyone else. My own extended family - including in-laws – three professional daughters (law, sciences and accountancy). A sister and sister-in law who are academic professionals.
My wife Delma, who chose to stay home, but that is not representative either because she works very hard in our joint missionary ventures. Delma contributes mightily as an equal missionary partner. The nieces are likewise working professionally, in the sciences, the law and in business.
In this case, all the women in their wider family chose not to ‘be provided for’, but to use their intellect to the betterment of society in general. But the one who is now a mother, making us grand-parents, would prefer now to be at home to raise her own family (while they are young) should that be financially viable.
But why is there not mass media coverage of the hundreds and thousands of mum's at home being the home maker and value adding to the society by being at home with their tiny tots? By only high-lighting with gold banners those who choose to work, illustrates a terrible fraud and malpractice upon the nation. It's nothing to be proud of.
Yet the Sydney Morning Herald was bold enough to publish a research article that demonstrated that many women find the process of house cleaning ''relaxing'', ''satisfying'' and ''therapeutic''. Indeed the sense of being house proud as a “home maker” is a major consideration. (www.smh.com.au)
Proverbs 25 verse 27: “It is not good to eat much honey; so for men to search their own glory is not glory. He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html