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Have You Heard About Feminist Housewives?

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2013 Mar 20

A fascinating article from the Daily Mail in London landed in my in-box earlier this week.  Here was the headline:

Rise of the happy housewife: How a new wave of feminists are giving up their careers to stay at home because they WANT to

The article details a growing trend among women who, though raised by two-working parents, have decided they want to give their own children what they didn’t enjoy as a child:

A stay-at-home mother.

Kelly Makino is the mother of two young children, Connor and Lillie. She calls herself a “flaming liberal” and a feminist, not exactly your stereo-typical stay-at-home mom. Yet, she said her choice was the right one for her and her family.

The article profiled another woman who recently also had a change of heart:

Patricia Ireland left her job as a wealth adviser three years ago after her third child was born, and she has no plans to go back to work.

Rather than a sacrifice, she feels it is a privilege to oversee “not just what they do, but what they believe, how they talk to other children, what kind of story we read together. That’s all dictated by me. Not by my nanny or my babysitter.”

Her husband, who also works in finance, deposits his monthly paycheck in their joint account.

“I’m really grateful that my husband and I have fallen into traditional gender roles without conflict,” Mrs

Ireland said.

“Family is what is important in life - not pushing papers at some … job. I’m not bitter that I’m the one home and he goes to work. And he’s very happy that he goes to work.”

I realize, of course, that stay-at-home mothering is very often an amazing blessing borne of a prosperous culture and particular circumstance. Not every family is in a position to have a mother work full-time in the home. In the end, every family must decide for themselves what arrangement works best for them.

It’s also important, I think, to remember that stay-at-home mothering, which we often call “traditional,” is still a relatively new dynamic. Before the industrial revolution, families farmed together or ran small businesses. Not only didn’t the father leave the home (he worked it!), the mother also assisted in the family enterprise, in addition to raising the children.

Yet, here we are navigating today’s ever-changing culture. Last week on the daily broadcast, I interviewed Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mrs. Mary Kassian about modern feminism and we touched on this subject. We received an email shortly after the program from a listener who was struggling about her role as the family breadwinner. According to her letter, her husband stayed-at-home with the children and she went to work. Here’s a portion of what she wrote:

God has not stopped whispering to my heart over the last week about the plans He has for me as a wife and a mother, dreams long forgotten as life has swept us along since the birth of our first child.  My husband and I are praying about and making plans for me to quit my job and become a full-time mother, allowing him to become the full-time breadwinner.  This will undoubtedly be a difficult financial decision, but I have realized that our current situation has been robbing me of my feminism and motherhood, and it has likewise been robbing my husband of his masculinity.  We are asking God to provide enough work for my husband to provide for our family. 

What a heartfelt struggle!  

But I’m curious what you think of this term, the “Feminist Housewife,” and how this discussion strikes you.

Have you and your spouse struggled with this issue? 

I would love to hear your story.


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