A long time ago (in blog years, anyway), I promised to take a few crazy ideas out to the woodshed and give them a good spanking. Often, people who live a different lifestyle than our family will explain to me (in tones that are usually reserved for children) why it is a bad idea for me to choose the vocation of serving my family. For some reason, people are usually shocked to find out that even if I weren’t homeschooling my children, I’d still spend the bulk of my time doing things for my family–a livelihood otherwise derogatorily known as “not working”.
Since my sweetheart is in bed with another headache (please pray for him) and I’d rather not do anymore housework today, now seems like as good a time as any to grab one of those naughty doubts and haul it out back for a switchin’. Let’s just take the first question on the list: What if your husband dies?
First things first: My husband is not just a paycheck. In fact, his paycheck is the smallest thing he contributes to this family. If he dies, I lose my best friend, my boss (yes, I said boss), my partner, my protector, and my hero. So this question isn’t just about money, is it? It’s about losing the most important person in the whole world. It’s dangerous to let one person mean that much to you, isn’t it? I’ve devoted my entire life, all my work, my youth, my potential (wasted, according to one of my high school friends) to that most devalued of creatures: a husband. That’s a pretty big risk, isn’t it?
That’s all nice and poetical, but I sense that those who pose this question aren’t really asking about my emotional state in the face of that hypothetical tragedy. They’re really asking how I can ever function as an adult after staying home for so many years. Well, let me spell it out. I will continue to function in the same way I do now: as an adult. At home.
The financials are easy, so you don’t have to worry about me on that front. There’s this nifty thing called life insurance. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. We have plenty of coverage for both Jesse and me. (Or we will, as soon as we increase it to cover projected expenses for our expanding family. Hurry, dear. I get the impression that you’re in grave danger of dying because you’re married to a housewife.). Furthermore, I’m a good manager, so I could make that amount of money work for me quite well. We’d be OK, money-wise. We wouldn’t be wealthy, of course, but we’d be provided for.
Not only that, but the children and I would be able to mourn and recover from our loss without changing our lifestyle too drastically. My already being at home would be an asset in that way, wouldn’t it? My work-load would increase, since my husband does a great deal around here. We’d be less protected, since a woman without a man in the house is a target for crime. I’d be a little more worried on that front, I suppose. To quote some movie I saw once, “I can shoot straight, if I don’t have to shoot too far”, but I’d still have an increased likelihood of needing to defend myself. So you’re right. If my husband dies, I’m losing an awful lot. But am I losing more than a working woman would be?
I assume men with working wives still die sometimes, so let me ask you this (not that I enjoy thinking out such things): What if your husband dies? You’re not really saying that you need your husband less than I need mine, are you? I hope not!
There goes more or less half of your income, so you now have less money than you had gotten used to having. If you have life insurance, you can skip the money question. Just like me, you’re now a widow with children to raise on your own. You have to juggle work and family all by yourself. How much time off work do you get after your husband dies? Is it paid? Will your kids need you to be available to them for longer than that? Hey, look! You’re having a pretty bad time of it, too! Maybe you’re not worse off than I am, but you’re not better off, either.
How on earth will you manage, working mom? I can’t imagine putting myself in such a vulnerable position! What’s that you say? You’re smart enough and tough enough to figure out how to run your own life in the face of a loss? Well, me too! “Working” women are not one whit more grown up than stay at home moms just because they earn a paycheck.
So, as I said before, would you folks kindly stop trying to kill my husband?