Commentary on work vs home

November 17, 2015

tumblr_m9fi3fUZ4H1r7v8w6o1_540“I would argue that, if anything, the fact that she raised five children and devoted her life to providing them with a safe, secure, balanced family life is a tribute to her.  She has contributed greatly to society by creating self-sufficient, independent children who are self-reliant and, hopefully, good and decent folk.” Link

This argument has been my battle cry since I was a kid though it’s more of a whimper now -women should “stay” at home. In Islam women are not obligated to work to financially maintain themselves or anyone else -no it doesn’t matter if she’s a widow, unmarried, young or old, she is always under the care of the men in society. Of course we know this is not always followed but this is a part of the Islamic tradition. When women dare desire to be a stay at home wife we’re often met with retorts of how impractical that is these days. Polygamy in the west is just as impractical but you’ll find few Muslim men berate the institution. In my former blog I wrote quite a bit about this topic and was always very clear about my views on women working which have been negative for some time. But the truth is that the argument is unnecessarily polarized.

There’s no way I’d finish my degree in psychology at my current masters level or at the doctorate level then proceed to get married have kids and never use those skills I worked so hard to obtain. The question is not really and either or but a how, when and what. In no uncertain terms I believe as per my faith and my personal conviction a women should never be forced to work to provide income to her family that is her husbands’ responsibility. To think otherwise is to degrade the institution of marriage, family and femininity. To say that the women should work also is to imply that if she stays at home she’s not working, lazy and needs to be an adult get a job and contribute. But women in the home do contribute, they are responsible for the running of a household, for looking after others, and creating an environment of solace and peace for their spouse and children. Would anyone think a women running a small business is lazy? Yet a stay at home mom does equal if not more than a CEO of a small business so how is her work devalued? She not only runs the household management but cooks, cleans, decorates, plays conflict resolution and ensures the well being of those in her household, yet somehow this deserves no credit?

So women work, women will always work no matter the setting and whether or not there is monetary gain. But I think it’s important to note that not working a 9-5 does not mean not working in any way to for monetary gain. Though I desire to primarily stay at home when/if I get married and have children I also plan to work in some way all my life. In the beginning of a marriage I imagine having a job as a part time professor, writing, teaching various Islamic studies, and continuing to explore the world of online business. If there are young children I’d stop working outside the home to primarily be at home with them, teaching would stop but maybe I’d have some online classes, I’d still be writing, online business would hopefully keep going. To keep within the psychology field I probably attend monthly lectures to be in the loop and maybe do a speaking engagement here and there. When the kids got older if they were in school I could resume some teaching outside the home assuming they may have there own classes to attend or could sit down and be still while I taught. When they’re much older I’d be free to work outside the home if I choose though flexible time would remain important, etc., etc. The point is working or staying at home aren’t really at complete odds. Women with degrees shouldn’t throw it all away if they can avoid it but they also shouldn’t feel pressure to dive in an ignore the call of domesticity, wifehood and motherhood.

In reality I think we should all work more flexible hours both men and women. There is so much life to live, so much to explore, and when you have little people around why resist the urge to give them the best you can, they’re only young once. Though I promote, support and believe in men as bread winners and women primarily as domestic engineers in reality it is both women and men who have forgotten the importance and primacy of the family. We’ve all left the home to financially support it but who is supporting the spirit of the home? If both men and women are working 9-5, watching 3 hours of TV a day while Jimbob’s (naturally your kid’s name) is on the computer, the answer is simply ‘no one’ how is that a decent trade off for a few more bucks?

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