I’ve been successful in my career, and earning one promotion after the other and presently a vice president. I got married at age 38 and I’m now in my 40’s. My husband and I are lucky that we were able to have four children, three of whom are studying in an expensive school and the youngest is only 8 months old.
My problem is that my husband, who operates a small business, now wants me to resign to take care of our children, my youngest being sickly and our 9-year old son getting low grades in school. How can I give up a successful high-paying job? I’m not cut out to be a plain housewife. Besides, it is my salary that keeps our children in school and enable us to live a comfortable life. We definitely cannot live on the income from his business. He wants me to help him in his business so it can grow. Being in business is very risky and I don’t also see myself being an entrepreneur like him while I have financial security in a corporate career.
Ms. Career Wife
It’s true what you wrote that with hard work and the talents that you obviously display, you are assured of keeping a corporate job, career success, and increased income are almost assured. You are averse to being plain housewife and to helping your husband grow his business because this will not provides you the high income you’ve gotten used to and maintain the lifestyle you and your children now enjoy.
What are the unpleasant (I don’t want to use the word “negative”) consequences if remaining in your corporate job? One, you husband will feel disappointed that you are not willing to give up satisfaction of your personal needs (money, status, recognition) to help him when he is obviously calling on you to use your talents to help him grow his business. How does this affect your relationships? Two, you said your 8-month baby is sickly and obviously needs a mother’s loving care to become healthy. Can you bear to deprive him/her of such care while you go out to pursue your work and career? Can you live with a guilty conscience? Three, I can say the same thing with your son who needs your attention to help him with his school work.
I always believe that one cannot have everything. A parent has to sacrifice many things for the happiness and well-being of the family. I hate to sound as though I’m preaching. However, you need to clarify your values and priorities in life because you have at least three major roles: as wife and mother and executive of you company, and quite often your needs in each of these roles conflict. When these happen only you can make decisions based in these values. You decrease your confusion if your values are clear to you.
Another thing you need to do is to confront your mindsets which are: that you are not cut out to be a plain housewife, that you cannot live on the income from the business of your husband, that you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur.
The fact that you have helped your company grow its business thru the use of your talents shows that you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur: self-confidence, goals and achievement-oriented, opportunity-seeking, persistence, drive to succeed and to excel, persuasive and networking, responsible, creative, high energy level, etc, if you and your husband are united in mind and heart and you synergize, what you now see as small business will grow just like many successful family corporations that started from the efforts of husband and wife.
My research on husband-and-wife teams in business was included in my book, Managing Work & Career, which was published by New Day Publishers and available in bookstores.
I don’t know whoever invented the demeaning term “plain housewife” to refer to a wife and mother, using her entire being to take care of her children and her home and feeling fulfilled in the process.
If I can live my life all over again, I would have spent more time observing my children at home, at play and talking with their teachers, seven of them—discovering their God-given talents and spending my time researching on how I could have brought out these talents. Regrets, sad to say, are always at the end. Someone once wrote: No one in his old age and at death’s door ever says “I wish I had spent more time with my family.”
May God help you see your way clearly in your stiuation and make a decisioin that you are happy and at peace with.
God bless you.