My husband came home from work last week and shared with me how one of his co-workers called him a derogatory name and walked off for no apparent reason. There is a lot of teasing that goes on at his work. However, this was not one of those teasing moments. He turned to his other co-worker who was standing there with him and said, “I sure wish I could figure out what I did wrong.” His co-worker responded with, “I can tell you what it is. It’s because you have a kept woman at home. It’s because your wife stays home with the kids.” I cut him off quickly with an, “Excuse me?” The kind of “excuse me” that I dish out to my kids when they speak to me rudely and I am left in disbelief. It wasn’t in a sweet tender tone. I was floored. My husband goes on to say that the co-worker who believes that I am a “kept woman” considers herself to be a liberated woman; a woman not bound by traditional sexual and social roles. If this is the kind of behavior of a liberated woman, consider me a kept woman. That being said, let me give you my life as a kept woman.
In preparing to be a kept woman, I attended a four year university and obtained a B.A. in Communications. Shortly after graduating, I married this incredible man for time and all eternity. My degree afforded me an amazing opportunity to work full-time and be the primary provider for our family while my husband worked part-time and went to school to obtain his A.A. in nursing. I had always dreamed of being an at-home Mom and both my husband and I saw it as the preferred way to raise our children. After our second daughter was born, we struggled with the idea of losing my income even though he was now a full-time nurse. We took a leap of faith and mutually made the decision for me to stay home with our daughters. Money quickly grew tight in our home, but we felt confident that we had made the right choice for our family. I have nothing against being a working Mom. In fact, I was one during the first years of my eldest’s life. But, for my husband and I, we were at a point in our family’s life where me staying home and caring for the kids became our priority.
So, what does the life of a kept woman look like for me? Well, I am happily married to that same incredible man who asked for my hand in marriage over ten years ago. We have four beautiful children that he helps me raise. We work incredibly well as a team. When it comes to matters of the kitchen, he cooks, I clean. I try to get the wash done in one day about once a week. He often gets the ball rolling for me and switches out loads when I forget. He cleans the bathrooms and takes out the trash. I clean the dishes and the floors. If you noticed there’s no dusting allocated, it’s because it gets done so rarely that I’m not sure I can even count it as a chore. We jointly nag our children to pick up after themselves. On days that he has off, we strive to spend time together as a family and get some of our errands done as a team. He often encourages me to get out and spend time with my girlfriends. He knows I’m not a morning person so he handles all of the morning routine when he can so that I can sleep in. Then, on days when has to work a 12-hour night shift, I may end up spending the whole day gallivanting with the kids while he sleeps. He works a 12-hour night shift because the pay is more and it allows him the opportunity to spend more time with his family and attend church on Sunday. To recap, as a kept woman, I get to live out my lifelong desire to be an at-home mom to our children while simultaneously being married to a man who supports, loves, respects and encourages me in every single aspect of my life.
So, dear liberated woman, please reconsider your opinion of my husband and your perceived knowledge of me and our life. I’m surprised that you don’t give me enough credit, as a woman, to make choices for myself and our family. While there may be other at-home moms who live your misconceptions of the role, that is not the case in our home. I am not bound by traditional roles, I happen to find the traditional role of a woman as beautiful and desirable. And have therefore chosen it for myself with the support of my husband.
Let me close with the words of Whitney M. Young, an American civil rights leader, “There is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your former self.”