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Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 12:53 PM
No kids, no jobs for growing number of wives
Author: Stay-at-home wives constitute a growing niche

Some couples say the arrangement makes life less stressful for both parties

The biggest draw is focusing on making home a better place, expert says

By Sarah Jio

(LifeWire) -- "What do you do all day?" is a question Anne Marie Davis, 34, says she gets a lot.

Stay-at-home wives represent a growing niche, according to the author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women."

Davis, who lives in Louisville, Texas, isn't a mother, nor does she telecommute. She is a stay-at-home wife, which makes her something of a pioneer in the post-feminist world.

Ten years ago, she was an "overwhelmed" high school English teacher. "I didn't have time for my husband, " she says, "and I didn't have a life."

She presented the idea of staying home to her husband, a Web engineer. "I told him it was something I wanted to do, and he supported it. It was a great relief."

Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women," says stay-at-home wives constitute a growing niche. "In the past few years, many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home," he says. While his research is ongoing, he estimates that more than 10 percent of the 650 women he's interviewed who choose to stay home are childless.

Daniel Buccino, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine clinical social worker and psychotherapist, says stay-at-home wives are the latest "status symbols."

"It says, 'We make enough money that we both don't need to work outside the home,'" he says. "And especially with the recent economic pressures, a stay-at-home spouse is often an extreme and visible luxury."

June Cleaver, minus Beaver and Wally

Davis says her life isn't luxurious. "Tuesdays are my laundry day," she says. "I go grocery shopping on Wednesdays and clean house on Thursdays." Mondays and Fridays are reserved for appointments and other errands.

But her schedule also allows for charity work and leisure: reading, creative writing and exploring new hobbies, like sewing.

It's a lifestyle, Davis says, that has made her happier and brought her closer to her husband. "We're no longer stressed out," she says; because she takes care of the home, there are virtually no "honey-do" lists to hand over.

Stay-at-home guilt

"If you told me years ago that I was going to be a stay-at-home wife, I would have laughed at you," says Catherine Zoerb, 27. Yet after the Wichita, Kansas, resident finished graduate school in 2005, she found herself unemployed, childless -- and strangely happy. With her husband's support, Zoerb decided to just stay home.

"I was able to clip coupons, do all the chores and make nice dinners," she says. "I was much less stressed and tense."

But she was concerned, too -- about not using her master's degree in English and how future employers would view her work history. "I worried about gaps in my resume," she says. And there was something else: "I thought about the feminist movement -- all those women who worked so hard so that I could go out and have a good career, and I was kind of saying 'no thanks.'"

Recently, Zoerb took a temporary job at an engineering firm. It will boost her resume, and although the Zoerbs don't need the money, it will help pay down their mortgage. Still, she hopes to return to stay-at-home wifedom soon.

"I'd never say that a woman shouldn't work," she says. "But I don't see what good it would do to work in a job that I couldn't stand, and if I have the choice not to, why wouldn't I take that opportunity?"

Retro marriage, 21st century-style

"Everyone seems to be OK with women staying home when they have kids," says Davis, who currently doesn't plan to have children. "I've actually heard people say that women who don't work are a drain on society."

Don't be too quick to judge, says Haltzman. Women might give up a job to focus on an advanced degree, pursue artistic or creative goals, or deal with health issues.

Surprisingly, though, Haltzman says the biggest draw is homemaking itself. "Many women I talk to take care of the household seriously, and they want to focus on caring for the home, whether or not it involves children."

Sometimes a wife's desires don't align with her husband's. "I hear frustration from men whose wives choose not to work," Haltzman says, "but only if there are financial stresses. One of the realities is that few men appreciate the scope and difficulties of managing a household."

Common sense rears its ugly head again. Not everybody defines themselves by their resume and their ability to juggle (often badly) the stresses of working, marriage, caring for parents, or caring for a home. Incredibly, some of us actually enjoy having time for volunteer work, family, and hobbies. I cannot wait to become a stay at home wife myself. :)

CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/08/05/lw.nokids.nojob.wives/index.html)

PB2012
08-05-2008, 01:11 PM
I feel that a stay-at-home wife will actually benefit our country,

If you think about it, when you have a marriage where both spouses are working it leaves little time for each other, kids, hobbies, and a social life. Thus, but not always, creating tensions that can lead to divorce.

Now leave the wife or husband at home and we have created more time and less stress. Creating for happier marriages.

I understand that there are several other factors when considering divorce, but if you can start to weed out some of them, marriages can go on to be happy and healthy.

LogansPapa
08-05-2008, 01:25 PM
Again, the theory of ‘Multi-Tasking’ proves itself to be utter bullshit. :cool:

linda22003
08-05-2008, 01:33 PM
I feel that a stay-at-home wife will actually benefit our country,

If you think about it, when you have a marriage where both spouses are working it leaves little time for each other, kids, hobbies, and a social life.

But this article is specifically talking about couples without kids. Much as I admire the idea of letting someone else do all the work, it's hard for me to imagine staying home when there isn't the job of child-raising to do.

NonConformist
08-05-2008, 01:39 PM
Thats how I prefer it, women should be home makers(unless they want to work) and men should be the bread winners, especially w/ kids

Thats how we have done it for almost a decade, up until i got laid off, now shes making the bread and Im Mr Mom:o

linda22003
08-05-2008, 01:47 PM
It's probably hard for me to imagine because I make nearly what my husband does. The norm is still for the wife to bring in a "supplemental" income, but we would notice if our family income suddenly went down by 45%.

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 01:55 PM
Again, the theory of ‘Multi-Tasking’ proves itself to be utter bullshit. :cool:

True dat. I don't how many times I've been told about the superior "multitasking skills" of women. Yet when I look at them, I see a harried, bitchy gal who is doing 3 mediocre jobs and one truly awful job.

Maintaining a home is a valid career choice with or without children. A home is a refuge and place to heal up from the various assaults of life - it should be inviting and peaceful.

Before the second wave feminists showed their true colors by selling out to gay men, they pretended that women could have this choice. They pretended to respect homemaking and marriage and they pretended to respect women who did stay at home.

That lasted about 5 minutes.

Current feminist theory holds that women should be exactly like stereotypical men in all ways which literally means having no interests outside of work and sex. If your entire world is work and sex, homemaking probably does seem insane.

FeebMaster
08-05-2008, 01:58 PM
She can work. I'll stay home.



Ten years ago, she was an "overwhelmed" high school English teacher.

Yeah, those 180 day a year jobs are killers.

linda22003
08-05-2008, 02:02 PM
Maintaining a home is a valid career choice with or without children. A home is a refuge and place to heal up from the various assaults of life - it should be inviting and peaceful.



I definitely agree with the second sentence. The first sentence is harder for me to process. I live in a well-run home (thanks to both of us) and if I didn't work I can't imagine what I would do with myself. I'm on my second sick day today, and I can't wait to get back to the office! I do very "homey" things - knitting, cooking, things like that, but home would be far less of a refuge without two incomes.

Goldwater
08-05-2008, 03:59 PM
But this article is specifically talking about couples without kids. Much as I admire the idea of letting someone else do all the work, it's hard for me to imagine staying home when there isn't the job of child-raising to do.

Exactly, what the heck would she do?

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 04:03 PM
I definitely agree with the second sentence. The first sentence is harder for me to process. I live in a well-run home (thanks to both of us) and if I didn't work I can't imagine what I would do with myself. I'm on my second sick day today, and I can't wait to get back to the office! I do very "homey" things - knitting, cooking, things like that, but home would be far less of a refuge without two incomes.

See, I'm just the opposite - I can't imagine how anybody could possibly be at a loss for interesting things to do outside the workplace. I only work for the money. While my work is entertaining and serves the public good in a very direct way, there's simply no way I'd do it for free.

It's vaguely possible that social interactions at my home might make a lasting (and favorable) impression on guests and friends but 2 weeks after I resign from work, my legacy there will vanish. I've seen it happen many times.

linda22003
08-05-2008, 04:11 PM
Oh, I'm not working for a "legacy" either; I'm also in it for the money, which fortunately is very good, for both of us. I won't lack for anything to do in retirement; my salary helps to ensure that our retirement will be very comfortable.

I'd be interested in feedback from the men here; if there are no kids in the house, are you okay with working so your wife can have a comfortable life at home? Lunch with the girls at the country club, etc., etc.?

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 04:48 PM
I'd be interested in feedback from the men here; if there are no kids in the house, are you okay with working so your wife can have a comfortable life at home? Lunch with the girls at the country club, etc., etc.?

When I have stayed home, lunch with the girls was a rare treat. However, I have scraped, powerwashed, and painted houses, installed insulation, sewn clothing, tended a large and highly productive veggie garden, and had time to take my MIL to various appointments so my husband didn't have to take off work.

My efforts certainly made his life more comfortable in a number of ways. There is something to be said for being able to relax on the weekend.

linda22003
08-05-2008, 04:52 PM
When I have stayed home, lunch with the girls was a rare treat. However, I have scraped, powerwashed, and painted houses, installed insulation, sewn clothing.

I think I have to lie down after just reading that. I'd definitely prefer a full time job to doing any of that. :eek:

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:06 PM
She would adapt.
You have to look at it like this, stay at home wives do not know what it is like to have children, therefore they figure out differnet hobbies to do.
If all you know is a home with kids, you have NO idea what it is like to be without your children, because most of your time is consumed by the children.

Linda, I understand it is hard for you to imagine what you would do. That is probably because you have children. SO you are used to raising and taking care of them.

Think about what you did when you were a child during summer, you didnt have a job, school was out. What did you do?
I played with my sister, my friends, made up games.
but I also remember what my mother did while we were at school. Watched her soaps, met with friends, scrapbooked.

It is hard for us to imagine anything different because we are so used to the routine that we are in now.

If your routine includes a job and kids, you probably shouldnt consider switching to a stay at home wife.

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 05:12 PM
Linda, I understand it is hard for you to imagine what you would do. That is probably because you have children. SO you are used to raising and taking care of them.

(snip)

If your routine includes a job and kids, you probably shouldnt consider switching to a stay at home wife.


No offense, dude, but you don't know Linda Numbers very well. :D

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:12 PM
What does a woman with no kids do all day if she stays home? How much can you possibly cook and clean for two people?

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:21 PM
A woman can do whatever she wants while she is at home.

Why do you think the only thing a woman can do is cook and clean?

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:22 PM
A woman can do whatever she wants while she is at home.

Why do you think the only thing a woman can do is cook and clean?

Well I would hope that if she has no kids to raise and no job she is doing SOMETHING to contribute to the family. Isn't it supposed to be a PARTNERSHIP?

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:24 PM
So you are stating that it is the mans job to make all the money and the womans job is to feed him and clean up after him?

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:26 PM
So you are stating that it is the mans job to make all the money and the womans job is to feed him and clean up after him?

No. I am stating that marriage is a partnership of equals. If the woman wants to work, great! If she wants to raise kids, great! If she wants to do both, great!

But to have no kids, no job, AND refuse to do anything around the house seems a little, well, lazy wouldn't you say?

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:37 PM
No one said they were refusing to do work around the house.
You said earlier how much can a woman cook and clean, and I just want you to realize that she can do more than just cook an clean.

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:38 PM
No one said they were refusing to do work around the house.
You said earlier how much can a woman cook and clean, and I just want you to realize that she can do more than just cook an clean.

Well of course she can. I know that. I was referring to women staying at home with no job, no kids, and not doing anything around the house. That wouldn't be helpful.

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:42 PM
I concur. It would be counter-productive.

I was under the impression you believed she could do nothing else.

My mistake.

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:44 PM
I concur. It would be counter-productive.

I was under the impression you believed she could do nothing else.

My mistake.

If I were to suggest that, I would be found in a shallow grave in my backyard. :D

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:47 PM
Thats what I was trying to prevent!

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:48 PM
Thats what I was trying to prevent!

Haha. My wife runs this family. I may help pay the bills, but without her I would cease to function. All men know that. The smart ones, at least. :D

Shannon
08-05-2008, 05:56 PM
What does a woman with no kids do all day if she stays home? How much can you possibly cook and clean for two people?

No doubt. I have a kid and I run out of things to do after 2 or 3 days when I take a vacation.

SaintLouieWoman
08-05-2008, 10:01 PM
See, I'm just the opposite - I can't imagine how anybody could possibly be at a loss for interesting things to do outside the workplace. I only work for the money. While my work is entertaining and serves the public good in a very direct way, there's simply no way I'd do it for free.

It's vaguely possible that social interactions at my home might make a lasting (and favorable) impression on guests and friends but 2 weeks after I resign from work, my legacy there will vanish. I've seen it happen many times.
Ginger, I couldn't agree more. I've told them at work that it isn't my hobby; it's for the money. There are many things that I would rather do.

And there isn't much of an institutional memory for anyone at my company---or most places of employment. I'd really miss my customers, but could always keep in touch with them.

I'm planning to become more involved with many areas other than the zoo, such as the history museum, helping with some cutting edge programs for autistic kids, volunteering at the nursing home where I currently do the therapy dog thingy once a month, learning more about investments. I had a great uncle who invested wisely after his retirement and earned what at the time was a small fortune. I'm planning to enroll in some investment classes.

And I would dearly love to have more time to putter around in the garden and actually get it weeded properly.

Phillygirl
08-05-2008, 10:08 PM
I would go batshit crazy if I didn't work. Even if I had kids, I would work. If I won the lottery, I would work. There is just not that much interesting to me about keeping a house or "volunteering" my time.

Shannon
08-05-2008, 10:11 PM
I would go batshit crazy if I didn't work. Even if I had kids, I would work. If I won the lottery, I would work. There is just not that much interesting to me about keeping a house or "volunteering" my time.

Amen, sister, Amen.

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 10:20 PM
I would go batshit crazy if I didn't work. Even if I had kids, I would work. If I won the lottery, I would work. There is just not that much interesting to me about keeping a house or "volunteering" my time.

It takes all kinds. However, those of us who are interested in greasing the social and community wheels have our place. A world composed of workaholics is my big nightmare. There is a place for livelihood and careerism but it can't ever take the place of other types of real social interaction.

Most people will never be outstanding in their fields (male or female), they will never make a mark on the history pages or even the financial pages, they will never do anything outstanding or even notable in their careers. That's just the way it is. Paying attention to more basic needs meets a hunger that does last a lifetime even if it doesn't reach a million people.

Nobody ever whined about missing a few meetings or promotions on their death beds but a lot have whined about neglecting their families and friends. ;)

Phillygirl
08-06-2008, 08:01 AM
It takes all kinds. However, those of us who are interested in greasing the social and community wheels have our place. A world composed of workaholics is my big nightmare. There is a place for livelihood and careerism but it can't ever take the place of other types of real social interaction.

Most people will never be outstanding in their fields (male or female), they will never make a mark on the history pages or even the financial pages, they will never do anything outstanding or even notable in their careers. That's just the way it is. Paying attention to more basic needs meets a hunger that does last a lifetime even if it doesn't reach a million people.

Nobody ever whined about missing a few meetings or promotions on their death beds but a lot have whined about neglecting their families and friends. ;)
I agree that it takes all kinds. But the gardening, making meals on wheels for deals, and vacuuming to victory is just not my thing. I don't like homemaking, and while I absolutely love kids, staying home with them 24 hours a day is the 5th circle of hell for me.

Like anyone else, work can absolutely exhaust me and get on my nerves...but I honestly can't see myself not doing it. I always wanted to retire at 50, and still might consider it, but I have no idea what else I would do. Travelling the world is nice...when it's a vacation, not for me as a lifestyle.
,

linda22003
08-06-2008, 08:07 AM
Linda, I understand it is hard for you to imagine what you would do. That is probably because you have children. SO you are used to raising and taking care of them.

Think about what you did when you were a child during summer, you didnt have a job, school was out. What did you do?
I played with my sister, my friends, made up games.
but I also remember what my mother did while we were at school. Watched her soaps, met with friends, scrapbooked.


No, I don't have children. I never wanted them, and am lucky to live in a time when we have the technology to help us avoid what we don't want.
I'm considerably older than you, so I probably had much more freedom during the summer; I left the house after breakfast and wasn't home again until dinnertime.
My mother also worked full time. She was a teacher, my father was a college professor, and we all had nice long summers, including a house at the beach for six weeks or so every year.