Being an Educated Housewife is Possible

It was June of 2010, the congratulatory purple and golden yellow roses were still alive in the window silll from my undergraduate graduation when the first person asked, “When are you going to get a job?” It seemed as though that one person opened the flood gates for inquiries from all angles about my post graduation plans. “Don’t you want to work?” The questions came from both men and women across all social groups and generations via all modern avenues including email and social media sites.

Why would someone get a degree and then stay at home with their children?

I don’t understand why it is that people assume that because one is educated that they must be an economically active member of society. I believe that some people get an education to make money and others get an education to change the world. I’m the latter. My education is not going to waste simply because I am economically inactive. I don’t live in a hole. I am a socially active member of my community. I use the knowledge and skills I gained on a daily basis as a community volunteer and as I raise my children to be compassionate and productive members of society.

However, I have at times searched for work. Last summer, I was awake hours before my children each day, spending the wee morning hours writing cover letters and emailing resumes only to receive little response. In a 90 day period I applied to over 200 jobs within the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Region. I applied for positions within both the private and public sectors. At the end of the summer, my husband and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t meant to be. I believe that everything happens for a reason and for some reason, right now I am meant to be at home with my children.

However, the simple truth is that unemployment in our country has remained high and the economic situation remains grim. According to a February 1, 2013 press release by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for January 2013 was 7.9%. It is projected that 7.3% of adult women over the age of 20 remain unemployed. Also, 3.9% of those unemployed in our country have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

I am not the only person in this boat; there are many economically inactive and educated women at home caring for their families. I am not the only parent who chooses to stay at home and raise my children over head-butting others everyday in the name of a career. I don’t feel my degree is being wasted because I do plan to join the workforce, when I am ready, and when my children are ready. But because I have an education, I have the alternative of doing things on my schedule. It is not 1950. Today’s women have options.

Leah Sipress is a happily married stay at home Mom to two high energy little characters ages 2 and 4. She first started her blog,  to keep a digital scrapbook of her family’s activities for relatives out of state and has since found writing to be therapeutic. As a recent University of Washington Tacoma graduate with a BA in Urban Studies, and a community volunteer, she spends her spare time with her family enjoying the great outdoors and getting crafty by scrapbooking and sewing.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

  • Tish Grier

    Great post, Leah! When I decided to stop chasing the brass ring of “gainful employment” and stay home (without kids, in middle age) I started looking into the Home Economics Movement of the early 20th century and learned a great deal. Prior to WW2, the Home Economics movement taught that a woman had to know how to manage the household finances as well as cook a nutritious meal and make her children’s clothes (buying clothes for children was almost unheard of. Making them was easier and more frugal.) The purpose of the wife at home was to make a comfortable place where everyone was healthy and happy. The social engineering that took place after WW2 in order to create a paradise for returning soldiers simply created many bad situations for women (who saw they could, if given the opportunity, have options in life)The backlash to the 50’s resulted in the death of the Home Economics curriculum and the further diminishing of the role of stay at home wife. Which is why so many wonder how and why those of us who stay home actually do feel fulfilled. This is something of a turn-around from the old days when stay at home women thought working women were unfulfilled. When will women stop comparing one to another and be happy that we can choose the life we want, whether it’s stay and home and pursue other kinds of work (I’m writing full-time now) or go to work (and have a Mr. Mom…..I know several.) It’s really our decisions based on our desires, am I right? :)

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