It takes two
There are still some young people today who do not seem to realize that their combined efforts are required in order to be successful and to achieve relationship bliss.
I know that many housewives state it is a choice that they stay home to foster parenting to their children. And some husbands, wives or partners may be able to provide for a stay-at-home partner. But what happens, if your partner dies? Or, most importantly, are you financially able to survive if you incur exorbitant medical bills because of a disability, illness or disease to your partner?
Few families may operate with a partner staying at home. If a disaster may happen, it causes undue stress and financial burdens for a family to continue the lifestyle in which they have been accustomed. The day of the chauvinistic partner who wishes his wife barefoot and pregnant and to stay out of the business world has ended. The era of 50’s and the 60’s has ended and one may no longer mold their lifestyles to those their parents have had.
Likewise, in the United States our lifestyles differ from European families who work and live together for the benefit of the family. And, our employers do not provide a year off with pay for paternity or maternity leave.
Since I have never been a white picket fence type of individual because of an uncanny drive for success which is achieved by me and not on the shirt tails of a loved one, you are welcome to provide your rebuttal. But, look around you. There are facts which warrant a partnership to work together.
One young couple attempted to have a child for the sake of appeasing a parent. It was not a case where the couple considered finances in advance of attempting to conceive a child. Finally a beautiful daughter was born but with complications and medical bills soared. The husband was attempting to secure a position in the ministry but in the meantime took a retail position so that he would have medical insurance. The wife had a college education and could have been a teacher. However, the husband felt it was best that his wife stay at home with their daughter. It did not appease the husband’s parents either because it was a granddaughter and not a grandson to carry on the family name.
Bills started soaring and when the couple could not secure a conventional loan because of poor credit, they contacted a loan shark for money against a vehicle which they owned. The problem was the interest rate which was usury. Finally the loan shark called in the loan, ready to repossess a vehicle. A friend of the family was able to bail this young couple out temporarily, but what would have happened if someone would not have stepped forward? The husband’s parents were unwilling to assist in any way and perhaps could not have loaned the money. And, by this time, the child was healthy and older. Did the couple ever intend to make up the small installments in a seven year term at a half percent interest? To my knowledge, it was never the intent for them to pay the money back.
In this scenario, if the husband would have allowed his wife to work as even a temporary teacher or teacher’s aid, there would have not been as much pressure on the husband, whether or not an ego existed. Or perhaps, a business such as a child care facility could have been started by his wife in their home. There would have been less pressure on the one, if another was available to pick up the slack.
And you may state, I do not wish to leave the rearing of my child to a child care facility. Well, perhaps, then you may be the perfect parent. I did not consider myself to be perfect. I knew my faults and weaknesses and did not wish to formulate those upon my child. I looked to a day care center (a good one) as providing the education and human interpersonal relationships that may have differed from my own. The after work hours, the time I spent with my child as did her father became more beneficial. By the time our child was two and one-half years old, she was able to recite the alphabet and read simple words relating to children’s practice worksheets. It paid off, because at the age of 10, she was able to communicate with adults and take responsibility for her own actions which has made her a phenomenal dynamic adult.
Yes daycare expenditures took the majority of my pay initially, but a career was just as important, not only to my self-esteem but to further my education in the event, there may be that day when I may need to rely on my own resources.
Even of those friends of mine who could easily have stayed home because of a successful partner, did not. They realized the cost of a future education for their children and desired to invest in stocks or in real estate and live a more fruitful life by working together toward specific goals. Others in the political or social arenas utilized their education by involvement in social or charitable activities whether as a volunteer or a part-time paid worker.
I have seen too many partners who find it too easy to become involved in a rut. The working partner arrives home to complaints of the stay-at-home partner who may feel their life is too difficult. It is too difficult to maintain household chores; it is too difficult to stick to a budget to place money aside; it is too difficult to keep up with the Jones’s and there are complaints that their working partner is not making enough money to sustain life as the stay-at-home partner would wish. The stay-at-home partner may not even be able to balance a checkbook or may spend money which the partnership does not have.
There is a further lack of communication. While the working partner is involved in the business world on a daily basis, the stay-at-home partner may only have information on what the children did that day; gossip about the neighbors; what needs to be repaired in the house; what weeds need to be pulled and what gardening and landscaping needs to be performed by the working partner. No wonder the divorce rate is up. The working partners in most cases lose their friend…a friend who they may discuss their business day with…a friend who may discuss business and politics and handle simple accounting practices…a friend who spends sometime in the outside world, whether a charitable event or volunteer work and a friend who shares responsibility by handling outdoor work and repairs. And for the mere few stay-at-home partners who run a tight ship and work toward common goals with your spouse, my hat is off to you. You are a few in thousands who acknowledge that your job is one of maintaining your household and retaining an appreciation for your working spouse, who also has his or her own set of special difficulties each day.
Those of the age of retirement in today’s age have realized the importance of a strong partnership and what transpires if one was a weak link. Too many seniors had stay-at home wives and if their income was not substantial, they were unable to do the many things they may have been capable of doing. They become stressful and do not handle the appropriate diets for their health and wellbeing, thereby, becoming overweight and ill as a result. They count on the medications prescribed and as a result one medication may turn into three or four because they need to offset the initial medications with another medication. Budgets become unbearable and all of a sudden, the pension plan the working spouse earned throughout his or her lifetime becomes meager and all of a sudden, one must work again to supplement their incomes.
I have seen too many seniors in dire straits living from Medicare check to Medicare check. And, if a spouse dies, it leaves the remaining spouse with nothing, except to ask their children if they can live with them. And what about the 50% which require nursing care? Costs in a nursing home soar. You may lose your house, your means of support, and be subject to Medicade, if a long term policy was not considered far in advance of such nursing care being required.
For those seniors who considered their future as did my parents, my hats are off to you. My mother had a college education and similar to others after the World War II era, my father desired my mother to stay at home. She assisted him in the farming operations until he had children who were at age to assist. My mother always yearned to work outside of the home, but her education assisted her in that she handled all the financial planning, investments and taxes, while my father did the physical work, which she assisted him with, when necessary. She was a saver and one who saw beyond the aspects of being just a stay-at-home mom. They had a great communication and love between them and as a result have built their own estate. And even today as they are older, they still work together to maintain their farm premises and enjoy the time they spend together.
Today as the recession nears, my hats are off to those partners who have saved for a rainy day, least one partner loses a job, and the other partner may be able to pull the weight. Not surprisingly, those partners who work together stay together as friendship and love grows.
So before you complain because your spouse is working late at the office or on weekends, consider what you may be able to do to assist him or her to make their life more fruitful and enjoyable at home. They are doing what they can do but are you?
Enjoy the time you have together and share the good and the bad. It will payoff in the long run. Remember what it was that attracted the two of you to begin with. Remember, the plans you have made together and if a pitfall arrives, your friendship and love will be able to sustain any problems you may have.