Thursday, August 13, 2009

Disappointed in academics, desiring a change

I received an email from a young woman who spent several years pursuing a degree, only to find herself later with heaps of debt, feeling disappointed and cheated after trying to fit in with the idea that each woman must have a prestigious education and career in order to be considered accomplished. She kindly gave me her permission to share her testimony with you, so here it is before you.

I am a 23 year old American girl and I feel so torn in my life right now. You see, after high school, my parents pressured me into going to college even though I was only 17 and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life or what God wanted me to do with my life. They said I could never achieve any sort of success unless I went to college.

Four and half years later, I have a bachelors degree in American History, and owe thousands and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Let's just say the amount of student loan debt I am in is the equivalent of buying two new convertibles!

For the last five years or so, I have barely spent time at home. I went to college in two different states, switched college majors three times, and basically went through the motions of school to appease my parents and "make something of myself". I realize now, after wasting so much time, that I want to be a wife and mother. I want to stay at home and be the woman God meant for me to be.

I am currently in the process of moving back home with my parents, so I can prepare for my future husband and learn the valuable skills I missed out on while gaining my so-called "education".

Yet, I keep feeling that it is too late for me. I am so buried in debt right now. Will I ever be able to be a housewife? Will I even be able to ever find a man who follows the Lord and wants a stay at home wife? Will my huge student loan debt be too much for my husband? I feel so ashamed for the last four and half to five years of my life. I fell into all the feminist propaganda and right now I regret going to college at all!

My parents don't even know that I want to be a housewife! They keep telling me to find a career and make a game plan for my life and how I need to find a high paying job! Right now I am working two dead end jobs but...will they accept me for wanting to be a wife and mother? Will they scoff and laugh at me?

I asked the Lord to forgive me, and I know through His mercy that he can fix all of this and turn it around. He can give me a new start but I still can't help but feel I messed everything up.

Do you think it is too late?


Certainly, nothing is impossible to God and at 23, it's definitely not too late to make a complete turnaround in one's life. However, I can appreciate the difficulty of this young woman's situation, having gone in the pursuit of a degree myself long before I had decided what I wanted to do with my life, simply because it was expected.

I'm not saying that if a young woman feels she is called to be a wife and mother, she should not pursue an education, which might or might not include a university or college degree. However, it would be possible to make a careful plan and choose a path of education that would not leave her in debt later on, something that can become a burden on her future family.

For example, if a young woman would eventually like to become a full-time homemaker, there isn't much sense for her to go through the long years of hard work in medical school. She might also want to continue, if it is possible, to live at home with her parents so she can have more opportunities to hone her homemaking skills.

That is just to say, young women would be much better served to consider their educational choices in light of what they want to become in a lifelong perspective.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mrs. T. It is not to late for this woman. I worked for many years and lived on my own. I married my husband at 27 and became a stay at home wife. I had to learn a lot of skills by just doing them and they are easier now. God has blessed us with 5 children in 9 yrs of marriage. God also gave us the means to pay off my debt. My husband willingly helped me pay off my debt and he was very kind and encouraging as I learned home keeping skills. GOD will bless this young woman in His time as HE did me. Thank you Christy B

Amanda #1 said...

I see both the girl's point and her parents point. My advice (though admittedly unsolicited) would be to attempt to get a job in her field (though I'm not sure what one does with a degree in American History, short of teaching). Unless she has a marriage prospect on the immediate horizon, I see no reason to not get a job and attempt to begin making a dent in her debt.

This is not to say that I think she should give up her desire to be a housewife/SAHM, merely that she needs to do something in the meantime, and soon enough those loans are going to come due. While living at home with her parents and learning to be a wife is an admirable dream, the fact remains that the bills will have to be paid even without a husband.

I just feel what's done is done. She has the degree; it would be foolish to not use it, at least at this point in her life.

Anonymous said...

It's never too late!

I understand where this lady is coming from. I also went to college, mostly because my parents expected it, but I also had dreams of being a successful businesswoman someday. Unfortunately, once I hit the workplace I realized that having a career wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I did get married the year after graduation, and together we've been working to pay off student debt and credit card debt for both of us. So far we've not had any children, so I don't mind working away from home for now in order to pay off the debts, and in this way, I am being a helpmate to my husband and working towards the long-term happiness and stability of our household. The ultimate goal is to get to the point where I'll be able to stay at home full-time and just be a wife and homemaker.

So no, it's never too late. Sometimes things don't work out exactly as we would like them to, but they happen according to God's plan and timing. Don't lose hope!

Melissa D at DropTheBabyWeight.com said...

I think there are a few things going on here. Pressure to get the degree. Pressure to succeed at a high-paying job. And the debt. Finding a husband seems to be her main concern (not condemning her for it), but I'd say that by working on her first few problems she'll really bring her best self to the marriage table, so to speak.

Any job worked in honor and dignity can be done unto the Lord, even ones that we consider "dead-end." But perhaps this young woman could look for jobs that allow her to earn money and pay off her debt and also improve her skills as a homemaker. These could be service jobs in a restaurant, hotel or nursing home, or include nannying and babysitting for neighbors.

I will say this though, as someone who is finally paying off my student loan this year after 17 years of payments (!!!). Yes, I was pressured to make the loan. But I could have survived without it. I could have made it work. I could have been better at my own finances at 23, I could have pushed through to finish my graduate degree. But I sort of flaked out on seeing these things to the end, and for that I've had to repent and change. Feeling regretful, even sorrowful, isn't enough -- you have to pray and alter your behavior, and take responsibility for the decisions you let yourself be pressured into.

I hope I don't sound condemning, but I do have the voice of experience. Surrounding herself with spiritually and financially capable people may be a huge help in how she tackles future issues of work and debt.

Nancy Helen said...

To this young woman I would say, Be strong! Have faith! Every woman's journey is different. You can't live in regret, and there are lessons that can be learned from what you have gone through so far. This is your opportunity to finally step forward with confidence. A confidence that can be given by God alone. :)

Laura said...

My heart goes out to this young woman, as I would have been her if God hadn't directly intervened in my life. I was attending a University with all intentions of completing a degree and going to work. I bought into the feminist propaganda, and my parents pressure as well. God brought my husband (a pastor, no less) into my life my first year in college and completely turned my life around. We were married a year later and 4 months after that, blessed to find out that we were expecting our first child. Thankfully, God moved my life in such a way that I became a SAHM, without even intending too. My conviction followed later after realizing God's intent in marriage and family. Now with 2 children (ages 2 1/2, and 7 months), and the hope of many more, I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if God had not brought loving people into my life to show my the truth of His Word.

There is no guarantee that her parents will accept the fact that she "only" wants to my a stay at home wife and mother. My parents find it a very bitter pill to swallow, even as Christians. However, follow God's plan for your life, and blessings will follow!

Anonymous said...

Another vote for "It's not too late." You have made a wise decision to live with your parents. You can use most or all of your paychecks to pay off the debt and not have the higher living expenses you would have if you lived on your own. You may not be able to pay it all off before you are married, (hopefully Mr. Right will come along soon because you sound like you'll make a very good wife!) but just do the best you can.

My two cents, take it or leave it, is that it may be best not to speak of your desire to be a housewife to your parents. Of course I don't know them, but since they are pressuring you to get a high-paying career it sounds like they will not understand your decision to focus on the best career a woman can have, wife and mother. When you do marry and stay home instead of working, your parents will probably criticize you, but just remain strong in the knowledge that you are doing what will make you, your husband and your children happy. Come often to Anna's wonderful blog for encouragement!

May God bless you and give you peace.

Susan

Anonymous said...

Maybe this young woman could convey to her parents that she is feeling a bit burned out by the fast pace she has been keeping, and that she wants to take some time to "decompress" from the intensity. The "dead end" jobs she describes may be just the thing for now--because she does not have to "bring work home" either tangibly or mentally. During her time away from work, she could perhaps engage in activities that would prepare her for being a wife and mother: babysitting; helping another young mother with her children; studying about housekeeping(an excellent primer is Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelsohn--look for it at Amazon.com); learning some womanly arts, such as needlework, cooking, and home decorating--or even other creative arts, such as photography or creative writing; and getting involved in church and charitable activities, such as volunteering at a pro-life clinic.

This way, she would be making money to pay down her debt, but she would have enough mental energy left over at the end of the day to also invest in some creative activities that will serve her well as a wife. It may not be an easy or comfortable road, but the Lord will bless her!

Anonymous said...

I think this young woman is very similar to many of us today who grew up in the "everybody HAS to go to college" Baby-Boomer parent generation. My parents were the same, but they also expected me to move out (thus doubling the cost of college) and did not allow us to move back, ever.

So when I was 22, I was a teacher with $40,000 student loan debt making $28,000 a year, barely making ends meet and not making a dent into the debt. What is the purpose? I'm self-sufficient, but with mountains of financial baggage! No one wants to move home, but sometimes it's practical!

It's not too late for this woman. I met my husband at 24, married at 26, and am now pregnant and (almost) a SAHM, come May. The traditional dream is possible. Have hope.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I just wanted to offer a little encouragement to this young lady:

My husband and I lived *very* worldly lives before we became believers. My husband has three Ivy League degrees which meant a student loan debt load that was equivalent to the price of a decent house. At the time it didn't bother us because we both had careers, so making the four-figure monthly student loan payment wasn't a big deal. But when we found God and made the decision to turn our lives around, that debt started to seem awfully scary.

Without going into all the details, I'll just say that God did work it out. It's meant that our house is not as nice as our friends' houses who are at the same income level and we drive old cars and don't take nice vacations, but we have managed to live on one middle-class income under *enormous* student loan debt. Also, a series of miraculous events played out over the years that has meant that now we don't have much more left to pay off, so in a few years we'll be student loan debt free!

And I wouldn't be too worried about men being scared of your debt. I think that many, many young men would be *thrilled* to meet a woman so intelligent and open to new ideas and not hostile to traditional marital roles. (In fact, you man even want to consider getting on a dating website for people of your same faith -- we know many happily married couples who originally met their spouses through sites like that.)

I'll just end by saying: Trust in the Lord. He *will* bless your efforts to love and care for a family. Just keep praying, and follow where he leads you. You'll be in my prayers!

Laura said...

I went to college because my parents wanted me to also. Not to have done so would have caused a major rift in our relationships, and I preferred to submit to their preference and move away to school than to try to strike out on my own without an education. To stay at home against their wishes would not have been an option. They are under no obligation to give me free room and board, especially as non-believers.

Similarly, it seems reasonable to me that if she wants to be a SAHM she should try to get married. However, I think that if her parents are once again supporting her, she needs to do what they want, and if that means getting a job, that is what she should do. If she decides to tell them about her wishes and they agree to feed and house her while she prepares for marriage, then she should do that if she prefers.

Another option would be to move out and live, perhaps humbly, on her own means where she can decide how much time/energy to devote to work and also spend time planning for her chosen future. It is not too hard to live alone on a part time income if you cut out some non-essentials.

A liberal arts degree is useful for a lot of jobs that won't accept a high school graduate, but don't require specific technical training, like county or municipal government administrative positions, non-profit sector jobs, retail and production management, and the travel and tourism field. Basically, she has proof in her degree that she can manage her time, learn what the employer wants to teach her, and has the discipline to have got her degree in the first place, (which is no small feat and something to be proud of, rather than ashamed).

At 23 she can plan her life's path almost however she wants. Our host Anna's story proves that a thoughtful proactive young lady, even without the support of her parents can find a like minded husband and make her plans reality, but it won't just happen.

I wish this lady good luck, and whatever she chooses, I advise her to take personal responsibility for the life she would like to lead.

Zora said...

Why go to college? To get an education. Period.

Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten this point. Going to college (the very best college!) is suddenly about getting a job. It's upscale vocational tech. Unfortunately, that is not what we need.

We need persons (men and women) to be informed citizens and thoughtful persons, equipped to teach others through their example, to teach their children what it means to be an adult in the world.

Is this for SAHMs?? ABSOLUTELY! Parents are the primary educators of their children and that means being well-educated oneself. Please understand, I'm not saying everyone needs to rush off to Yale. I do believe that everyone needs a well-rounded, liberal arts education, which may very well be available at a nearby public college.

YMMV.

Anonymous said...

No, it is certainly not too late. If I can do it at age 23 without any proper training, she can definitely do it too! I am sure a lot of ladies here share the same experience, if not, definitely the same sentiment. :)

However, I would agree with the commenter who suggests her to try to get a job related to her degree, just so that she can start paying off her loan sooner. Since she is going to live with her parents, she will have the advantage of living rent-free, and most (if not all) of her income will be able to be put to pay the loan. Since she doesn't mention anything about having a prospective husband, I assume she is still single. So it all makes sense to just work now, so that once she meets the right man for her, her financial situation will at least be slightly "lighter".

Other than teaching, I am not quite sure what type of job she can get with a degree in American History, but my suggestion is to keep trying. I am sure something will turn up if she doesn't give up.

As far as learning the homemaking skills, she can do it after work and on the weekends. That's what's great about being single and realizing your homemaking call- you've got plenty of time to master the art without feeling any pressure. :)

So good luck to her! She's in my prayer.

W

jiabaoyu said...

Sounds to me like the girl lacked focus and went through the motion of attending school and getting a degree. Whether you want to work or stay home, what she did---changing schools, changing majors, racking up high debt with a nonmarketable degree----those were poor choices that would stymie anyone's start in life. It was probably better that she spent a gap year to plan her future rather than diving in like that.

Right now, she needs to focus on saving money and paying down her debt. Prince Charming may come and pay her debt but it may be years down the line. Debt won't wait. She is doing the right thing by moving home, working and saving money.

I believe all women, regardless of whether she wants to work or not, needs to have a skill set in case she needs it. Life can throw curveballs at you, and you need to be prepared to take care of self and family when/if it happens.

I had a friend who was of similar mindset. She changed majors and schools multiple times to find her 'true passion'. Her ultimate goal was to have a family and be able to stay home with them for a while.

Anyways, She eventually married and was very eager to quit her job and start a family. Despite acquiring a masters degree, she decided to not pursue a career and focus on preparing for the baby's arrival.

Only problem was, it coincided with the dead end economy. Her husband was laid off twice during their five year marriage. Even though she planned all her life to stay home for her kids, she found herself having to work fulltime to support her family while her husband looked for a job. They can't afford a house b/c it is substantially beyond their price range and they can't have a second child due to finances.

Now, she is struggling to work fulltime, be a mom, AND study for her job so she can land another job after her current temp position ends. Her husband still hasn't found a job and unemployment will run out soon.

The sad thing is, it didn't have to be this way. She could have acquired the skill set to allow her to jump into the workforce should the need arise.

Wanting to be a good mother and making career plans is not mutually exclusive. Sometimes a good mother IS one that provides for her family. And even the best of plans can be laid to waste. Everyone in today's world needs to be ready to take on the economic load. Even those that planned on staying home.

Anonymous said...

I think a large part of the problem is that at 18 young people are going to college and encouraged to study something that interests them, rather than thinking about the big picture. And to disregard the cost of education.

While not all of us women are going to be homemakers, keeping the idea of marriage and family in mind is good.

Perhaps this lady can look into avenues such as teaching which would provide some income and if she does find a man to marry, then is the time to revisit the idea of staying home.

Just a different perspective!!

Nurse Bee

Ivy in the Kitchen said...

Oh my goodness, this young woman sounds so much like me in all respects except the debt; thankfully my parents are very opposed to getting into debt. I was pressured to go to university and get a career for as long as I can remember, as in I had career plans by 2nd grade and began thinking about colleges in 5th grade. I'm grateful my parents wanted me to get an education, but at the same time, I didn't have options - it was 4 year degree or bust. My mother ardently believes that a clean house is the sign of a wasted life, her marriage isn't a model one - it wasn't until a year and a half ago I even wanted to be a wife period, and even more recently have I begun to feel called home, so to speak.

If it's not too forward, might I offer some advice? Moving home isn't a bad idea, especially if you can get a job nearby; it's just more efficient so this young lady can put more money to canceling the debt. Normally, it would be best to be a daughter at home, but her parents sound so adamant about a career, if she tries it, she'll have evidence to back up why she dislikes it. I know that's where I'm headed in May upon my graduation :/ Another thing about having a job vs. being in school, is when you clock out, that's it (at least in my work experience). There's no study, homework or papers to be done during every waking moment. No, she won't be able to devote as much time to learning homemaking, but it should be easier. Another thought is learn a skill or two that can make money from home - goods from gardening, baking and canning are often sold at farmer's markets (in my area at least; check legality and tax requirements first); sewing and crochet work can be sold privately or on etsy (personally, I just started crocheting a month ago, it's not that hard to pick up initially); and finally, with a degree in American History, there is always the possibility of tutoring local students, with the U.S. schools the way they are, the kids probably need a bit of one-on-one attention. With prayer, hard work and patience, things will work out as He intends.

Sorry to be so long winded about this; the more I see of the college machine the less I think of it.

-Ms. H.

Anonymous said...

I certainly can feel this young woman's frustration. It probably all looks so bleak to her....she is tiredtiredtired of school....the jobs she's holding right now don't seem to pertain to her degree.

I have read the comments, & some of them parallel what I'd like to offer:
Work hard at the jobs she does have, even if there seems to be no future with them.
She needs to begin paying off the student loans, & sooner is better than later with those!
She never knows where "Mr. Right" is or when she'll meet him, & she needs to maintain as positive an attitude as she can about where she is in life (or, put another way, no one likes a grump). She will be better marriage material, to put it bluntly, if she shows a prospective mate that she has what it takes to meet life's challenges.
She should take every opportunity, while at home with her parents, to practice her homemaking skills. If her work regimen is not one that requires her to work evenings she could cook dinner for her parents couple nights a week, & on weekends she could tackle some housekeeping tasks. If she is able to schedule some of this she will probably feel more in control of things.

I wish her the best of eveything. It's not too late for her...oh no! She may feel quite stressed at times, but her situation is NOT hopeless!

God's blessings,
Brenda

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

I feel this young woman's pain. I also went to college to obtain a degree in the hopes of a high paying job because my parents really wanted me to, but like this young woman, I kept switching majors and changing my mind because I never wanted this. I spent 5 years in a junior college and 2 1/2 years in a university. I NEVER obtained the "high paying job" that my parents dreamed about for me. Fortunately, my parents paid for my education, so I wasn't in debt, but I believed the folly that a college degree automatically equals a "high paying job," and that is simply NOT the case!

At any rate, I can understand the young woman just wanting to get married and have children. I don't want to give "foolish" advise, so I will have to pray for her that the Lord will guide her and give her the strength she needs to get through this difficult time in her life.

Anonymous said...

This woman is a young adult.

There is no need to tell her parents about her wish to be 'just' a housewife. It is irrelevant now, and will just annoy them and cause friction.

Obviously she needs to get a job, as high a paying one as she can!!! She has debt to pay off. No husband is on the horizon, volunteering to pay it, and when a potential suitor does come along, I'm sure he'll be much happier if that debt has been reduced. Working to reduce the debt is a sign of an industrious woman. Hanging around the house helping mom while the debt gains interest is the sign of a parasitic woman. Who wants that?

Moreover, she plans to live with her parents, who want her to get a job, and a good one at that. A person who is independent (ie, lives alone and supports himself) can decide what to do in life. A person who lives at home and is dependent on family must take that family's opinion into serious consideration. If she stays home and earns nothing when her folks want her to get out there and make a respectable living, well...I won't mince words....they will view her as a leach.

Being a full-time homemaker is an admirable occupation, but really irrelevant for this girl at this stage of her life. As a previous poster said, the advantage of being single and childless is that she can learn all the homemaking skills in her free time.
Tammy
ps....of course it's not too late for her. Life is a seasonal thing, there are stages. She just needs to work things out now so she can eventually fulfill her dream. And she needs to do it in a way that will not alienate her family.

Katy said...

Oh! How I wish kids would stop getting degrees in history and drama!

(I realize that this is off topic...but thinking about mounds of debt for an essentially useless degree...AARG!)

If Fairy Princess wants to go to school I am hoping it will be for nursing or something that actually will lead to employment.

Katy said...

And...aside from my personal rant on higher education...should the young lady not be commended for doing as she was directed from her parents?

Tracy said...

It's easy to see way so many women feel torn! Being a wife and mother are never considered as options. I'm home as much as can can be and I home school my children. When I work it's two days a week at the most and that is when my husband is home. I still get pressured to go back to work full time. I tell my family if I could I would be home full time! My husband and I made bad choices in handling our money in the beginning of our marriage and we are still paying for it! We even sold our first house because we felt that my going back to work full time was not healthy for our children. We live in a semi-detached house (a old one) and we drive old cars too. We are working on getting things straightened out. I feel we are doing the best we can given our situation. I'm happy to say no one has raised my children but their own parents. God is faithful. Our situation is not perfect but we still put our family first. I wish I would have know about this stuff when I was young but never heard of it. It is so wonderful of you to get the word. Hopefully young women will see being home is a great option.
May God bless you Anna. You are wise beyond your years!
Tracy
http://sammybogart.blogspot.com

andrea said...

I think a good path to take (if you want/must get an education beyond high school) for an aspiring home maker is becoming a teacher. Although, the downside is that it's a job you take home with you, so you have to be disciplined.

But once the kids get old enough, your hours are their hours at school. Or if you homeschool, you'll be better equipped to train them.

Then, if you want to stay home, but still make a bit of money or stay sharp, you can always tutor, or give lessons, or substitute.

That's what I'm pursuring at the moment. I desire to be married and stay home--but financially, right now I need to work in order to be able to do that in the future.

Anonymous said...

I feel for this young lady. Some ppl have commented on her degree not being marketable.. these days, I think a lot of degrees out there arent! Even with my supposedly "marketable" degree, I have problems finding a job due to low demand where I live. Unless i move(not an option)..

I hope she will be able to work, settle her debts while living with her parents. I just think that women in our generation have so much expectations placed on them. I know this isnt the case for some women but for me, I grew up being told that it was an absolute must to attend university and get a degree. Then comes the job, the husband and child. Then I either give up my job for a while or send my child to daycare/babysitter while I work full time.

If I chose to be a SAHM, Im wasting my degree/abilities. Im seen as someone who is leeching off my husband. B/c I have a degree so why arent I making good use of it?
If I put my child into daycare, Im a bad mother. And yes, I would feel like a bad mother, esp for the first 4/5 years as I'd want to be home, taking care of my child instead of dumping him/her at someone else's.
But no, Im supposed to have it all. All of nothing much.

Anonymous said...

To this young lady: It is not too late! I am 30 and still not married. I went to college for a time but got fed up with the brainwashing, the debt and social drama that revolved around it. Now, of course an education is not a bad thing at all, but how people are encouraged to go about attaining it, is misleading. For instance, you can pursue a trade program that last less that a couple of years and landing a high-paying job with little debt. Also, some college majors are dead end in terms of landing a job soon after graduating. I majored in fine art for a while and got sick, had to leave school. I later realized what a waste it would have been to acquire so much debt for a major that holds little guarantee in the job market. Many jobs, especially in self-employment, require no degree. In a nutshell, keep the faith and don't give in to the worldly pressures.

Bethany said...

I want to encourage this young woman that God can use her years in college for beneficial purposes; He does not count them as merely "wasted years". She can share her story with others, and encourage them as well.

Don't give up hope! Our God is in the business of redemption, and He will lead you if you follow after Him. Not everyone has an identical life, and that is how we learn from each other and hear different opinions on the matter.

Also, although I would love to be a wife and a mother, I am currently pursuing a college education in nursing, because I feel strongly led that that is where God wants me right now.

I still have time to practice cooking, baking, sewing, thrify shopping (saving up and purchasing on-sale household items), knitting, crocheting, cleaning, child-care, ironing and other wifely tasks. Although I am not devoting all of my time to these activities, I am still becoming versatile in them and feel that I will be well-equipped when I become a wife someday, although I do not have a courter/boyfriend or fiancee right now.

Just wanted to share a little of my life. Thanks for bring up topics like this, Anna!

Anna said...

Thanks for this post. I'm seventeen now, and will graduate high school next year. What an encouragement to know that there are other girls who felt pressured by parents to attend college! Being under my parents' roof still, I feel obligated to do what they want, even if it's not what I wish. But I'd have to move out on my own, I think, in order to get away with not 'doing' anything, and that would be too scary.

Thanks again for posting this. Also thanks to everyone who's commented. I will ponder on that during the next year.

Anonymous said...

This is a little off subject, but I would be interested in hearing your perspective.

I went to college with many older ladies who were starting college after their children were grown or at least school-age. My own mother married young, was not allowed to attend college after high school, and went back and got her degree several years later. I realize you write from the perspective of a young wife and mother and obviously you are inclined to focus on your home. What do you think of older women who, in a different season of life, are interested in education and a career?

Nurse Bee

Cassandra said...

This letter sounds like one I could have written.

To the letter-writer: No, it's not too late. I have tons of student loan debt but didn't even finish my four year degree. My husband also has student loan debt. However, I'm a housewife. :) Money is tight but we feel that God has led me to stay at home. We're slowly but surely paying off our debts and we make progress every month. It's not easy by any means, and I wish I would have made different decisions regarding loans, but it's still doable. Don't give up hope!

Anonymous said...

This may end up being a potential blessing for this young woman.

Why?

If she chooses to homeschool her children, she has the education that can help support her as she is teaching her children. If she doesn't homeschool, she is equipped to support her children in their education.

This is also a lesson in money management. If she is able to manage to tackle on her debt, know the true "cost" of money, then she has the potential to manage and be responsible for family finances as well.

I believe that Lord has a purpose for each and everyone one of us, even down to the smallest detail in our lives. My only advice is this: Though things seem tough right now, learn the life lessons you need to so that you are equipped later in life. Follow your parents wishes until you marry, but after you are married you are not obligated to stay in the "rat race" unless your husband voices he is unable to support the family. You never know when you'll be glad you have that degree.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

First, education is never a waste, IMO. I can understand regretting the student debt, but the education itself is not a waste.

Second, what's wrong with working right now while waiting to find the right person to marry? A girl doesn't necessarily have to set out with a grand career in mind, but it's not a bad idea to try to find something within the studied field. It's good resume material, if nothing else. And of course, it can help with whittling down that student debt.

Third, there is nothing at all wrong with wanting to be a stay-at-home wife. I've been one for 10 years now, and it's very rewarding.

Fourth, you should always have a contingency plan. What if you never get married? What if your husband dies? my degree and work experience are like a fallback plan for me. My husband's kidney disease prevents him from getting much life insurance, as no one wants to insure someone who might die. (I find that totally ironic, btw.) Should something ever happen to him, it's not enough to carry me for more than a year or so. My degree and work experience will be very important in allowing me to go back to work should I ever have to. So, that goes back to my first point that education is never a waste.

Fifth, your parents might not understand. My dad was very upset with me when I quit working to be a SAHW. That's okay. It was a decision between my husband and me. My parents didn't have to agree with it; they just had to accept it. While you're unmarried, does it really matter what they think about your future hopes? I don't mean that to sound callous, but what you do with your life once you're married is between you and your husband. If they're expecting you to work now while you're at home, then honor that, especially as you do have student debt. But in no way does that mean you've messed up your life or anything of that sort.

Sixth, assuming God has marriage in mind for your future, he has the right man for you. Don't fret about finding him. It'll happen. :-)

CappuccinoLife said...

Oh, I feel for that girl.

I was sick of academics by 12th grade. I wasn't learning much. I learn better on my own, and enjoy it! As it happened, I did meet my "Prince Charming" and we married when I was 19, and I"ve been a SAHM since. :)

Unfortunately, the young lady that wrote does not have a potential husband but does have a lot of debt. Given her dreams and desires, I understand how frustrated she must be. I would encourage her, though, to live with her parents, get the best job she can, and pay down that debt as fast as she possibly can. It would be wonderful if she found her life's mate within the next 6 months, but that's not a wise thing to bank on. Instead of pining for the future, we need to be careful that we are living in the "now", taking care of our current responsibilities and obligations, rather than just longing for future, different responsibilities.

Sarah said...

Hi,

It seems like many readers are opposed to the idea of this young woman being a stay-at-home daughter. Is this true? I'm a bit confused as to how it is noble to be a stay-at-home wife or a stay-at-home mother, but not a stay-at-home daughter.

I also don't understand the attitude that seeking marriage at this point is unnecessary. If that is to be the primary focus of the young woman's life, then I see no reason why that can't be her primary focus now, as well. I think getting married requires focus, attention, and preparation, and working at a job may be a parallel, but it need not be the primary focus of her life at this point.

In summary, I believe it is perfectly okay to be a stay-at-home daughter, and I also believe it is perfectly okay to have marriage (not a job) as a central project in life, even before marriage.

As a side note, getting a job is not the only way to make money. There are alternatives, such as starting a business and investing.

Thanks for listening!

Seung said...

No one can foresee the trajectory of his life. It's all too easy to get wrapped up in half-seen dreams and beautiful fantasies -- which, although lovely, are neither realistic nor useful -- only to find that in the end, none of it mattered for anything. As a (male) resident physician, I see my fair share of female medical students who are burnt out and who have by now come to the awful realization that they have systematically lied to themselves about the compatibility of this career with a family. One of them was telling me the other day that her mother flat-out refused to teach her how to cook when she was younger, because she never wanted her daughter doing anything so demeaning as cooking for a man. It turns out that in her heart of hearts, she'd rather be at home (cooking for her man, even) than out here on the wards from early in the morning until past midnight every day. But in her mind it is too late -- her debts are too high -- and so she continues. Hers is not an uncommon story; I have seen and heard and interacted with its like too many times.

To the young lady: do not despair! I don't think words like "impossible" and "too late" even exist in our Lord's vocabulary; we serve a God for whom anything is possible. Godly men who want stay-at-home wives are more common than you'd think -- as long as you're not looking for perfection. And above all, our Lord has the power to turn setbacks into victories, tears into laughter, dead ends into endless horizons. Your experiences of the last four years were not for naught -- perhaps they were necessary for you to come to your conclusion about your proper place in life. Hold on to that.

It's always darkest before dawn.

Anonymous said...

I am an old grandpa, but I have watched young women, and think I do have some advice to share.

Large corporations have a thing called Affirmative Action which means qualified women are virtually guaranteed good jobs if they follow the program. I mean large companies like Rockwell International; Northrup; etc.

They start you in as an admin (which we used to call secretary/book-keeping) and if you keep your nose to the grindstone, and take job postings, it is common to be making $40,000 in five years after becoming full-time. (Women tend to voluntarily quit their jobs on average after 2.5 years whereas for men it is an average of ten years.)

Basic Computer skills. Office; etc. Think high-paid corporate paper-shuffler. In the company where I retired, the woman in charge of production computer systems had a degree in Botany, and we could tell it. Meanwhile, a young man, brilliant with a degree in Computer Sci worked 4 hours a day tweaking automated test systems with no benefits.


Yeah, this is why your men can't find work, but that is another topic.

If there is a large company near you, get those computer skills, and apply at the temp agency which hires temps for them. Frankly, I would expect most college grads today to be computer literate.

Next, the marriage issue. The book LADY IN WAITING is written for women telling them they are not ready to be married until they have found a suitable life without marriage.

I think it's this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Waiting-Developing-Your-Relationships/dp/1560438487 But I am not sure. Still, two female authors, seems likely.

The authors explain that no woman is ready to marry until God thinks she is ready. And, women who are desperate to marry are seldom ready. Get your life in tune with Christ first, with no expectation of ever marrying, then you will be ready and can be a good wife. Women who marry in a hurry also divorce in a hurry, and Christian woman have the same divorce rate as non-Christian women.

I agree with education for SAHM, however schooling is not always the same as education. Here in Mexico, my best friend is a 55 year old woman, a brilliant woman, self-educated. Her dad pulled her out of school after primary, saying women don't need education. I tell the fathers, your grandkids' first teacher will be their mother!

Anonymous age 67

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

No matter what we do, planning with the end in mind is the way to go. We cannot know our route to a destination if we dot not HAVE a destination in the first place...

MarkyMark

Rachel said...

While I do not see anything wrong with being a SAHD, I say that with the proviso of "debt free". The young lady here has a mountain of debt. She can still work on her homemaking skills when she is not at work 'outside', while putting money on that debt. She can learn the value of bookkeeping and budgeting, the joy of seeing those number peel back...the way 'self-sacrifice' and 'self-denial' aren't so bad when you have a really good reason/goal focused on...

Maybe get a job at a fabric store, or a craft store--lots of interesting possibilities for homemaking there--general sewing, more specific sewing (upholstering, clothing, quilting), knitting, crochet...MANY possibilities! I realize that those are not the most high paying jobs, but every penny helps! And with a discount, it might make practicing some of those skills a bit easier to practice...

If nothing else, get a 9-5 M-F job, and maybe work a weekend job at a craft store...gain in skills on the weekend, and put more money away from the M-F job...

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I don't think people are necessarily against the stay-at-home-daughter thing. (Okay, admittedly, I think it's a little strange, but each family can do things the way they want to.) The issue seems to be that the parents expect the daughter to get a job. You can't do the SAHD thing if the parents aren't on board with it.

The other issue is that the young lady has student debt. Incurring student debt implies that the parents either couldn't or wouldn't pay for college, and the daughter is expected to pay that off. So again, a girl can't be a SAHD if she has debts that need to be paid, and she's the only one to do it.

I would like to concur with Anonymous Age 67 on the recommendation of the book Lady in Waiting. It's a very good book. I've used bits and pieces from the book with my youth-group girls at times.

Katy and Chris said...

Oh, am I ever against the stay-at-home-daughter idea. I embrace her desire to ultimately be a wife and mother, but her choices to this point have added complications, and she needs to take responsibility for them. She is not looking at being a wife tomorrow, from what I can determine, so why would she not want to decrease the burden on her future family now? Even if she is working a dead-end job, she can decrease debt, and use the time to reassure herself that this is the path she wishes to take. She seems to have changed courses many times, so perhaps the more thought she can put into it, the better!