I have received several comments and emails from ladies who told me stories that were truly heart-wrenching, about husbands that abandoned their families and left their wives to fend off for themselves, or husbands who unexpectedly died. The bottom line in all such recollections was that a woman must study a degree and hold on to a career throughout her life in order to secure her position, should something terrible happen to her husband.
I do not deny that tragedies happen and sincerely wish that neither I, nor anyone I know should ever suffer the loss of a husband, an illness, or other dire circumstances. I’ve never had to face such a situation so far and therefore am not the most suitable person to give advice on how one should conduct oneself when something like this happens, but I do have a general view, which could be summarized as following: we cannot allow ourselves to be led by fear, for that would be like spending our whole life in a bunker, out of concern that war might break out – and never seeing sunshine or smelling flowers. I think that would be a terrible waste.
If a woman’s dearest wish is to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, but she feels she ought to keep up with a demanding career at the expense of her family, just in case something might happen, I think something must be backwards here. It’s also worth mentioning that not all university degrees are practical, and certainly not all guarantee high-paying jobs (I think I have mentioned earlier how my ex-fellow students work for a meager salary). Also, having a job doesn’t guarantee you won’t lose it.
I think it’s perhaps worth to dedicate some thought to “what would happen if” (though certainly not allow all life decisions to be based upon it), and look what could be done. Ideas I can come up with off the bat is to have a good insurance, which would allow the family some financial “breathing time” in case of an emergency, and launching a home business which could be kept on a low burner and promoted further, if need be, to generate higher income. Of course I realize this isn’t always possible for everyone.
There are also professions which can be acquired in a relatively short period of time, through a course of practical studies, and which often pay better than college-degree professions, though they might not be very prestigious – and many of them can be pursued from home. Our local women’s hairdresser, for example, enjoys working from home while also spending time with her children. Investing in such a course of studies can be an option for a woman who suddenly finds herself in a situation when she has to fend for herself, in fact I know a woman who is doing so at the moment. She is in pain and confused, but doesn’t regret one bit the time she spent with her child while she could.
It’s not very pleasant to think about possible tragedies, however, I think that whatever happens in the future, I will never regret the time I spent as a stay-at-home wife and mother so far. These past years were very dear to me, and I think I grew and learned more than I did throughout my entire previous life.