Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tragedies do happen

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.


Anonymous said...

This very thing happened in our family when I was 11. My Father just suddenly died with no warning. My Mom was a stay at home Mom. They had very good insurance which gave her breathing room and then a year later she returned a company she had worked for just out of highschool, with a little additional studying at home she secured a better job and did very well the rest of her life, it would have been a foolish thing to have worked all those years she was home with us "just incase" .

Leah Brand-Burks said...

"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."
This is like my motto for LIFE! Love it! Thank you, Anna!

Sharon said...

I am one of those women. About three years ago, I suddenly found myself a single mother. Thankfully, I was able to support myself by providing childcare in my home; it didn't pay much, but as I'd spent my married years perfecting my frugality skills, I was able to make it work. And I was able to stay at home with my two small children.

I now live with my family, who value stay-at-home motherhood and are willing to support me so that I can stay at home with (and homeschool) my children until they are a bit older. If I needed to support myself again in the future, I would probably do childcare again, and supplement my income by selling handmade items online.

THE Princess Bombshell* said...

My husband and I sat down with our financial planners (same faith as we are) and invested in really wonderful life insurance. His is more than mine, obviously.

His is enough to cover funeral expenses, to live off during that rough time, to pay off any debt, AND enough for me to invest and to live off that income-- which would make it possible for me to stay home and continue to home educate our children and fulfill my domestic role.

My insurance is enough to do the same, except not enough for him to live off of forever-- BUT enough for him to invest and so he would not have to work AS much so he could raise his children.

We are both satisfied and content with those plans. A lot more peace.

Bonnie said...

Hi Anna! I don't have much time to read blogs these days, but I am always glad to see a post from your blog in my 'feed' :)

This whole idea of mums having to work or have a good education seems to be a Northern Hemisphere thing! In Australia there is heaps of training you can do without ever going to uni, and it's much more practical. If someone wants to learn some sort of 'trade', they can go to Technical and Further Education centres, or community colleges. I have up to a Cert IV, and other certificates in various subjects. All of which I could use in the workforce. They only take a year or so to do, and are not as expensive as Uni/College.
Of course uni is pushed alot here too, but not to the extent that it is in the USA and Europe it seems.

Sadly I've even seen young homeschooled adults claiming that they will not marry someone who hasn't studied at college!!

Anonymous said...

The reason that this question comes up so often is of course that this is a fairly common phenomen. It happens all the time and the woman who tries to pick up the pieces of her life and dreams will try to warn her sisters. Sad but true. I´ve seen it happen so many times, and have acyually started to completely loose faith in men. It´s like they are not meant to last. I also have began to wonder if the burden of being the main breadwinner simply is to much for most men. The idea of sending your young child to daycare is of course a reason for most women to take this risk. But having an education and a long term plan if worse comes to worse is A MUST!!


Persuaded said...

As you know Anna dear, our family has been visited with just this sort of tragedy, in that my husband left me with a houseful of children over a decade ago... and the Lord has provided for us very well. Although I do have a college degree and although I have- at times over the years- worked outside of the home, for the most part I have been able to remain a homemaker. Praise the Lord♥ I've learned a few interesting things over these years... it really is true that working outside of the home is not necessarily in a family's best economic interests. When I had an outside job, I was frequently behind on my bills, even though I had more money coming in. Having a job, a commute; having children in public school and outside activities is expensive! There are daycare costs, additional fuel and car expenses. I "needed" a professional wardrobe and my children needed more stylish clothing to fit in with the kids at school. They were constantly coming home with notices from school demanding money to pay for this or that "required" something or other. We ate out frequently or had convenience foods at home. But once I came home, I found our expenses dropped markedly- we live on about half what we used to when I worked, and we live better than when I worked, lol. I sew. I cook from scratch. We homeschool and live a small but happy life.

Although these tragedies are usually a shock to us, it's important to remember that they are no surprise to the Lord. If we trust in Him and do our best to follow His leading, He will prepare us to deal with whatever comes up in our lives. Here's an example from my own life: due to what I felt was prompting from the Lord, I got my degree in Early Childhood Education when I was a young woman. At that time, that particular degree was looked at as a very frivolous one and very impractical. All of my advisers strongly urged me towards a broader degree, perhaps in Elementary Ed, but I stuck with Early Childhood ed. And now, several decades later, wouldn't you know it; folks with a degree in Early Childhood Ed are a very hot property, and that degree coupled with my own particular life experience has made it very easy for me to find work- even to be able to do consulting work from my home. The Lord knew exactly what my future held and He prepared me perfectly for the challenges my life would have.

I think the kernel of the issue is, as you so clearly stated, whether we choose to live our life in a state of fear or a state of trust. Trust in Him. No matter how proactive we try to be, how wily and wise our choices seem to be, we will never be able to prepare for our future adequately, because we don't know what our future holds. Releasing control and living a life of obedience to God and trust in Him is the absolute best preparation for unforeseen tragedies... because after all, those tragedies are not unforeseen to Him♥

Analytical Adam said...

It was FAR more common in the past for both men and women to die in middle age and people got remarried and societies and others helped when someone was a widow.

There is NOTHING wrong with a woman working in general although it isn't their "primary responsibility" and in leviticus in chapter 27 it does recognize a woman having some value in the supply and demand world.

The bigger problem is that the woman want to take away the man's role and most of the male religious leaders undermine men who aren't part of their clique at every turn and that is the issue and most of the community spend their time helping women who want to hurt men and not the few women who have a legit problem not of their own making.

Most of the women who marry irresponsible men know this in the first place and don't want a man that is responsible because they want to do everything themselves.

I myself no longer trust male Rabbi's as most of their power came from the political environment in Babylon and the hatred of men is part of the religious culture and nobody cares. I support people like Nehemia Gordon who also sadly is an unmarried man.

Kimberly said...

To me, the idea that you should have a back up, that getting your degree is super important and having a job just in case is planning for failure. It's planning for divorce or tragedy. It shows a lack of faith. Plan for success! If tragedy happens God will provide a way for you.

This was hard for me, I was raised thinking the back up plan was essential, but the more we tried to make that happen in our marriage the more we struggled financially. Finally we took that leap of faith and I stopped school and embraced being a wife and mother-and we've never been happier-or more secure financially.

Meags said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I am currently struggling with the fact that my job currently does not provide enough income for me to stick with it after our first baby is born this July and I've worried about this exact thing. I will pray and ask God to help me overcome my spirit of fear!

Anonymous said...

Many people can be so quick to remind the homemaker her life could change. Why do people assume an income is a guarantee of stability? Since a job could be eliminated sometimes without any unemployment benefits and a long time before a similar job could be found, homemakers need to remind every woman earning a paycheck she also needs to garden and preserve food, cook everything from scratch, make all clothing, watch the children,and clean so if she should be unemployed for along time her life would not change.