It all started pretty well, but I never thought I would be in this position.
I was 21 and just finishing my engineering degree when I met my future husband.
I met him at a mutual friend’s party – not at college. Looking back now, it was a sign of what was to come, but I was too naive to realize it.
“He does not value education”
My husband didn’t go to college – he didn’t have to. He comes from a large family that owns several businesses, and always knew he would get into these and was always sure that he would earn enough without having a degree.
It’s okay, it never bothered me – at least until I realized what it meant to me.
We got married as soon as I graduated and immediately started trying for a baby. I had secured an internship at an engineering firm, worked there for almost two years – and after telling them I was pregnant, they offered me a full-time job for when I wanted to go back to work.
Three years later, I was not allowed to accept this offer because my husband does not want me to work.
“I will not take over from you”
Now I was home with my two beautiful angels until I was three years old. Yes, it’s busy, and yes, it’s a lot of work – but the longer I stay out of the game, the less my qualifications will be recognised.
But I discovered that it didn’t matter to my husband.
When I told him two years ago that I was ready to contact my former employer, he was furious.
“I didn’t marry you to work,” he said.
“I make enough money for the family.”
Finally, really outraged, he spat out this threat: “I will not take over from you.”
I was surprised because he was so offended. But it became very clear to me that it was a status issue for him to have a wife who didn’t need to work in a paid job.
Call it pride, ego or a backslidden attitude; whatever, I didn’t see it coming, and I never thought it would be a problem.
“I love my children AND I want to work”
I am not the first woman in the world to want to pursue a career after becoming a mother. Obviously.
I love my children AND I want to work. We can afford to have our children looked after. It’s not like I’ll be away 80 hours a week. I do not see where the problem is.
Although I realize my husband doesn’t value education. He didn’t want it for himself, and he clearly didn’t marry me for my mind. For him, that’s not what he saw in me.
I remember my friends joking about becoming a ‘trophy wife’ at my wedding, and I always laughed about it, never expecting to be ‘out of work’. I am by no means a trophy wife, just adored for her beauty. From my point of view, I have been a full-time mom for three years.
Even if I go back to gainful employment, I don’t give up on the children – I’m still a full-time oum, aren’t I? Not that the quality of care for them is his problem – it’s his status.
Even though we argue about it, and I’ve made it clear that it’s what I want, my husband’s refusal to support me forces me to make a choice.
It makes me feel frustrated, disappointed and sad; because I have chosen peace, for now.