Columnist's 'Why I Won't Let My Wife Quit Her Job' Gets Backlash

Anytime I hear the words, “I won’t let my wife … ” I want to scream. I’ve only been married for two years, so I can’t pretend to fully understand marriage, but I can tell you this: My husband does not “let” me do things. I’m my own person and if I want to do something, I don’t need his permission.

So, why am I so fired up on this particular topic?

In case you missed it, the Detroit Free Press recently ran a column by Sean Dunbar, a husband and father of two who is part of the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In “Why I Won’t Let My Wife Quit Her Job,” Dunbar details his feelings on the topic of his wife staying home instead of working outside of the house.

“Yes, being a stay-at-home mom has many benefits for the entire family. But I want better for my wife.” That’s all it took for me to dislike this man. What is he saying about stay-at-home moms – are they useless or something? Is a woman only truly valuable if she works outside of the home?

He goes on to say that he has fears about letting her stay home – possibly that she’ll become stagnant. He explains that she was 20 and pregnant with their daughter by her junior year; she worked very hard to graduate college and excel in her career. He dropped out of college and got a full-time job so she would finish school.

She was always an all-star at work, and then when she got pregnant the second time, things changed a bit.

“My wife started getting overlooked for promotions because her employer feared her maternity leave. This crushed her and changed her whole demeanor. She was embarrassed and disappointed to be pregnant in a competitive workforce. All of a sudden, my wife accepted her position and just stopped trying.”

Then she started “asking” if she could quit her job – and he feels like she shouldn’t, like she’ll lose her drive. Even worse, their daughter might aspire to be a stay-at-home mom. “I don’t want to pay for our daughter’s college tuition just to see her walk away and let a man take care of her.”

Maybe his heart is in the right place, but he’s not expressing himself very well here. Why is it still OK for men to act as if they are letting their wives do anything?

My mom stayed home and raised us, and I thought that was normal. If I decided someday that I wanted to stay home to raise my kids, I wouldn’t ask for permission. I would talk to my husband and we would weigh it out together. Could we afford it? Would I be emotionally OK with not having the career I’d work so hard for? Ultimately, it would be my decision – not his. He’s not going to “let” me or “not let” me do something. He’s simply going to support the decision that I’m fully capable of making on my own.

What do you think about this guy’s column? Post a comment below.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Free Press

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