‘A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate’, read the shirts assembled by slave labor in Myanmar, the messaging likely dreamed up by graduates of a small liberal arts school whose annual tuition would make a generous stimulus package for a city in any developing country. I like seeing women in the Senate, don’t get me wrong. I just see the former option, the house, as much more preferable for myself for a variety of reasons.
I went through my Girl Boss phase in my late teens — my hard working immigrant parents, the descendants of a long, long line of ‘tradwives’, wanted different things for their only daughter. I was at the top of my high school class, a leader of various clubs, taking pleasure in subverting men trying to usurp me from my glorious, imperial reign as president of the choir. In college, I, like all children of Middle Eastern parents, was trying to become a doctor (and then a lawyer, a major downgrade in my parents’ eyes). I am now dreaming of becoming a tradwife.
Record scratch, freeze frame, blah blah blah. You’re probably wondering how I decided I’d like to become a tradwife. Fast forward to the current day, as I approach the age of 24. Perhaps my family should have caught on that their daughter who preferred dressing Barbie in an apron rather than a doctor’s lab coat would gravitate toward the domestic life. Surely they couldn’t have thought that I could be a Girl Boss and a tradwife at once. In this economy? I can’t be milked for my labor by my corporate overlord and raise a family of more than one child, telling my flesh and blood that ‘mommy promises to be at your ballet recital this time honey!’ I can’t pursue my vocation as a writer while working 70-hour weeks in a law firm or ER, when my free time is being used to pick up my Xanax prescription from the pharmacy or calling my therapist to reschedule an appointment because a client is having a meltdown.
Perhaps other women belong in the Senate, but I belong in the kitchen.
Most recently, BBC Talkback introduced readers to a tradwife, which they describe in a way similar to how National Geographic would describe an endangered animal in the Amazon: ‘A young woman who has chosen to be a traditional wife, staying at home to take care of the household chores while her husband works, and she is fine with submitting to her husband as he makes the key decisions in their lives.’
The trade off, as I see it, is quite fair and attractive if you don’t marry a complete tool. Sure, husband, you can go spend eight hours a day under the thumb of a money grubber! I’ll stay at home, enjoying my fully subsidized existence, perhaps homeschooling my children and cooking them meals I’ve vetted of the poison I was fed in public school. Macaroni art instead of marketing? Playing with babies instead of board meetings? Cleaning instead of ‘corporate synergy’? Maybe my perpetually pregnant ancestors were onto something.
Of course, many women who would like to stay home with their kids are no longer able to do this because the household income wouldn’t be sufficient for survival, and I support just about any political initiative that would allow more mothers to pursue the tradwife life if they choose. Personally, I couldn’t imagine a life better than one that would allow me to write books while staying home with my children. A tradwife’s life for me.