(Image from Salary.com)
Assalamu aleikum dear bloggers,
I wrote this piece late July 2014. It was supposed to be posted in Hayati magazine but they are having some issues right now. So my thoughts and prayers are with them. This is also perfect timing because of my current situation. I started work today after three months of leave! 🙂 Alhamdullilah.
“A woman shouldn’t work!” is what you hear a lot from some Muslim men. The truth is Allah has not asked a woman to work but if she wants to, it’s her choice to do so. She’s the responsibility of the men of her family if unmarried. However, norms have changed today and betting on that sole rule results in total domestic abuse in many cases because such women have no penny to their name and depend on them.
How many of us working Muslimah face the challenging dilemma of quitting one’s job to raise a family someday? The question is many of us do. This subject is very crucial in the married lives of many Muslim women who just started a successful career. Our parents sent us to school, spent thousands and thousands of dollars to educate us. We also spent a lot of money on our education if you were student worker like many Muslim girls. All this hassle, to end up being in a sandwich situation where the husbands want a stay home wife on one hand and our families and ego wanting us to be career women on the other hand. The truth is if our parents wanted us to stay home, they wouldn’t have invested a lot of money in our education. They would have yanked us from secular institutions the moment they knew we could read and write. Then, they would wait for the perfect husband to come ask for your hand like many Muslim families do around the world. There is nothing wrong with that if all parties involved here are in agreements with this treatment.
Furthermore, as many Muslim men request that their wives stay home to care of their babies to avoid daycare and its horror stories for the child to have a proper Sunnah upbringing instilled by the mother. There is a double edge sword or billion dollar question to be asked here. That is, if all your women are ‘stay home wifeys’ who is going to be the female Doctor (Dentist, Family practice, Gynecologist, etc.) that is going to examine her like you wish? Who is going to be that female TSA or police agent that is going to pat her down when there is an issue at hand? Who is going to that teacher you only want her to interact with to avoid Fitnah? I completely agree with the fact that we shouldn’t put ourselves in conditions that would compromise our good behavior and so forth but it all boils down to self-control, trust, and faith. Where I grew up, Muslim women work and have maids to help them with chores around the house. As Muslim women, we are allowed to have a help. There are things they let the help do and there are things they specifically do for their husbands as soon as they get off work. They change, clean up, and hop in the kitchen to add the final touch. However, this also comes with its share of issues if the man has no self-control and start messing around with the help or the female relatives of his wife he’s no mahram to. That’s why many women juggle work, housework, and married life and strive to find a perfect balance between all of these.
Now, don’t think I’m against being a stay home wife because I have entertained the idea for a while now. There are advantages to this as if your husband can provide for you, your family, and his family, you are set! However, if you leave your good paying job and have to re-invent yourself and scramble to become a business woman in another field from home, you will be facing harsh realities. Soliciting clients is very hard to do, and it requires a lot of time, effort, sales and marketing skills. Things not everybody possess.
Having said all that, how do you get on the same wavelength with the husband about the subject of continuing to work after marriage or staying home after a baby comes along? This is what you need to do:
– Pray Allah (subhanahu wata ala) for an answer. He will guide you and your husband to the right solution for your special case insha’Allah.
– Sit down with your spouse and talk about the opportunity costs here if you stay in your job or leave the job. And always communicate like adults (calmly and without tantrum, don’t let it escalate into an argument).
If you have to keep your job, make sure your marriage will not go down the drain as a result. If you decide to stay home, I can tell you for a fact that it will be a shock at first because you’ll be bored at some point and miss your job. You may even feel worthless and a spending machine while your husband is earning the living for you. If this issue plays a role in the happiness of your marriage life, seek counseling advice. I took a class before marriage because we would get a discount on the marriage license fee and the moderator talked about the success that a certain method provided for couples with this issue. The method was simply the husband paying the wife for the work she did in the home like the picture suggests she is worth but let’s be honest, your husband is not going to give you 100k+ for your services *winking smiley*! If only the stay home wifey made what she was supposed to earn! I admire all of you sisters out there who are stay home wifeys. You are much appreciated in my books.