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Dear Amy,

I know I am not the first with this problem and I feel like no one can tell me the right answer. I am engaged and I live with my man. I earn more money than he does but he pays the bills for our home. I pay mainly for my things (car, college loans) and for the smaller bills. Currently, I do less than half of the cleaning and cooking.

I graduated from college two years ago. I am currently employed in my profession and I enjoy my work. My problem comes to the word wife. Every time I try to plan my wedding I think about this label and how much I hate it! This very word has stopped me from getting married twice before. When I hear "wife" I feel the laundry pile up and I hear the dishes. I get nightmares where I wake up to screaming babies. I wanted to have a career before I had children, I just didn't think about having a career while having children. I know that I want to raise my children, but how can I do that while working? I'm afraid of losing my equality at home. How do I become a wife and a mother without losing my equality?

The real question is how do I adjust from a single independent woman to a wife and future mother without feeling inferior and without feeling like I have lost the woman I have fought so hard to become?




Dear Elyssa,

The short answer is that if you are committed to this, I think you can manage it.

I know that in my own life I have the same resistances and I have realized that it's how we present ourselves and then other people can react -- for instance, when people ask me how I am doing I talk about my job, etc... It's not that my work is more important than my son, but I'm assuming they aren't asking about him or they would do so explicitly. Other people hear this question -- "how are you" - and immediately respond by talking about their children. These little things do help to give you your identity -- and hopefully signal to others that they can keep theirs, too. As for work, that's all a matter of balance and I hope that you can realize that you can't do it alone and how can others help to make that the case, so it doesn't default to you. It's really a process of lots of conversations.

Good luck,


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