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Twelve years ago, when I got married, my husband and I agreed that I would be a stay at home mom for the duration of our marriage. Our two children are now in school full time, and I'm wondering what kind of life I'm supposed to have being a "Domestic engineer?" I have spoken to John about my desire for a career, and he firmly tells me that I have a very important career taking care of the household, the children, and him. John has been very successful in his career, and I'm afraid if I leave him, the standard of living that my children and I are accustomed to will dramatically decrease. Are there any other options to consider? - Malachi

I want to assure you that the most important option to consider is your own happiness. Given that you want to work outside of the home and your husband doesn't honor this it's almost as if he is denying you your happiness. That's certainly not right or fair. The first option seems to be to get him to try to see the error of his ways - i.e. to get him to comprehend that he is asking you to deny a part of yourself - the part that wants to work outside of the home.

Also, it sounds like it is in his best interest and certainly your children's if you do work outside of the home. I say that because it sounds like they are dependent on you in that role - and, therefore, they deserve to see that you have your own desires and ambitions - just like they do. Another option is certainly that you leave him. From what you have, which is relatively little - this isn't out of the realm of possibility. However, you are right that your lifestyle is likely to decrease, while his is likely to increase. Certainly, your role as wife and mother would be honored, but given other similar cases - it's never quite enough.

A third option - have you tried getting a job and not asking his permission? A part-time job and then just telling him. That sounds a little sneaky, but do you confirm everything you do on a daily basis with him? Good luck figuring this all out. As I began this note, I will end this note - your priority should be you and your happiness.


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