Sunday, May 31, 2015

Should a Housewife Go to College?


Although a number of us ladies attended university before marriage, do you feel that housewives should go to college? I feel a housewife should not go to college unless she does so for leisure purposes only ...

After all, if your principal career involves the home, you should not worry about studies that involve preparing for a career elsewhere. If you intend to remain a housewife the rest of your wonderful days, then your financial preparation should instead involve life insurance, a housewife's Roth IRA, and a slowly growing savings account.

Victorian female college student
In the 1800s, when tuition was much more affordable for middle-class people, women would go to college for a year or two, and then get married. Some women earned university degrees in teaching or full training in nursing, but many of these women did not intend to marry. For college for women in the 1800s (and even in some colleges today), higher education was a foray into getting a Mrs. degree. Back in the 19th century it was said that educating women in the liberal arts in colleges prepared them to be well-rounded and enriched for marriage. Hence, early women's college education focused on such courses as English literature, needlepoint, and drawing and painting courses.

The hallowed halls are just part of my past.
I already have a college degree. I could personally learn more useful information from Good Housekeeping than I could learn from a biology textbook at this point in my life. And if you asked me if I'd rather mop the kitchen floor or sit in a classroom, I'd take the mop. Because a clean home gives back to me everyday.

But college courses are excellent for a bored housewife or one who is restless. Although she loves the home, occasionally a housewife would benefit from a college course, such as Painting 101 when she wants to broaden her artistic talents, or Accounting 101 if she needs to learn some basics for a home-based side business she operates. Community colleges are a haven for students of non-traditional age, from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. It is the place you would find a housewife looking for some outside enrichment. It is also the most affordable way to go to college. Hopefully you would not stray too far from the home once you've taken your classes. Housewives across America will still need to count you as their sister.

As for me, if you remember in another post, I decided against graduate school in favor of marriage. Today, I would not see a university as agreeable with my sense of femininity, or place in the world. I just want to stay by my husband's side, cook dinner peacefully in my kitchen, and read some Bible passages at night -- all in the serenity of my love-filled home.


9 comments:

Mrs. K. said...

I am of the same opinion -> "I feel a housewife should not go to college unless she does so for leisure purposes only ..."

My situation: I have an university degree. I am SAHWNK. If I decided to pursue a higher education, in my case it would be PhD., it would only cost time and money and all in all, it wouldn't bring anything. I still will be a SAHWNK in the end.

If you have a big house with big garden, cook from scratch etc, a SAHW is a full time job. A higher education will definitely interfere with that. You'll end up by not doing anything properly.

Catherine Walker said...

Oh, Mrs. K., you make me so proud. You're such a genuine housewife! The gardening, cooking from scratch, and taking care of the house indeed is a full-time job. My goodness, I could spend an hour just splitting open fresh pea pods to harvest the peas. A home and husband are pursuits on their own that require devotion to thrive.

I feel the same way about the financial commitment of higher education. A pursuit of a masters degree for me was going to cost a lot of money. No need for me to have a great deal of extra debt when I could have a husband and home!

Amy Laurie said...

Lovely and thoughtful post. I have been thinking about these same things myself. The cost of a college education is becoming ridiculous, but if a young woman is academically inclined and can get some scholarships and financial aid, I believe a solid liberal arts education is a benefit when raising a family. I found it particularly helpful when we were homeschooling our sons.

Catherine Walker said...

Amy, I think the liberal arts is a great foundation for home life as well. And kudos for having the preparation to homeschool your children!

Bercel KyBer said...

My husband and I just bought a house. I am very excited about decorating and cleaning our humble abode.

Catherine Walker said...

Bercel, I'm so excited for you. We just got our house last year, so I know what you're feeling. You are now an official housewife! Enjoy it!

Domestic Angel said...

While I totally get your point, I don't completely agree. I think in a lot of cases it is good for a young woman to go to college even if she plans to be a housewife. I have four reasons for this.
1) Universities are great places to meet ambitious, hard working men. The kind of man who could support a housewive. I met my husband in college and I think it would have been difficult to meet this caliber of man elsewhere. I could have worked while I waited for "the one", but my options would have been limited without an advanced education, and I may have worked with people with limited options as well.
2) I know exactly what I'm rejecting. College was so stressful for me. After five years of undergraduate and graduate work and several long internships, I had a pretty good idea of what a professional career involved and how ill suited for it I was. I've known a few women who became housewives before having any advanced education or career experience, and they look at that life as some kind of utopia. Well, it's not. A reality they soon realize when they eventually go to work or university.
3)It lends credibility to my choice of being a housewife. I have options, but I choose to be a housewife because it makes me happy. I could get a pretty good job, but I love my husband more. I'm not a housewife by default or because I don't have anything else I can do.
4) Finally, I view my husband as a hero who saved me from a life of career stress, deadlines, and office politics.
Yes, colleges promote anti-marriage/family ideals and are expensive, but if a young woman holds fast to her ideals and chooses a school wisely where tuitions are more affordable, I think a college education is completely justifiable.

Catherine Walker said...


I think all women who want to go to college and plan to be housewives in the future should do so too. I would never give back my education. I really enjoyed college. The basic reason I rejected grad school was because I already found my guy.

Domestic Angel said...

Oh, I see. You are referring to going back to school after you are married and a housewife. Sorry I misunderstood. I totally agree that women should not let themselves feel pressured to go to school after they are married. It's like society doesn't value you if you don't have a lot of letters behind your name. However, as housewives we should not be afraid to buck that trend, since we do it everyday anyway. Lifelong learning and education is so important, but it can take many forms, and formal education isn't necessarily any more valuable than other forms. Although it's if that's the way she chooses there are a lot of good options, but it should be for herself.