Long, long ago, I was in college. A junior at Auburn University, I was dating a guy I really liked.

One night he asked me what I wanted to do after I graduated. Way before Jack Nicholson coined the phrase, “You CAN’T handle the truth,” I knew better than to start talking about anything borrowed or blue in that moment. I wasn’t looking to see how fast he could run out on our date. But in retrospect, I was a little ashamed of what I wanted.

I felt like I should crave an amazing career. After all, I was pursuing a college degree. I should be excited about a career, right?

Except, I really wanted to be a wife and mom. That was my dream – to have a family. I wanted to grow old with my husband. My heart’s desire was to have children. But like many young women, I had bought into a lie. I believed that being a wife and mom should be a secondary desire to having a career.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s wrong for women to pursue careers. When our oldest was little, a host of women – psychometrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists – came together to formulate a plan to help him reach developmental milestones. Without them and many along the way, he would never be where he is today. I am grateful for women who have pursued specialty fields in lieu of my relatively vanilla mass communications degree.

But somewhere along the way, some of us women began to think less of ourselves for wanting something that I believe is a God-given longing. Before having my kids, I had a full-time job and enjoyed many aspects of my work. But thus far in my life, my greatest satisfaction has come from being a wife and a mom.

By now, everyone has heard of Harrison Butker, the Kansas City Chiefs player who made a commencement speech that incensed feminists – and maybe even some men pretending to be women. He had the audacity to encourage graduates to go out, get married, and have families. Scandalous! Poor sucker would have been better off shot-gunning a beer and smashing it like his idiot teammate Travis Kelce.

Instead, Butker opted to share some valuable advice and unintentionally slapped a target on his back.

We live in a country where it has become ludicrously dangerous to espouse traditional beliefs. Beliefs in God, traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and having children is “so 1950s” according to our society. Heaven forbid anyone tout the nuclear family. Obviously, it’s unheard of now to encourage women to stay home and take care of their families.

I have worked part-time for much of my marriage. My husband and I agreed early on that my focus would be on our children and that would mean part-time work during their school years. When our youngest was nine, I started working as a paraprofessional aide in an elementary school. That job provided me with the same holidays as our kids, as well as summers off. In recent years, I’ve worked as a substitute teacher, allowing me to also help care for my 91-year-old ailing father.

I am privileged to take care of our family. I keep our house (fairly) clean, do everyone’s laundry, keep up with schedules, help with homework, attend school meetings, and try to make sure everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there. Handling those things enables my husband to focus on work, which earns the money that keeps food on the table and a roof over our heads. Speaking of food, one area I don’t excel in is cooking. Great baker but a poor dinner-maker. Fortunately, my husband is a great cook! He keeps us eating well.

I relish decorating for holidays, wrapping birthday and Christmas presents, and planning family events. I love it when our kids’ friends come over to our house and drink our sodas, eat our food, and shoot basketball in the driveway. I adore being a Cross Country/Track mom. I love being a “boy mom.” This is the greatest job I’ve ever had or will ever have.

Is it wise for a woman to pursue a degree or a trade? Of course. What if you don’t get married until your 30s or later (says the woman who married at 32)? What if something unexpected happens and you find yourself single again? Women need to have marketable skills in 2024.

I am thankful for those years of working and growing into a woman mature enough to be a decent wife and mother. But it is not only OK, it is GOOD if women desire marriage and a family.

Earlier this week, I mentioned on social media that virtually none of my former work colleagues will remember my meager accomplishments – primarily because everyone is usually looking at their own. But I have a family who appreciates the effort I’ve given to birthday parties, homework, athletic events, and holidays for the last 21 years. That’s worth more than any paycheck from an employer who could replace me by Friday.

Kristin Landers is a substitute teacher and freelance writer. Landers’ previous work includes serving as Communications Director for the Alabama Policy Institute and working for Citizens Against a Legalized Lottery (CALL) to defeat legalized gambling in the state of Alabama.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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