“Oh, I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom,” she said, surrounded by the other women at brunch.

They nodded, giving their approval, and the affirmation so many Catholic women seek these days.

I get it.

We want to acknowledge the value in staying home, in foregoing apparent worldly success in order to give day in and day out to one’s family. Because for all the advancements feminism has brought women, greater recognition of caregiving and homemaking hasn’t been one of them.

Because for all the advancements feminism has brought women, greater recognition of caregiving and homemaking hasn’t been one of them.

But what if in proclaiming their desire to be SAHMs, women think they’ve rejected modern feminism, and they’ve actually given into it?

Let me explain.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard single, childless women proclaiming their desire to be SAHMs, and I even used to do it myself on occasion.

But after getting married, and having my son last year, I realized one fatal feminist flaw in these proclamations: they leave out the husband.

Much of modern feminism champions women in creating their own destiny, breaking down any glass ceilings in their way to becoming leaders, independent and fierce. This narrative is rooted in independence - encouraging women to go after “What you want,” but also creating an expectation - that women should envision and create an “ideal destiny” - for themselves to pursue.

So young women reflect on who they are, and what “ideal destiny” they believe they want.

For some women, that “ideal destiny” is being a stay-at-home mom.

Whether because they just really love kids, or homemaking, or they want to be holy and think staying home is the holiest way for wives to live - this desire can come from a place of selfishness, or selflessness, or somewhere in between.

But the truth is, marriage is a vocation of two - not one. And I think there’s a danger in women creating their own “ideal destiny” to hold as an expectation over their future marriage.

But the truth is, marriage is a vocation of two - not one.

Because until you meet the man you’re going to marry, you really don’t know what exactly your marriage is going to look like.

What if he’s a lawyer, who has a high salary but an unpredictable schedule?

What if he’s a writer, and a calm disciplinarian but no health insurance?

What if he has a mental or physical illness, that makes working full time difficult, or unstable?

What if he longs to be a medical missionary, and travel frequently to care for those in poverty?

What if he is also supporting his single mom, who finally left her abusive marriage last year?

What if he desires to stay home with kids himself?

The point is, marriage is about uniting your life with someone else. It involves dying to yourself and your independence, for the sake of something deeper, more beautiful, and powerful - your ideal vocation.

The vocation that will make you holy; the vocation God is calling you to, regardless of whether or not it seems “ideal” at first.

We know that holiness involves sacrifice.

Maybe your sacrifice is getting up to go to work every day. Maybe it’s NOT leaving the house to go to work every day.

Maybe your sacrifice is getting up to go to work every day. Maybe it’s NOT leaving the house to go to work every day.

Maybe it’s one for a season, and then the other.

But it should always be about giving … giving yourself away. To those other people God is calling you to love.

That’s what is so powerful about Mary’s example. Not that she was a SAHM and therefore all women should aim to be SAHM’s.

Mary is our model because she said YES… to where God called her. It wasn’t about what “kind” of mom she was going to be. She responded to the call God placed in front of her. And I would bet it didn’t look like she had imagined. ;)

Just like Mary, saying “yes”  will necessitate that you put your identity in God, above your identity in public - whether that's at the family function where in-laws are asking if you’ve ever “going to put that degree to use,”  or back-to-school night where someone mentions how bad they feel for kids who go to after-school-care.

Because God has called you into a marriage, first and foremost. And I don't know the details of all that entails. But God does.

He sees you.

He knows you.

And if He called you to your marriage, then he called you to the work situation that goes along with it, too.

And if He called you to your marriage, then he called you to the work situation that goes along with it, too.

We’ve come a long way for women in terms of learning that they can be either stay at home moms, or working full time, or part time, or some combination of those.

Now we just need to remember to make marriages part of the conversation, too.

Samantha Povlock

Founder, CEO, and Editor in Chief

Samantha Povlock is the Founder, CEO, and Editor in Chief of FemCatholic. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in business and theology, she started her career in Chicago working in consulting and project management. She currently lives in Greater Philadelphia with her husband, Matt, and three kids.

Don't miss the Weekly Insight.

Delivered to your inbox every Friday, get the best insights we have on trending stories and who to read, watch, and follow.