Dr. Phil & Robin's Do-It-Yourself Marriage Makeover
Problem 5: Career Concerns
Dr. Phil: Obviously, a lot has been said about the guilt some stay-at-home
moms feel — how they wrongly say things like, "I'm just a housewife,"
or "I'm just a mom," when, clearly, that's so false: The work a
stay-at-home mom does in caring for a family and a home is tremendous and
exhausting and awe-inspiring. It's the toughest job I know, because you start
early and you work late 365 days a year. You couldn't pay me enough to do that
But women who return to the workplace often feel hugely guilty, too, and
that can put a lot of strain on a marriage, especially if her spouse is sitting
there feeling resentful that she has a life outside of her home and her
Whether you work inside or outside the home, the important thing is that
before you can have a conversation with your husband about it, you have to have
one with yourself. You've got to look inside and ask, "What do I want?"
If you're staying home out of guilt because you feel like that's the only way
to be a good mom, then you're cheating yourself and your kids. I always tell
women: If you love your children, then take care of their mother. If you deny
yourself the opportunity to feel fulfilled, to feel like you're using your
gifts, your skills, and your abilities, then your kids are going to get a
mother that's got an emptiness to her; they're going to get a mother that has a
lot of frustration in her life.
So it's OK to embrace a return to the workplace. Even if you've returned to
work not out of choice but because you need the money, you can choose to see
your job as a chance to be around adults, to get away and recharge your
batteries. And sometimes it's just good not to have to cut up someone's food at
You know, I talked to a mother not long ago, and she said, "My children
are 6 years old and I've never spent a single night away from them." She
was proud of that, but, listen, it's not a good thing. Kids need to know that
you can go away and you come back. And you need to know that you can go away
and they won't shrivel up and die. It's OK for them to depend on other people,
as well as you.