The Time When My Wife Just Wasn’t Good Enough

Printed from:


It was at a party with colleagues that I realized how warped the world of feminism can become, when taken to its narrow-minded extreme.

The get-together featured many journalists from the same newspaper I worked at in Florida. I brought my wife Nancy along. I introduced her to a couple of female co-workers. Handshakes and smiles all around.

I explained the different assignments my colleagues took care of at the newspaper. One of them turned to my wife.

“And what do you do?” she asked.

“I stay home with our kids,” Nancy replied.

Conversation stopper.

My co-workers’ pained – stunned? – looks could not disguise their disapproval. They quickly recovered with awkwardly-forced smiles, but the message had been conveyed. My educated and accomplished colleagues quickly murmured nice-to-meet-you’s and moved on.

I wasn’t sure if Nancy noticed. She did. I looked at her and she shrugged, saying, “I guess I don’t measure up.”

I was embarrassed …

For them.

Has our culture progressed so far, where simply being a mother is an empty vocation, unless you combine it with something else – something valuable, like a career? We tell the mother she can have it all, by diluting what is essential in her being; her ability to nurture and care for another soul, or souls.

Surely, mom, there must be more!

When Nancy and I prepared to marry, she was working a full-time job. But we both talked about her staying home when we had kids. I realize that sounds sexist to some but, be prepared for more triggers.

You see, as the father of my family, I consider myself the provider. As the mother, Nancy sees herself as nurturer.

That does not mean I don’t nurture, and recently, Nancy has taken on a part-time job to help provide. We share the roles, but it is not 50-50.

I may be king of the castle (and actually, I don’t even know what that means; but it sounds regal). But, truth be told, my wife is queen of our home. How do I know that? Because I make sure my kids know that.

Show me a home where the mom is not respected – especially by her husband – and I’ll show you a home where dysfunction reigns.

And – if I can be my sexist self again and talk about my sons – I have always told my boys that how they treat their mother is a sure sign of their character.

Do we have a problem with men disrespecting women in our culture? Well, it started at home.

When my oldest son was 5-years-old, Nancy asked him what he liked about our family and what he disliked.

His only complaint: “Mom, when you are mad at me, dad really gets mad at me.”

That’s part of the plan. Dad has mom’s back.

(Disclaimer: mom and dad both screw up. We hold each other accountable in how we deal with the kids. We point out the other’s shortcomings, but never in front of the kids).

I have written before about our kids. (And there are a lot of them.) They are our priority. (And, please, that’s not virtue signaling, just a way we live our life.) It’s not debatable that kids need time with their parents.

It’s also common sense that parents can use a break, which is why I often take all the kids out (to the library!) so mom gets quiet time. And, just because so many ask:  While I’m with my kids, I’m not babysitting. I’m their father.

But mom spends most of the time with our children. She is enforcer and confessor. A firm hand and a gentle hug. It’s rewarding to have the moved-out kids (now adults) come home and reminisce about mom’s discipline – consistent and always with a heaping of love.

This is not a slam against working moms. I know too many who are caring. Nor is it a pointed finger at married women without children. My sister-in-law is one of the best people I know, a godsend of an aunt and shining role model.

As for stay-at-home dads, good for them. (I’m sure they deal with stereotypes.) The one home-dad I know is wonderful with his kids, and a mighty fine soccer coach.

As for our family, mom is the cornerstone. I pity those who think less of her skills – or her worth – because she has spent most of her time at home, raising children to be good people.

This story does not have to be about Mother’s Day. Moms are queen for more than one day, but always.

Make sure your kids know that.


Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.