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23 July 2005


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The Anchoress

And let's not forget - if your husband passes away young, it insures that the mother will have the means necessary to support her family on her own, if she must.


I've read that, all other things being equal, a man's earning power increases according to his wife's education. In other words, if you have two men who each studied the same thing at the same colleges up to the same level, the one with the college educated wife is earning more than the one whose wife never finished college - which, I think, is related to the phenomenon you describe. I think of my brother, a college dropout, whose very intelligent college educated wife has helped him find ways to organise his time, maximise his earnings, minimize his tax burden, and find better paying jobs. She has re-worked his resume, polished his appearance, and inspired him to try for more. She is quite definately an asset!


bearing here.

Anchoress: Yes, there are many circumstances in which a woman's education might become necessary.

If the husband becomes "merely" disabled, for instance, even the best life insurance policy won't support the family.

And there's also the possibility that, though called to marriage, she may not find a spouse.

Exploring the ways that education can be turned over to the service of the vocation, rather than the service of an unusual "emergency" though, is of personal interest!

Ultimately, it becomes something more that you can give to God, or to God through giving it to a spouse. Not just the "university education" that I have experience with, but the whole life of the person---educated traditionally or in the school of life---that precedes the consecration of the self in marriage or in religious life.


This is wonderful! Found you via Anchoress. I have been a sahm for 22 years now (our oldest is 22, our youngest is 7; we homeschool), and while I never did complete my degree, I have continued to pursue learning through my own reading.
I especially appreciate and connect with what you have to say about a mother's interior life.
I'll be linking to this later (when I have more time to add some thoughts of my own).


Literary critic Northrop Frye once said that a liberal arts degree was useless...and if it wasn't, then it wasn't worth much.

In other words, to back up from your specialized training question for a moment--isn't the question of the value of an arts degree the same, then, for both men and women? If a man takes a graduate degree in philosophy and then works in marketing or some other field, did he waste his education?

I like your post--lots to think about.


Mamasquirrel: A good question that leads to wondering if any education is ever wasted...

Of course it's not "education" that can be wasted so much as it is time or money that might be wasted *on* education....

I think you can *waste time* that could have been better spent by screwing around instead of applying yourself. You can *waste money* by spending it on the prestigiousness of your school or on frills that don't actually educate you.

But I'm inclined to think that the actual education---provided that it didn't fill your mind with falsehoods---is only wasted if you refuse to apply it to your state in life.


Excellent post. I found you via The Anchorees.

I am an at-home mom with a master's in Electrical Engineering, so I can definitely relate. My parents subtly accused me of wasting their money on my education. But I suspect that if I won the lottery and "retired", no one would ever make such an accusation. I think people generally consider things "wasted" when they are not used for personal gain.

Worse than the "wasting my degree" accusation, was the suggestion that my first born's developmental delays were caused by my NOT dumping him in day care where he could properly be socialized. That one still irritates.

I will save this post for my future defense. I'll be hearing the accusations in a year when my youngest starts school.

Christine (Rambling GOP Soccer Mom)

I've also linked to this (as well as the rest of the Carnival this week). I'm a stay at home mother and a homeschooler. I used to be a teacher, and also an interpreter for the Deaf. When I told people of my ultimate goal of staying at home, homeschooling, and basically striving to be a good wife and mother, a few people wondered aloud if I'd be wasting my education! As if learning alone wasn't a worthy goal!

It's really a shame that so many women are made to feel as though they have wasted themselves by staying at home and raising their children. Really, what greater contribution can I give to the world than to raise my two beautiful girls to be good Catholic Christians?

By the way, while I want to stress living their vocations out, which very well may be to become wives and mothers, my husband and I tease that we'll send our two beauties to live with Mother Angelica before they're ten. But an arranged marriage might not be bad, either. My dear husband joked about that recently with another of the Catholic homeschooling mothers recently.

Thank you for talking about something that really needs to be talked about. Women ought not be pressured to put family life on a backburner if that is their vocation! Education is in no way wasted on a stay at home mother!

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