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Mom Shares The 'Offensive' Advice An Older Woman Gave Her That Ended Up Being Correct 15 Years Later

Photo: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock
stay at home mom working with kid

Many women trust in their marriages enough to set their careers aside and become full-time stay-at-home moms, but some don’t realize the enormous risk they are taking in doing so.

While every marriage is different, it’s important for women to always have options when it comes to their own path.

One mom discussed the ‘offensive’ advice an older woman gave her back when she was a stay-at-home mom — and how it rings true today.

It’s not uncommon for mothers to skip out on developing their careers to focus on their motherly responsibilities if their husbands’ income alone can support the family. The problem with this traditional family dynamic is that women risk how this decision may affect them later in life. 

Content creator Bekah Erkel reacted to a TikTok posted by a stay-at-home mom defending the validity of choosing this path. Erkel, who is a mom to two kids, alluded to her own experience choosing the same path when her children were younger.

   

   

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She shared how when she was around 26, she ran into a friend of her mom’s at a thrift store. Upon catching up, Erkel explained how she wasn’t working at the moment so she could be at home to take care of her kids, to which the woman reacted with apprehension. 

“Just be really careful, you know, you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re reliant on someone,” the woman said, advising her to keep her resume and skill sets up to date.

Erkel explained how, at the time, she took the woman’s unsolicited advice as judgmental and offensive. Erkel promised her that she was happy in her relationship and wouldn’t need to worry about these risks as she was sure they’d be “married forever.” 

Five years later, Erkel found herself ‘miserably married’ and reflecting on the woman’s advice.

Erkel stated she had given 15 years of her life to her husband and his career. She put all of her talent and energy into building his business, only to find herself alone and picking up the pieces of her own life.

Mom Shares The Offensive Advice An Older Woman Gave Her That Ended Up Being Correct 15 Years LaterPhoto: Natalia Lebedinskaia / Shutterstock

“I was so naive that, in my mind, we were just going to be happy forever. That was the only choice,” Erkel explained. “I never stopped and thought, ‘What happens if I decide that I want to be out of this relationship?’”

Because of Erkel’s blind trust in her marriage, she never questioned her decision, but as she found herself unhappy, she realized she had given herself no other options. She had no autonomy to support her kids and herself on her own, and once divorced, she had to go down a “really hard road” to find her independence again.

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“What I wish that I could tell myself back then was… ‘Listen to the lady who’s a little bit older than you! Maybe she has some life experience that you don't know yet,’” Erkel expressed.

Women need to be aware of how much they put at risk by placing their careers on the back burner. 

Every marriage is different, but one thing a woman should always do is be aware of her choices and how they might affect her later in life. It’s never too late to enter the workforce, but the level of effort and knowledge that will be required to make up for resume gaps will make the process much more difficult and stressful

   

   

Regardless of whether a marriage lasts or not, women should prioritize their own career paths, not only to be self-sufficient but to have an identity outside their marriage. Much too often, women abandon their own endeavors to pour all their energy into their husband's, only to find themselves lost and disconnected from themselves.

In the end, Erkel expressed her deep gratitude for having the opportunity to spend so much time with her kids, but she advised women to understand the risks they take when choosing to be stay-at-home moms. She encouraged them to always keep their careers in mind. 

“Whatever you do, do not give up your career entirely,” Erkel advised. “Because when you give up your ability to take care of yourself and your children, you are giving up the ability to have the choice to leave something that’s not serving you.” 

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.