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Goodbye career, hello housekeeping

2012-11-16 11:26     Web Editor: Wang Fan comment

( -- An increasing number of Chinese women are choosing to give up their jobs and become full-time homemakers, observes Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine.

Most of them make the choice because they want to take better care of their families, while some do it just to escape the pressures of the job market. Whatever the reason, the trend is sweeping the country, no doubt encouraged by the fact that approximately 80 percent of husbands in China hope their wives will become full-time homemakers.

Wan Dan is a stay-at-home wife in Beijing. Every morning she gets up early to prepare a large breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, toast, juice, porridge, purple sweet potatoes and so on. In the evening, she also makes dinner for her husband when he gets home.

Before turning 30 Wan was a career woman with nary a thought of quitting her job. The decision to leave the working world behind came promptly on her 30th birthday, when she realized that a constant heavy workload was having a negative impact on her relationship with her husband.

In the first three years of her marriage Wan had been a professional consultant, a job that required frequent business travel and long absences from home. Wan recalls how low she once felt when she phoned her husband from Inner Mongolia after spending 42 days away from him.

Other mishaps followed, such as when her husband took off early to meet her on her birthday. Swamped with work, Wan was unable to get away, and her husband became infuriated when she didn't get home until after midnight.

The couple realized they had to take stock of their relationship. After a heart-to-heart conversation, Wan decided to give up her job and become a full-time homemaker in order to stabilize the marriage.

It turned out to be a very wise choice, says Wan, who has now been a full-time housewife for a year.

Wan joined an online group of full-time "post-80s" housewives, and has made many new friends who have also chosen to stay home. They all insist that homemaking is a full-time profession, and just as significant as any other occupation, says Wan.

Yet Wan must hide the truth from her parents and in-laws for fear of how they might react. To them, a housewife idles around and spends her husband's money like water, which is a shameful way to live, she says.

Like Wan, many full-time wives must go through a period of adjustment before they become content with the status quo. Only then can they start to enjoy their lives again.

Ding Dang is a good example. Soon after quitting her job, she followed her heart and began traveling whenever she had time. Earlier this year, she even published a book called "Till the End of the World" to share her thoughts on travel.

Ding represents a new generation of Chinese homemakers who are trying to develop their hobbies and even earn some money.

However, as more and more career women here join the trend, their voices are not "officially" recognized by the government, while in countries such as the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan, full-time wives are well protected by the law.

In Germany a full-time homemaker receives a monthly allowance of up to 300 Euros from the government, while her husband qualifies for tax breaks of up to 700 Euros a month. In Italy, a full-time homemaker is paid by the government if she is divorced or widowed.

In China, housewives receive no government allowance and, if they get divorced, they have no choice but to fend for themselves, making the decision to leave their careers behind a particularly risky choice, experts warn.

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