A 24-year-old Sydney woman has revealed her ultimate goal is to be a housewife and care for her children, in a move that has shocked some around her.
Kelsey Thom, who is appearing on Tuesday’s SBS Insight episode Turning Back Time, had a “come to God” moment while bedridden thanks to her Crohn’s disease.
“I put in a lot of time and effort into work – I was doing the overtime and had career motivation,” she told news.com.au.
“I got sick and realized it literally had got me nowhere.”
It was at this moment in her life when she discovered “tradwife” culture, a movement that sees women choose traditional gender roles when it comes to family dynamics.
“What drew me to traditionalism is that I have a natural inclination towards helping people. I have friends who come to me for support,” she said.
“If someone is sick, I’ve got a lot of knowledge on naturopathy. So I’m always helping people in those types of ways. So for me, in the future, my partner comes home and the house is clean and smells of beautiful candles, that instantly makes someone else’s day better.
“To me, that is more fulfilling than a career.”
Kelsey, now 24, was just 19 when she decided that this was the life she wanted.
She’s had prior relationships where household tasks and bills were split evenly but found herself naturally filling the homemaker role.
“I was overworked and stressed and absolutely exhausted because I was still having to work to pay the bills – that’s why I felt sick because I ran myself into the ground,” she said.
“It didn’t really work for me. I found for me to have respect for my partners, they must fill that leadership-provider role.”
Kelsey said she didn’t grow up in a traditionalist household – her father was a mechanic who owned his own business while her mother always had some kind of office work on the go, though she did take time away from full-time work to raise children.
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Her father was also an amazing cook who wasn’t afraid to help clean, she said.
Currently, Kelsey is in the early stages of getting to know someone, so she is not completely filling her desired role yet.
But, even dating with the goal of being a tradwife is a lot more serious as the intention is to get married.
“The man knows if we go on a date, he has to pay. He had to organize the dates and pick me up,” she said.
“He has to take care of me during this process because I am watching to see what type of partner this person will be. It’s an intense process.”
Once she does find her ideal candidate, Kelsey said she wants to take care of the children they have together, stating she believes the woman is the “soft nurturer there for the child’s needs.”
Her husband meanwhile would be more of a disciplinarian.
“The man takes care of the woman while the woman takes care of the kids,” she said.
“I think there is confusion because it doesn’t mean the man is never going to pick up anything from the floor ever again. It doesn’t mean he won’t help with bedtime routine.
“It’s more than 95 percent of childcare is done so they don’t have to worry about it.”
Kelsey has mixed reactions about her desired way of life from friends and family, but the only people she gets annoyed about are people who tell her she is “setting back feminism.”
“Those people make me the most annoyed. The whole point of feminism in the beginning was that women had the choice to do what they wanted,” she said.
“Like yes, we want bank accounts. We want a bit of independence. If I want to be in the home, then I’m going to be in the home. If I want to work, then I want to work.
“I think modern feminism has lost that whole point and become about a woman having to do everything.”
On the idea of financial independence, Kelsey said it different tradcouples have different approaches.
“I am very ambitious. I’d like to have my own business. I will always have something to back me up,” Kelsey said, adding she’d probably work up until she was pregnant and when the kids went to school.
She said she knows of some tradwives who get a weekly allowance from their husband, while others have ensured money in pre-nuptial agreements or life insurance plans.