WAKING up at 6am, Bronte Rawlingson rushes to the kitchen to whip up her husband’s favourite breakfast before a day of cleaning and looking after their children.
While the rest of the nation returns to their workplaces in droves, Bronte isn’t going anywhere.
Bronte believes staying home and being ‘feminine’ helps her marriage flourish[/caption]
Dropping out of private school for love and then choosing to become a teen mum at 19, she is a self-confessed “traditional wife” and has no interest in having a career.
The 29-year-old is married to Phil, 35, a plumbing business owner, and says staying home and being “feminine” helps their marriage flourish.
She adds: “I believe one of the reasons there are so many failed marriages is that women don’t behave in the way men want.
“I know my husband likes to be looked after and for me to be feminine so he can be masculine. We balance each other out.”
After preparing Phil’s breakfast in their home in Frinton, Essex, Bronte makes sure their children, Amelia, nine, Fenella, six, and Theodore, 18 months, are fed.
“Sometimes it’s scrambled eggs, some-times it’s an omelette for Phil,” she says. “I like to feed him properly and make sure he’s full until at least lunchtime. He can’t be powered just by toast.
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“The older two children are fussy eaters so it’s never just something easy like cereal.
“It can mean sorting out a variety of different meals, like brioche and Marmite toast, pancakes and smoothies, to make sure they are all happy — but I’m willing to do it. It’s my job as a mum.”
Despite going to an expensive private school in Ipswich — and getting 12 GCSEs including one A*, four As, five Bs and 2Cs — Bronte did not want a high-earning career.
Instead, she purposely fell pregnant at age 19, having moved in with Phil, who she met at the beach when she was 16.
Her decision to become a teen mother stunned many of her school friends, who now hold down big careers as lawyers and doctors.
Bronte says: “It certainly caused ructions. No one expected me to be a teen mum. It wasn’t the done thing, but it was my choice.
“I always wanted to be a mother and wife, ever since I was a little girl. I used to dream of it when I was playing with my dolls.
“It broke my heart putting them into storage when I was about 12 but I felt, being in secondary school, I was too old to play with them.”
But becoming a mum was not all plain-sailing, because Bronte’s parents were disappointed with her.
She says: “I can’t lie, relations with my parents were tense for some time afterwards. They wanted me to go to university.
I love home-making. It’s my favourite thing to do.
“But now we are in a good place and they dote on the children.”
Millions of Brits returned to their places of work for the first time earlier this month, having worked from home throughout the pandemic.
But Bronte is glad she was not one of them, and believes women cannot “have it all”.
She is perfectly happy staying at home while Phil earns the money.
Bronte cleans all day — dusting, tidying and putting away toys — before going to bed at around 11pm.
She says: “I’m trying to fit some time in just for me but it’s tough. And I love home-making. It’s my favourite thing to do.
“I clean the bathroom and kitchen twice a day — Phil has a beard and the girls a guinea pig, so it can get messy.”
Bronte even admits she could not relax on a recent family holiday to Somerset because the tidying was not to her precise standards.
She also worries the school national curriculum does not focus enough on “lost subjects” — sewing, knitting and cooking — which she teaches her children at home.
Bronte believes everyone can make their own lifestyle choices but she only ever wanted a traditional Fifties-style role.
I wouldn’t consider a career that took me away from my family.
She says: “My parents paid a lot of money for me to go to private school with the assumption I’d go to uni.
“But I was adamant that I just wanted to be a stay-at-home mum.
“I moved in with Phil when I was 17, and by 19 I had Amelia. She was planned.
“Being a mum was all I could think about. Something was missing until I had her.”
Bronte, who quit studying A levels in maths, biology, chemistry and IT after a few months, argues that people who belittle young mums are foolish because bringing up children is incredibly hard work.
She says: “Years ago if you hadn’t had a baby when you were 20, you were considered to be a spinster, but now it is the reverse. It takes a very intelligent person to bring up children.
“I wouldn’t consider a career that took me away from my family.
“There’s so many people relying on nannies but I want to be there for my children.
“I have really high standards. I would not be able to split myself in so many ways and also be there for the children.
“People say I am wasting myself, especially because I went to private school.
“But I simply take a relaxed approach to education. I don’t think university is the most important thing.”
Bronte admits that she can sometimes feel “anti-feminist”.
She says: “There is so much pressure on women to saturate the male environments, that traditional femininity can be completely discredited and undervalued.
“It is mostly considered wasteful of an educated woman’s life to be just a housewife.
“It’s almost as if home-making is only an approp-riate occupation for a woman who has little intellect or prospects.
“Actress Emma Watson once said, ‘Feminism is not a stick with which to beat each other’.
“So often, feminism seems to invoke a shame of being too traditionally female, whereas it should be a celebration of female choice.
“So here I am, a privately educated and strong-minded woman, who is choosing to live the life of a traditional housewife.
“And I couldn’t be happier with it.”
Bronte’s decision to become a teen mother stunned many of her school friends, who now hold down big careers as lawyers and doctors[/caption]