When my husband married me, was his exclusive vocation expected to be that of husband and/or father? No. I rest my case.
Or at least part of it. Yes, I have freely promised to accept children, and will do so, if that comes my way (and I hope so). At my age (40), that’s a little less likely than it might have been, but my mother (a nurse) had me at age 45, so I’m not closing any doors yet (I’ve only been married five years, and actively “trying” for much less than that). My mother still initially describes herself to anyone as a nurse (at 85!), though, so asking her about her vocation would probably not yield the results you seem to expect.
Trust me, I’m a disaster with a vacuum cleaner or a duster (though I am a great cook). I haven’t the slightest interest in “keeping house.” I read “Home Comforts” and thought “who IS this lunatic who gives a sh*t about whether her bed linens are properly aired!?” I truly believe that children are happy when their parents are happy, and for me, being happy is certainly going to involve teaching, researching, and writing. I left a successful high school teaching career to go back to grad school and get a PhD because I missed the research part so much that I was jealous of my students writing research papers. I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I was asked to sit on the sideline for ALL of it! Besides, to be frank, I’m better at it than my husband, and it’s my job that gets HIM a job.
I also believe that a career (or at the very least MY career, though I have many other friends in other careers who are successfully balancing these things) is fully compatible with motherhood (and fatherhood). My husband and I will share parental responsibilities, and I hope that my children will learn from me that there are many options open for women, and that women are not prisoners of their biological “function.”
If God didn’t mean for me to be what I am, then why on earth or in heaven did He give me this passion for what I do? And don’t tell me that I should devote myself to a celibate life as an academic. Been there, done that, worn the habit (literally). I devoutly hope that we’ve moved beyond that kind of misconception
I know that there are women who are grateful for the opportunity to stay home and be mothers and wives, and who find in that life a true vocation. I am not one of them. But I hope my children will enjoy the richness that I think I can bring to their lives as a woman who loves them, but also has commitments to a world outside of them.