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Why Are Strong Women Tough In Their Careers But Not At Home?

arnold schwarzenegger, maria shriver, feminism, marriage infidelity, children infidelity

Maria Shriver stood by her husband's side for 25 years.

There have been a few incidences in the news recently of strong, savvy, professional women who are skilled in business and smart as a whip, but who for one reason or another, were deceived in their marriage. Today’s news of Maria Shriver’s startling revelation that her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger not only cheated on her but also fathered a love child with a household staffer is shocking to me. Sure, to many it’s not, but I can’t get over the dichotomy of being so strong on one front and so naïve in another. In today’s society, are women who are so resilient in the workplace still settling for less at home?

I certainly don’t mean to blame the women either because I’m sure that the husbands in question are ridiculously crafty and accustomed to lying. I guess I’m more disappointed that no matter how strong and smart we may be, we are still vulnerable to being deceived. It’s disturbing, but once we have inclinations that our spouse has been unfaithful, we need to make a decision to stand up for ourselves. If we don’t, what does that mean for the children involved?

With Schwarzenegger, the child was born to a household staffer who had worked for the couple for twenty years. She only retired recently and the child is ten years old. So that means that this woman was in the home with Maria’s own children for twenty years out of her 25 year marriage. In addition, Arnold has had several affairs throughout the years.

In a statement Arnold said:

After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry. I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time. While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not.

Well, that last sentence is true at least. Yet if Maria knew of his groping accusations and infidelity issues (which she had to to some degree even before he admitted it), why did she not only stand beside him but help get him to the governorship of California? Didn’t she owe it not only to her children to confront his cheating ways, but more importantly to herself?  I greatly admire Maria and I also feel incredibly bad for her. Perhaps, she wanted to maintain the marriage because of her four children, but I firmly believe that only reinforces that girls should accept cheating and deceiving and it’s OK for boys to do it. The housekeeper who gave birth to Arnold’s child surely taught her child shame and low self-esteem by continuing to work in a household where the child’s father intentionally hid the child’s existence. All the children in this scenario lose.

It reminds me of John Edwards’ children. How in the world will they ever get over the fact that their father had a love child with another woman and the news came out while their mother was fighting for her life? That is some long-term damage that will need years of therapy to work through and would most likely spill over into their own marriages, trust issues, and personal lives. How will the child conceived from John Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter, get over the fact that Edwards would not publicly acknowledge he was her father until she was 22-months-old? When Edwards finally did admit daughter Frances Quinn’s paternity, he released a statement that said, “It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me.”

Growing up under the air of infidelity has long-lasting effects on a child, I can personally attest to that fact. It leaves you with doubts of acceptance, questions of self-worth and a whole lot of shame. I guess that’s why I feel so strongly that women who have the smarts to be powerful in their field and work life, need to be an example to their kids and stand up for themselves.

Furthermore, they need to give themselves the gift of love by not allowing these men to abuse them any more, and years of infidelity and fathering children with a mistress is a form of abuse in my eyes. It’s a silent declaration that the women are not worthy of a loving, committed relationship, and that the man’s desires take precedence over his wife’s feelings and stability.

Image: Wikipedia

The Cycle Continues: Top 10 Parenting Scandals of April 2011!

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