I couldn’t sleep well the night before beginning my tenure as a Stay-at-Home Wife. I was nervous about how I would do and if I would earn my keep. Even though I had been married for two months by then, this was my first day as a fully functional wife. I didn’t really know what that looked like. I texted Christy early in the day. Christy is an adult I used to work with who has three teen-aged children. She knows how to be a wife, and I knew she would be there for me. She walked me through making stir fry. I don’t know if I would have ever known to buy ginger in a tube–at that point I was yet to spend days of my life learning to cook from Pinterest. Even with her help, the beef was over-cooked and the rice hard. I was glad to have some personal direction, but I knew it was practice that I really needed.
I have gotten the practice! I came from a full-time job and working on the side so that momentum meant I expected to be productive as a housewife. I was nervous because I thought I would find out I was actually lazy and be a disappointment to my husband. What I have found is that more certain than anything, being a wife is my calling. I find actual joy in taking care of my husband, cooking nice meals, and keeping my house clean. I do everything but the laundry, which I agreed to do while I’m not working, but Spencer still does it.
Being a housewife is all you dream it to be, except I really wish I had a house-dress with a train. As a historically ambitious person, I never thought this would be the life for me, but this is the life for me! Everything I choose to do is what I decide should be done. I don’t have to deal with other people, and I can focus all my intention on what matters most to me which is my husband. Can you imagine no emails to return, no meetings, no silly projects, no one to avoid running into in the workroom? Let you mind soar. That is my life.
As a SAHW, my goal is to match my husband’s effort outside the home with mine inside the home. Not because I’m a woman, but because that seems fair. I think that when my husband comes home, the house should be clean and there should be something for him to eat. I used to literally serve Spencer as much as I could but I had to realize that was a recipe for a disaster in the event I actually get a job. To work 8 hours, go to the gym, and go get him the barbecue sauce is just asking too much! I think he is aware of this too and doesn’t really ask me to do anything for him. Also, we have an understanding that responsibilities will change when I start working.
The one main risk in being a housewife is having my security be completely dependent on my husband’s job security. If he were to lose his job, we would be looking very vulnerable. I’m not too worried about this because I have a degree and a professional work history so I feel I could support myself if I had to. Wait, I can’t get a job. Never mind; we would be doomed.
The only people who get to stay home with no kids are rich people and military spouses. At times I have thought of myself at a trophy wife. At other times, my enjoyment was that it made me feel kind of rich. I liked to pretend I could afford to stay home! Well now I really can’t afford it. I need a job.
I learned how to cook, I got out of and back in to shape, my house is decorated–I think I’ve accomplished all I needed to do at this phase of our life.I feel I’m getting less productive each day. It’s been like 3 weeks since I mopped! That’s not like me. Tuesday I put away a packet of gravy that sat on the counter for a week. That’s like me. Don’t worry, my house is still clean. You just can’t smell the bleach as often.
My next project needs to be planning a budget. It’s hard to adjust to having no income because I loved my income so much when I had it… It’s like when you break up with a boyfriend of 4 years; the process of letting go takes time. Now I accept that my income is gone, and it’s time to move on; move on to any job I can find.
Penniless or not, I still consider the time I have gotten to “take care” of my husband (and myself) to be a blessing and an investment. I’ve gotten to spend like 6 months just focusing on us, me, and crossfit! And I was very glad to get out of my last job. That alone is worth a lot to me. The next time I get time off work will be maternity leave; after that, retirement. I’ll consider this my gap year. Let’s just hope at some point it ends; preferably by employment and not maternity. Until then, I will be dusting and mopping on a semi-regular basis and meeting my husband at the door with joy.