Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.
If one more person tells me to have a baby, I’ll scream*
I’m not opposed to babies. What I am opposed to is the response ‘so have a baby’ when I say that I am currently unemployed and a housewife. Is that really the best reason to have a child? I think not.
Pete and I are not ready to have a kid. I know most people say that if you wait until you’re ready you’ll never have a child, but we are really not ready. There is a lot we want to do before we have a baby. A few months ago we decided, while quite tipsy on cocktails, that we would go off birth control when my current prescription runs out. (See what I mean? Really not ready.) That’s in a few months. I will most likely still be unemployed and my career still stalled. And while some would say, ‘If the career isn’t going anywhere why not put that job search energy into having a baby?’ I am not stoked about putting a career that doesn’t really exists on hold for another 10 years. I know it can be done and be still be rewarding and successful, and if it doesn’t exists what’s the harm? But I am not quite ready to give up on it just yet.
I’m a procrastinator. Always have been. If you look up procrastination in the dictionary, my name is listed as an example. Seriously. I found it one summer when I was home from University. My mother had written it there (in pen) five years earlier. I need to warm up to things. I like to let it roll around in the head for awhile and then maybe take some action. Maybe.
I’m someone who never thought they would get married and never really thought about having kids. Cats, yes, but not kids. I need to get my head around being a wife (and a doctor) before I jump into being a mother. One thing at a time, please. Let me enjoy discovering the new title changes and identities.
But here’s the one that annoys me the most. I am in my 30’s and for the past two years my gyno asks about when am I thinking about having kids because I am not getting any younger. Wait, what??? That makes me take a step back every time (or at least scoot away from the end of the table). First, why is it a given that I am going to have children . Second, what’s the rush? 32 isn’t that old is it? And third, she only started asking after I got engaged. Would she have asked if I was still single? I would think a woman in this particular position would have a bit more tact or at least wait until I brought up the subject. Perhaps she is just covering her medical a** and ticking a box about ‘providing family planning information.’ Whatever the reason, this kind of expectation makes me want to put off having children just out of principle.
We have since decided to push the birth control end date back another two years (at least). Actually, we decided that Pete would stay with his current company as a contractor for another two years and then become a permanent employee with benefits as we will be needing ‘paternity leave, paid holiday, etc.’ So, without actually saying it out loud, we have opted for more us time. We are still getting used to being a family of two and want to enjoy that a bit before we become three. Our five+ years together have been full of a lot of transition and change. A little time to settle and enjoy being a young married couple will be divine. Plus, we have a lot of travelling still to do. We haven’t taken a real vacation that didn’t involve some type of family obligation in two years. We both kind of have this idea that we need to get everything done on our ‘life lists’ before kids come around. It’s ridiculous, perhaps, but there it is. It’s time for us to be us. Time for us to explore and enjoy what it means to be husband and wife, on our own terms.
I’m very excited about that, as a housewife or other-wise employed.
I had this post all set and then I went into my doctoral alma mater. I have been MIA since finishing, which isn’t unusual but everyone wants to know what you have been up to. And they mean academically, nothing else really registers. I recounted my numerous failed applications and proposals and that I was currently an overly qualified housewife. And there it was, it was a joke, but it was there, ‘So have a baby!!’ I’m going to blow passed this to something I started thinking about during the seminar about mothering images, etc.
During the small talk of academic catch-up I really enjoy saying that I have been honing my housewife skills. In this environment I enjoy saying that I have been biding my time cooking, writing non-academic essays, and taking care of my husband. In these moments I own it and love it. The feminist geographers hate this. I could go on a rant about this, but I won’t. It’s in the same corner as the gyno rant. Expectation of woman’s role. Gyno is traditional; women, married women, reproduce. Feminist geographers’ is a bit backward; enjoying a traditional role is a step backward. Neither one seems to help the cause. I think a huge part of *feminism* is having a choice. Yes I am currently a housewife due to a lack of employment opportunity (and a little laziness, let’s be honest) but I am also choosing to be a housewife over being a coffee barista. I am choosing to take care of our domestic life for a variety of reasons, but I am choosing it. As was pointed out over at Reclaiming Wife yesterday, what we think of as *women’s* work is oppressive if we feel oppressed doing it, but not because we are women doing it. Check out the discussion for any issues you have with calling it women’s work in the first place. Language causes problems but we can move beyond them until better language comes around (okay, a tiny rant).
Actually, lately I have been thinking about how to have a career I enjoy and still be able to take care of things around the house. Because, as much as I like to complain, I really like taking care of our nest. I like the logistics of making sure laundry is done and ironed on time, of making sure we have a variety of dinners and that they are done on time, of our social life (as limited as it is), of our bigger to-do lists, of making Pete’s life a bit easier. He is an incredible support to me and my current soul searching, it’s the least I can do for our little team. (Notice that actual cleaning is not listed. I am the queen of the tidying and shifting of sh*t, but I do hate cleaning).
FYI: The book proposal is being dragged out again. Stay tuned.