Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.
It has been an interesting few weeks. I apologize for my absence. I haven’t been much of a housewife lately. These 20 days of employment have turned into the most annoying research project that won’t end.
The paid research has been illuminating, but perhaps not in the way the organizers had hoped. By running all over the City and East End chasing down interviewees, I managed to chase down myself as well.
That’s heavy, I know. But what I mean is this: While I was running around being a professional, I really wanted to be home taking care of laundry and prepping dinner. OK, maybe not totally. I did really like getting dressed and navigating the city and hearing people’s stories. I really liked that. What I didn’t like is the guilt I felt that I didn’t have the energy to keep the house clean, organize dinner (we have been eating take-out like crazy) or go for a run (fit fail), and I haven’t baked anything in weeks!!! This is self-inflicted guilt, but it is also a bit of sadness. I really enjoyed those things. (I also don’t like the slap-dash organization of the project, but that is another issue and this is not the place for it).
I know, I sound like every working woman in the world (it's a stretch, go with it). It’s a perpetual problem, yes?
So while the work has made me a less reluctant housewife, it has also made me decide, without a doubt, that I will not be happy as an Academic. This does not mean that I don’t want to teach and/or tell geography stories. It means I think there is a better forum out there than the hallowed, sometimes, out-of-touch, halls of the ivory-tower Academy.
But here’s the thing….
There’s always a thing.
I have three rather major academic projects to finish before I can move on and wave good-bye to Academia for the time being. These projects are drawing out and the energy it takes to complete them is massive. (I still harbour a strong desire to teach undergrad Geography on a part-time basis, or at a community college. But that’s not going to happen right now, so I am putting it aside for awhile. When I return to the Academy, I would like it to be as a well-worn, full-lifed, slightly eccentric, ‘older’ woman. You know, one of those spunky ladies with a fab back story and a way of rolling with life.) I’m attempting to power through!!
We are hoping to go on a fairly major holiday in September (when the Border Agency finally returns the passports they are holding for ransom). I am trying to view it like I did the wedding/thesis deadline. This holiday will be a clean break, hopefully. If I can finish all this stuff before we head off, when we come back I can focus on my own stuff and leave the academic guilt behind. I think the fact that I haven’t embraced the ‘Dr.’ title, even though I am now employed, albeit temporarily, as a ‘Doctor,’ may have been the first clue to my discomfort. My newly minted colleagues have no qualms throwing the title around. I just feel a fraud. I feel more comfortable using the Mrs, than the Dr. And that’s saying something!
Here’s an interesting tid-bit. Remember when I was having fits trying to decide what to tell people I ‘do’ upon introduction? I now thrown out ‘housewife’ without thinking. However, after yesterday, I may have to rethink this action. After my introduction, I was presented with the question, “Oh! How old are your children?”
Did you catch that?
Somehow, housewife immediately translated to Mom. WHAT!!! This followed a separate conversation about how it is not acceptable to just be a housewife. Kids must be involved for it to be acceptable. WHAT IS HAPPENING!!! Let us enjoy each other for a bit! (Not that I am saying kids will keep us from enjoying each other.)
I countered with, “No kids. Just Wife.” Which was met with, “Oh………”
This obsession with titles is exhausting, yes? I mean, how often does one’s job title reflect them? I think I have said this before, but when meeting someone for the first time, or when thrown together at a dinner/cocktail/birthday/holiday/clothes swapping party, find other questions to ask than, “So? What do you do?” And if you insist on continuing to ask this question, don’t be surprised when someone eventually answers, “I sacrifice my soul for 10-12 hours a day at a job I can barely tolerate or understand to fund my average, yet enjoyable lifestyle.”
Because that really is the most honest, and possibly common, answer and a real conversation ender and party killer. Find another question.
So, to more important things….
Where to go on holiday? Where we will enjoy each other’s company as a young married couple. No kid guilt required. Thankyouverymuch.
We are thinking two weeks. We have floated the following ideas:
Mini-expedition to Morocco, Med cruise, mini-expedition to Columbia, resort in Mauritius, train through Italy, road trip through Britain.
Thoughts, suggestions, advice? I think we are leaning toward the mini-expedition in Morocco and taking on a few days in a nice hotel at the end for a little extra relaxation.