Friday, 16 September 2011

Whiny Wife

It’s Friday!  Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ documenting my learning curve as a new, and unexpected, full-time homemaker.

Hello Friends.  A big thank you to those that stopped by on Wednesday to peruse these Chronicles.  I will also apologize.  I also perused the archive on Wednesday and realized it had become a repository for a bit of whining.  I am a ball of inconsistencies.  While claiming to embrace my home-maker-ness, I have also been whining.  To be honest, I was going for sarcasm, but it doesn’t always come across.  I once said my memoirs would be called, ‘Sarcasm doesn’t translate to print.’  Completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. 
The issue, as I see it, is that I have a constantly changing view of what it means to be a housewife and how I feel about the role.  I guess the straight-forward definition would be a wife that stays home and takes care of ‘the house,’ i.e. cleaning, cooking, ironing, schedule keeping, family finances, etc.  We won’t touch the child aspect.  I’m not going there, despite it being an assumed part of the gig.  However, I feel like ‘housewife’ must mean more than that these days.  In my small circle of friends there are quite a few women that are basically functioning as housewives on a daily basis, but are also studying for a degree, starting their own business, doing some light admin work for the family business or moving between freelance positions.  And I feel like this has always been the case with housewives.  They are always the engine behind the family machine. 
I am very aware that the ‘heyday’ of the housewife was coupled with an inevitability.  However, due to the tenacity of those housewives, and time just marching on, our generation* has, all things being equal (which is rare, I know, but go with it), the choice to chuck it all in and stay at home.  To be fair, I didn’t choose to stay home and I raged against it for a long time and that discomfort and inability to accept my position caused a lot of angst, as you all read.  Eventually, I got my head on straight and put my energy toward finding the positives in my position and I’m happy to say I am happy.  We are healthier, spending less money, less stressed and, I think, a better team.  Yes, being happy in my position includes my husband’s happiness.  If that isn’t important to me, then I shouldn’t be married.  But if I’m not happy, he isn’t happy so taking time to take care of me is also taking care of us.  For me, being a housewife isn’t about giving everything to my family or about being selfish with my time.  It is a happy balance that makes us all happy.  It’s about creating a support system that allows us to flourish, together. 
But our generation doesn’t want to claim the title of housewife with all its Donna Reed implications.  (Although, that reference has its own issues as it is a fictional character and she was the un-credited producer and writer.)  As a point of interest, I am the only one of my friends that refers to herself as a housewife.  Maybe I like the drama of the title.  It does elicit some interesting responses.  Maybe it’s the dormant non-conformist in me.  Maybe I’m retro.  Maybe both.  Who knows.
What I do know, is that I am happier than I have been for a long time.  It has taken me a long time to get here, but I know for certain I would not have got here without my husband.  I don’t know what my life would be like if I didn’t go to Africa and if my friend didn’t work her wily ways to push us toward each other in those few short weeks.  But I don’t want to know.  That isn’t what happened.  What happened was a dream come true, literally.  Forgetting that in order to mourn a hypothetical parallel life is a waste of time.   

I guess this is a long-winded way of  saying that I will be working toward making the Chronicles a bit more lively, less whiny. 

But thanks for sticking with me through the whiny.  Into every life a little whine must fall.  I prefer mine dry. 

*please accept that the generation I am referring to is a sweeping generalization including women in my ‘demographic’ group, which to be honest is relatively privileged its it ability to accumulate education and careers and its ability to walk away if it so chooses.   

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