I’m barely writing my first blog post and my 15 yr. old is already using my blog against me. He came downstairs with a tray full of dishes from his room and placed them next to the kitchen sink.
He warned me that there were some stinkers in there that he had forgotten to bring down last week. I told him to go ahead and clean them himself. He paused, put his hand on my shoulder and said “No mama, you should clean it, you love this stuff, it’s what you do. You’re a housewife remember? One Happy Housewife!”
Well played Jr., well played!
Being a housewife and stay-at-home mom is not easy. I still never understand when people ask me what I do or where I work, and then respond with a “That must be nice.” when I tell them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be blessed enough to be able to stay with my kids while they’re growing up. I personally love organizing, cleaning and planning, so yes, it’s nice to do what I love everyday.
The thing is, I know what “That must be nice” really means.
It means they think I’m “just” a housewife and all I do is probably sit at home on the couch Facebooking and watching Netflix. It means they think we’re rolling in dough, so I get to stay at home all day and do nothing. I’ve literally had friends call me in the middle of a hectic day to ask me to do something for them because “I have so much free time”.
It means they think I’m probably not smart enough to go out and get a “real” job. I’ve actually had the cable guy, stop mid-sentence while he was explaining what he was going to do, and say “You wouldn’t understand.” because a few minutes earlier he had asked what I did for a living.
It means they assume that the work I do on a daily basis is “simple” and requires no smarts. Try balancing a checkbook with a screaming child at your feet while helping an angry teenager with algebra!
It means they think I spend my days at a fancy coffee shop sipping cappuccinos and gossiping with my other housewife friends. It means they think I shop at Target every day. OK, maybe I do shop at Target every day, but that’s nobody’s business!!
Well, all these stereotypes associated with being a housewife and stay-at-home mom, couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We’re not “just” housewives. We’re so many things rolled into one. We’re wives, moms, teachers, nurses, chauffeurs, chefs, accountants, cheerleaders, pet-sitters, event planners, organizers, therapists, mediators, cleaning ladies and personal shoppers. We run a full-service laundry facility and kitchen while also serving as the family alarm clock and calendar. I could go on and on. All this.
Some days, I don’t have time to shower, I don’t have time to eat breakfast, and I don’t have time to sit and breathe just for a minute. When I’m sick, I don’t take the day off. It’s business as usual. Oh, and as far as friends, I definitely don’t get to hang out with them as often as I’d like. And just like with any job, sometimes I get frustrated, and sometimes I feel like I just can’t do it anymore, and it’s too much for just one person, and sometimes I want to run out of the house screaming! On days like that though, I remember why I do this, and I remember that there are 6 other people that I love dearly who need me to be there for them.
I take pride in my job and I try to do it well. Just like I would any other job. I find joy in trying to make things easier and figuring out ways to streamline everything and reduce the stress from going, going, going all day. I find joy in knowing that when things are organized, the house is clean, and everyone has what they need, I’m doing a good job.
Now, if you’re a mom who has to work outside the house because of financial need, that’s OK. You’re doing the best you can. If you’re a mom who works because she doesn’t like to be at home doing housework during the day, that’s OK too. And if you’re a mom who works from home, then more power to ya! It’s about being happy, and being proud of what we do. We’re all in this together and we should support each other.
It took me a while to learn to put the comments aside. It also took me a while to learn not to have my motivation be about being appreciated. It’s nice when my family tells me they appreciate what I do but my happiness comes from doing the best that I can. It comes from knowing that I’m doing what I love every day, even though it can get overwhelming at times. It may not be a paying job, but being a housewife and a stay-at-home mom is an important job, it’s a tough job, it’s a 24/7 job, and it’s a job that I am proud of!