One of the first question I receive when I meet a new person is often what I do for a living. Depending on the asker, I sometimes dazzle with the glamour of my previous job: “I worked in investment banking but the hours were putting to much stress on my marriage so I am now working on a new life plan.” For a close friend I haven’t seen in a while I might delve into the whole story. “I worked in investment banking but the hours were putting too much stress on my marriage and I had always dreamed of being a professor. I left my job to go back and get my PhD but after much searching and deciding we came to the very difficult realization that leaving Dallas was not what God had in store for us. There aren’t any PhD programs for me around here so I am now working a new life plan.” Sometimes I give a different answer. Depending on my syllabic desires I say homemaker or housewife.
And then I wait for it. First, I am asked for old the kids are. After I inform this person (usually a stranger) that we don’t have any, I get the eyebrows raised is surprise. Then comes the comment, normally along the lines of “Well that must be nice.” No, sitting around on my tush eating bon-bons all day would be nice.
So what do I do? Well besides being secretary, accountant, nurse, therapist, housekeeper, laundress, nutritionist, personal shopper, event planner, decorator, and executive chef, I just sit around eating bon-bons all day.
I should start asking these professionals what they do all day. I know many people with jobs, who actually DO sit around all day. They obsessively check e-mail, occasionally respond to one, talk on GChat, play on Facebook, but never actually work. Why is it that this question is only asked to housewives and not to other professionals? Is it intended to marginalize the housewife and what I do both in my own home, for my friends, and as volunteer work? For whatever reason, being a housewife opens you up to all sorts of judgment from strangers. I think it is important to add that not everyone judges. Although it is quite interesting that the people who are the least judgmental are the people who are the most satisfied with there own lives. It takes a fulfilled person to accept and understand fulfillment. These people are able to be happy that I am happy and move on. On the other hand, people who are dissatisfied with their own lives and jobs have a compromised ability to understand satisfaction. They have a small view of what satisfaction must look like and seem unable to accept that satisfaction can take many forms. Well, my being a housewife is not a problem. We don’t have financial concerns and our marriage is flourishing. It is not my problem it is yours.
With all that said, I do still have the same desires and drives I once did. I still keep up with current events. I am still able to hold a provocative, informed conversation on a myriad of current events, cultural topics, and even academic breakthroughs. I still dream of being a college professor. I think constantly on what God has in store for me and what my life direction is. But for now, I have made a commitment to my home and my family to get us settled, moved in, and happy in our new home. I am not going to allow my desires for the future to undermine the joy I find in what I am doing. Nor will I let your judgment of my decisions undermine the importance I place on being there for my husband and creating a home where we can begin our family and live happily together.
I don’t judge you for pandering to a boss and playing online word finds all day. I don’t comment on your entire budget which is spent on designer suits to wear to an office you dislike, with people you despise, at a job you hate. I don’t criticize the lack of communication between you and your significant other. I’ve been there. I understand. I don’t judge.
You’ve made your choice. I made mine.
I am a housewife.