Friday, October 31, 2008

Staying at Home (Not Working)

So the hubby and I decided that the best course of action for our family is for me to stay at home right now. He is opposed to me doing any kind of paid of work and is more than happy to work doubles, pick up extra shifts on his days off, and stay longer at the job if they need him too. All he requires is that I "hold it down at home". What does holding it down entail? Basically, I run the house. I wash and fold all the laundry (although yesterday he did two loads while I took the boys to their playgroup), I keep the house tidy (although he is by no means a slob and is actually more meticulous about neatness than I am), I do all the cooking (he takes home cooked food for dinner at work and I generally pack his meals), all the grocery shopping and 99% of the childcare including lessons for Z1. I enjoy what I do and so does he. He doesn't feel an guilt or insecurity about working the way he does and enjoying it (and he shouldn't) but I sometimes do.

Yesterday, I was talking to one of my girlfriends and I got all mealy mouthed about why the hubby doesn't want me to do any paid work. Now, the answer is clear in my mind: it interferes with my first (and most important) job which is running the household. Any other work I do tends to not be really worth it. For example, I thought about babysitting but I realized I could only charge at most $800. The kind of disruption that caring for another child who's not my own would bring to our family life, well, it would just make more sense for me to go back to teaching and make some real money. That way, we would know that my job is outside the house, household responsibilities need to be split evenly and we'd have a significant paycheck to show for it.

But for some reason, I just couldn't spit it out. Now, that bothered me. So I sat down and thought about why I couldn't get it out. It's because somewhere deep inside, I feel a little embarrassed that I really do enjoy the traditional role of mother and wife. I mean, I can get with the role of professional woman and intend to do so after the boys are grown or at least school-age but right now, being a traditional wife works for me and my family. Yet, I still struggle with the feelings of it being some kind of cop-out at best and failure at worst.

Yeah, people react negatively sometimes asking me if this is "all I do". My own mother speaks of it in a negative light even though she stayed home for a long period of my early childhood. I mean, nowadays, people's reactions and what people say or think about me bother me less and less. I do what I need to do to feel complete and whole spiritually and intellectually. I do what is best for my family, the most important people to me. But sometimes that insecurity creeps in and I get all mealy mouthed instead of straightforward and direct when describing our situation.

I can't blame DH. He likes to have freshly made blueberry muffins for breakfast on any random day. He likes to know that his children are exceptionally well cared for without a doubt. He likes to consistently have freshly laundered and folded clothing to wear. He likes these things, that I can only do because I stay home, so much that he's willing to work for it. And since I like to do these things, I'm happy to let him.

I don't know. The economy may get so bad that our priorities will have to shift and I may have to force my way back into the work force. Not a pretty thought but it might come to that. I'm grateful I have something to fall back on (even if I do have to take some classes and workshops to become hire-able). I have the degrees and always will. So I'm working on letting go of any insecurities that surround being a homemaker. I'm striving everyday to do a better job of it than I did yesterday.

7 comments:

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Girl,

Enjoy it! I mean really if you love it then do it as long as possible. One of my friends had the same struggle as they decided she would stay home the first year of her daughter’s life. So I get the struggle you have after all I think we Gen X’ers were kinda raised to look down on June Cleaver, but to me feminism is all about CHOICE. The choice to stay at home, work outside the home, work at home and outside the home, not work at home or outside the home.

Enjoy it until you don’t anymore! That’s my motto

-OG

80sBaby70sSoul said...

Girl you know I am proud and envious of you all at the same time. I am proud that you can stand your own even when people are deliberately trying to put you down. And, I am envious of your home-making abilities. If I could knit and crochet and cook and clean and teach the way you do I would stay at home too! I still have 3 years to learn though so I hope you will be there to help a sista out!

Your household woks, and the people in it are very happy. That's all the matters!

Chi-Chi said...

OG, I agree. It is all about choice! I wish everyone could see that and put an end to the silly so-called "mommy wars" going on all over the place!

80sbaby . . .awww, thanks!!! Yup, I had to learn that hard way, you most definitely have to do what works for you and makes you happy. You live this life just once!

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there Chi-Chi,

If you are happy THAT is what matters.

Some people in this country DO have a slave mentality and they believe that women should work themselves to the point of collapse...and I have written about this mentality at my blog.

Child-rearing and home management is a LOT of work. It may be more work than your husband does outside of the home because there are MORE emotional demands upon you when dealing with children than he has placed upon HIM when dealing with adults.

I commend you for your devotion to your family and husband!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Chi-Chi said...

Thanks Lisa!!

You're definitely right. On some days I really wish I was headed out the door to work! The emotional demands are just that--demanding!!

blackgirlinmaine said...

Don't let anyone make you feel bad about your choices. Raising kids and tending to the house is hard work. Its one of the reasons that I do the work I do because working a traditional 9-5 would be hard. I did it when I was a single Mom and had no choice, but its hard.

Fruitful Vine said...

Hi
I can't remember where exactly I came across your blog but I'm here. I applaud you for doing what you and your husband decides is best. Here in Dominica almost everyone seems to expect women to work even though they don't say it. I've found since we moved back here a year ago that most people who I catch up with are very openminded about it because they know who I was before I moved away 7 yrs ago and respect my decisions. I've also found some who tend to think I should go to work and asked my husband if I don't want to work and if I'm using homeschooling as an excuse not to. Upon which my husband said that it was originally his idea not mine which is so true I had no idea about homeschooling till he brought it up. Anyway I've been going on and on. I guess because this is a subject I'm passionate about. I see too many children going astray because both parents are working and in cases where both parents don't need to work it bothers me. Anyway keep on doing what is best for your family and what makes your family happy. You have a wonderful husband who is gladly willing to work to let you do what you love treasure that. many women would love to be home but their husband has sold out to the women should work too mindset and would not willingly support a wife who wants to stay home. Enjoy this season of life. You never know what the next season will hold and you want to know that there are no "i wish i had" thoughts only thoughts of satisfaction that you made the most of it. Take care and God bless you my dear.

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