Being a housewife is a role that still doesn’t quite sit right with me. I mean, yes, I adore my children, and I am very fortunate to be in a position where I am home with them every day. I never wanted to be a housewife. Growing up I saw my mum going out to work and still being available for me and my siblings when we needed her. I was encouraged to be an independent woman when I left education. Of course, the reality changed dramatically when I fell in love and decided to get married. Darn these emotions!
I often liken myself to a favourite movie character, Shirley Valentine, from the film of the same name. There are lots of Shirleys in the world, I realise. We are not all dowdy, downtrodden housewives, contrary to popular misconception. In fact, being a housewife is something to take pride in. We work damned hard to raise our children as happy, healthy, intelligent individuals. We work hard to make our homes nice places to live and play. None of this is recognized in the wider world, of course. If I could only receive some sort of “housewife benefit” as a token gesture of the work I do, then I would feel a little more validated. As it stands, my husband’s wage barely covers our household expenses, and so I find myself in the position of needing to seek paid work that I can fit around my children, since we also cannot afford childcare.
Yes, it is a double edged sword, indeed. I am not a domestic goddess by any stretch of the imagination. I have no interest in dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets or any of that stuff. To me, those jobs are menial necessities. I do take pride in a clean house, but it takes a lot of effort for me to put in the time and labour for the job. And at the moment my priority is tending to my children, and building my freelance business. Fellow housewives, come and share your experiences. What does it mean to be a housewife in the 21st century?
Could I tempt you to read my new short story, The Wolf and the Fairy, available to download now? Thank you!
See you tomorrow, for the next letter in the #AtoZChallenge.