I keep up with a blog most of you probably know called Adventures in Housekeeping. The last couple of posts the author, Sanne, made really had me thinking about the perks and downsides of being a full-time housewife. There are many jokes made of the lazy homemaker who sits around all day on the couch midst bonbons and dirty diapers staring intently at a soap opera. There are also many sayings contrary to this picture, such as "Men may work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done." Both of these statements are true for me, personally.
There are also periods of time where housework is truly a struggle. It can be hard to be at home sometimes. You are still in your pajamas at 10:00 and can't remember the last time you left the house. You don't speak to another living soul except your very tired and irritable husband, who is so because he's working 70 hours a week. You just can't seem to get motivated. The dishes are calling your name and they sound like Beelzebub himself. Your crochet is in the corner, neglected. (Actually, you see the cats have been spending quite a bit of time on it. At least someone is.) You suppose you should take something out for dinner. So a couple of frozen chicken breasts hit the counter in a thunk and you give no more though to it until 4:30 when you absolutely cannot put it off any longer. During these periods I feel ugly and unproductive, but can't seem to pull out of it. I need a catalyst, and can wait a long time sometimes for this catalyst to hit me.
Then there are periods of time where I'm somewhere in the middle. I wake a little later than my husband hoping he took some breakfast burritos to work with him so he's not hungry. I make the bed, clean the toilet, and then put the coffee on to perk. While it's creating that black fluid I sometimes refer to as "the blood of the gods", I get dressed and brush my hair. I have my coffee while I watch the birds and read about other women blessing their homes. I go through my recipes and may decide to pull out a particularly time consuming one, or not. I make sure I have all the ingredients for it and do my prep. At this time, I'll take my dog for her first walk and I try to make it a good, long one. I look at my to-do list and do those few things on my list to ensure my house remains clean. Afterwards, I have the afternoon to work on those blankets I'm making for Christmas presents. After a couple of hours my hands may start to hurting, and I'll put it away and read a book. During these times, I might take a nap one day or sew up an apron on another. Some days are really productive and others aren't, but I have my center and I'm happy.
My husband's view is this: He isn't my boss. He doesn't tell me how to run the house. If I'm neglecting my cleaning, he doesn't say anything, at all, ever. He doesn't sigh through his nose or make half-jokes about the state of the laundry or entertainment center. I don't tell him how to do his job (provide) and he doesn't tell me how to do mine. Sometimes he has to have some grace and mercy with me, and I'm thankful for the kind of guy who hands it out freely.
Also, he works very, very hard to make sure that I can practice my freedom even if he really can't. He does this, because this is the lifestyle he enjoys and truly loves. He would do anything to preserve it. He loves coming home to homemade bread. He loves watching movies with me cuddled up under a homemade blanket. He takes pride in the fact that I can stay home. He works very hard, we are very frugal, and we plan ahead for those "just in case" lean times.
Housewives have the freedom to do as we please. We can sleep half the day away and half-clean the house just before our husbands come home if we want. We can spend the day doing nothing other than reading a good book, or watching The Waltons re-runs. We have the freedom to practice some laziness. Do not working women take vacations and have sick time? When I worked for a school district (and I wasn't a teacher), I received 14 days vacation, 7 sick days, 3 personal days, over a full week for Christmas, a week off for Thanksgiving, a week off in spring, plus all the other one day holidays...all off...all with pay. I tallied it up once. I received over 3 months worth of time all paid. So I don't really want to hear from working women about when I wanna take a month off to do absolutely nothing other than dishes and dinner. In the end, what I do is none of their business anyway.
There are also downsides to being at home full-time, and these are the ones working women will invariably say to me in conversations about staying home. Yes, I can get in a rut and become depressed over the state of the house, especially when it seems all the messes are from my family and not from me. I can feel like the maid. It sucks when the only conversation you get during the day is from your cranky 2-year-old or your dog. Yes, there are days when I become bored and wonder if I shouldn't just get a part-time job just to break the monotony of cleaning and cooking. Staying at home is hard sometimes. No doubt about it. However, I'm here living out my purpose.
The last thing I'll say here is, all jobs come with perks and downsides. When I worked for that school district I came home irritable every night. It took about three hours for me to be back to myself, which was about bedtime. Speaking of which, I was tired all the time. I didn't have time to learn to crochet, which since I've been home I've learned. And I love it! I didn't have time for a lot of things. I worked extremely hard, all day, every day because I felt if I just stood around on the clock it was the same thing as stealing. My brain was fried, my muscles hurt, and I was very cranky. I spent all day Sunday cooking meals for the upcoming week, and Saturdays were spent in a fog of movies unremembered even on Monday. But hey, money wasn't a problem and I got a lot of time off paid. I guess it's all about priorities.