Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A brief period of housewifery

When my husband acquired a much more lucrative job an hour and a half from our current town, I bit my nails, crossed my legs, and waited two! weeks! before giving my two more weeks' notice at the Small Clothing Shop of Exhaustion and Sore Pregnant Legs.  I celebrated the end of my clothing retail career this weekend by going to the Nearby Small Town Sweet Corn Festival and thence to bellydance, and now am closing the second weekday of my new and blissful existence as a housewife.

It won't last forever.  The idea, once we move to the new town, is for me to work again, albeit under my own employment and on my own terms.  While the last thing we want with a baby on the way is for me to be stuck in an hourly job that barely covers the daycare costs, if everything goes to plan I will have to spend some of my time out of the home, perhaps a good portion of it.  Permanent housewifery is the ultimate goal, but not suburban housewifery - we want a farm, and farms cost money, and money must be earned and saved before it can be spent.  I'm not complaining (ok, so I do complain) about being a working mother; at least, while I complain about it, I also know the necessity.  I also know that while one must be discerning about giving one's child into another's care, it is possible to find wise, loving and caring people to help with childcare.  People who understand that I will be sending breastmilk, and that they are not to use formula because it's easier.  People who understand that the TV is not to be turned on while my child is in the vicinity; perhaps even people who make it their policy not to have TV at their establishments, because children should be playing and learning instead, and they are after all in the business of raising children.  It's not ideal, it's not the same as being at home with a child all the time, but it is what looks to be necessary to break our family free of the wageslavery of suburban Wal-merica, and therefore I believe it will be worthwhile to go to the trouble and expense of finding a nanny who will not compromise the upbringing of her charge for the convenience of leaving the baby in front of a flashing box while she talks on the phone.

I digress with my speculations on childcare.

We are a little over three (is it possible? only three?) months from meeting our Heidi-pumpkin, and it appears we are a month away from being able to move and let my husband cease his ridiculous commuting.  No house has been fixed on, and there is only so much I can pack until we are sure of a moving date.  There is much, much to organize, but after all, the towels and plates don't need to be packed up for weeks while we eat on plastic and dry ourselves on two towels that are washed every couple of days.  I know there is so much for me to do, but it is hard not to feel that I have plenty of time before me.  It's a deception I've fallen for over and over again, and it so happens that if I actually begin all the things I need to do, I only barely finish them before crisis time.  That didn't stop me from taking a nap this afternoon, though.  Well, maybe I was entitled.  I did only get five hours of (broken) sleep by the time I battled off my insomnia, woke back up to send my hubby out the door at 3 am, battled insomnia again, and woke when the sun got too bright.  Regardless, I felt luxurous and rather lazy.  I did work today; the house is much better ordered than it has been for ages.  But... but.

There was a time in our culture when a woman's place was considered to be in the home.  If her house was well managed and she could manage a midday nap to refresh herself and her unborn child, who could blame her for catching a bit of well-earned rest?  I have yearned for such a time, for such a situation for myself.  I have envied my friends who already have such a lifestyle.  I have even argued with my husband, pushing for the "right" to be what most women nowadays consider either unattainable or degrading, depending on their ideological bent.  But now that I have a short time of being able to live my dream, I feel like I'm not contributing, not doing enough to make our lives better, lazy.  Am I just so used to the way things have been since the beginning of my marriage that I have a hard time adjusting to a change?  Or have I really begun believing the lie that I'm only worth something if I have a corporate boss telling me I am?

1 comment:

sarah e. said...

"But now that I have a short time of being able to live my dream, I feel like I'm not contributing, not doing enough to make our lives better, lazy."

I remember feeling like that when I first quit the autism center job. Even now I sometimes have days when I wonder whether we are making the right decision. But then I come to my senses. Our life is crazy enough without me working outside the home. Lately I've taken to embracing the phrase "work at home" rather than "stay at home" wife even if it does lead people to think that I have some sort of business. I AM working every day, not just sitting around.

I do wish that I had worked just a little bit harder on developing some real housekeeping routines before James was born, though. Even if I would have had to totally change them once he arrived, it seems as though it would have been better to have at least had something to build upon. Just something for you to consider. But then maybe you were actually taught HOW and WHEN to clean/cook/organize stuff and thus are not struggling much at all. I never knew just how much I was lacking in this department until after James was born. It's easy enough to tidy a place whenever you feel like it on a sporadic basis when there are only adults living there. Factor a baby in and it is nearly impossible to achieve the same results with the same method.