The other day I was thinking back how what I am doing now is what I was I was trained to do when I was growing up. It is funny, but I still remember having a conversation about it when I was in my final year at high school.
Of course, I’m talking about being a housewife.
When I was in high school we had a discussion one day about how our teachers didn’t really encourage us to pursue a career. While we were being educated we weren’t pushed to try hard or get the best results we could. For many of us, it seemed to be an unspoken understanding that many of us girls would just become housewives and mothers so there was not a lot of point in pushing us to go further.
In some instances it was true. Tertiary education was not an option, especially for me. There was no way I could afford to go to University, and my parents certainly didn’t have the money or wish for me to go either. Though we could have been encouraged to try other things. Back then you didn’t need to go to uni to have a career.
The expectation really was that most of us girls would go off and marry farmers and have their children. Unfortunately, it was just after the whole women’s lib and we were meant to be outraged at that idea.
It was something that had to be done, and I totally agree that women should have more choices. They should be allowed to be whatever they want to be and not be held back. The downside to all that is that it became bad to be a housewife.
If you were a housewife you were sponging off your husband. You weren’t reaching your full potential. You had no ambition. Basically you weren’t valued in society.
Then we ended up with a whole half of society that went to work, still did most of the housework and most of the child-rearing, but still not given the respect they deserved. Women are still more likely to be working in lower-paid jobs, and getting less money than their male counterparts. It kind of stinks that here we are over 50 years later and we still have to fight for our rights.
But what happens to the woman who finds herself being a housewife and mother?
21st Century Housewife
The question really is, do they exist anymore? Well, they do, I’m one. I’m sure there are a lot of women out there who are doing it as well.
Besides being trained to be one, I also sort of fell into it really. I didn’t want to be the stereotypical housewife. I wanted a career and I had ambition, but it just never seemed to work out for me.
Once I became a mother, I was at home with them for nearly their whole lives growing up. I did have a job working Saturdays for a while when they were quite young. Sometimes I worked more and it drove my husband crazy because he knew that I expected more from him. He wanted me to work, so he had to help out. Simple if you ask me.
I did go back to study and my daughters had to become more independent, but that was only for 4 years. So for most of their lives, I was at home for them. I don’t think that was a bad thing.
When my daughter went through a traumatic event it meant that I could be there for her as well. I was able to care for her and take her to everything that she needed to go to. We didn’t have to compromise on her care. So being home was good in that instance.
Though, if I’m honest I also tried to get my photography business going as well. Well on and off. It really is only the last 6 months where I’ve thought, bugger it I am going to be just a housewife.
So why do I feel guilty?
Why do I feel like I have to justify myself to people? Why do I feel like I’m not contributing to society because I am a housewife?
Good questions. Though really, I’ve reached an age now where I don’t care, but that wasn’t always the case. I know my husband is more than happy to let me stay home while he works. To take care of everything in the house, and outside too if I’m honest. I pay all the bills, I get what needs fixing fixed and I run the house.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the guilt was due to my mother in law who never really felt I was good enough for her son. She worked the entire time my husband and his brothers were growing up. So she always made me feel like I should have been going out to get a job.
Of course, the biggest problem I’ve always had is that I wasn’t trained to do anything really. Getting a job was difficult as I don’t have experience or the training required.
Being a housewife is what I was trained to do
Now I need to get those voices out of my head and just say it is what I want to be.
If a woman chooses to stay home and look after the house why should she be made to feel guilty about it? If it is what she wants. It is different from the days when many women didn’t have a choice. Like when they had to give up their jobs when they got married for instance, but that doesn’t happen anymore.
Why do we think that a woman who stays home can’t be intelligent? Working at home is hard work and as the old cliche goes, it is never-ending.
I love it. I’m so happy. I can cook what I want, and bake as well. When baking I often photograph what I’ve baked, so there is that as well. I’m constantly learning new skills, and I refuse to apologise for being something like a 50’s housewife.
Women’s liberation was all about choices, so this is mine.
Wow, this post didn’t quite go the way I thought it would. Oh well, there you go. Take care and I hope you are doing what you want to do as well.