Women have come a long way over the decades, and thanks to our trail blazing sisters of the past we can be grateful that we are able to vote, have an education and hold a well paying job if we so desire. But somewhere, in the last few decades, it has become almost excepted that you WILL go to university after school, you WILL settle in to a career, you WILL wait until you are almost past the point of child bearing age before you start trying to pop a few kiddies out and in no way will you EVER take on the surname of your husband. Somewhere along the way women have almost turned the knife on themselves and now there can be feelings of guilt attached to a life that doesn't involve a 9 to 5 corporate job, guilt over being 'just a housewife' (with 'housewife' seeming to be a dirty word nowadays) and wanting to take care of your husband is met with a raised eyebrow and a look that tells you they are thinking your partner is a chauvinist pig.
I'm a bit old fashioned in my thinking that if you decide that you want to start a family and become a mother that it is time that you really start to be a mother and be at home with your children. But...we are all different and some women really want to go back to work and this is fantastic. Hopefully they can afford childcare, or have someone to care for their kids, or if they do pay for childcare they are actually earning enough to cover the cost of the care. If I was to go back to work full time it probably wouldn't cover the cost of childcare, so this, for me, is also another reason I don't work. There are others, however, that have no choice, and with the cost of living have to go back to work, and I feel sorry for these women...because there would be some who are happy to go back to work, but then there would be others who would really prefer to be at home raising their kids instead of paying someone else to do it for them. I am lucky, and feel really grateful, that my husband works hard enough to earn enough for both of us...and not only that...wants me to be at home with the kids.
Anyway, having said all of that, I have decided to stop feeling guilty or undervalued or apologetic when I say "mostly I'm a stay at home mum"...('mostly' because I do occasional freelance work with a magazine that comes out four times a year.) You would have no idea how much better I feel about myself! Such a change in my attitude, and also a change in how I feel about my every day. I was feeling bored and frustrated with being 'stuck at home with the kids', but now I have embraced the housewife tag (#housewife)!!!.....I feel happy.
As a side note it is interesting that a lot of the pressure to be a 'super mum' comes from other mothers. You are probably familiar with what goes on....you know, you feel guilty because you didn't breast feed for longer than a year, you child wasn't toilet trained at 6 months old (say what??) or whatever it is mothers can sometimes 'compete' about. Feeling relaxed and confident in what you are doing in your own life is so important and being a little older (blergh) and I suppose wiser now, I have finally been able to find my place in life, within my role as a mum and yes, as a housewife.
I think the fast paced world that we live in, where you constantly have to be striving forward and working towards the next 'big' thing doesn't help us to be happy with our current circumstances. This was what I was finding, so as I have mentioned before, I have decided to jump off the merry-go-round and live a more simple life. I'm content now I've switched my thinking and making sure I'm enjoying the moment because before I know it the kids will be all grown up and I will wonder where my babies have gone. For example, next year my five year old and four year old boys are starting school together....so I will only have my little girl at home and three at school....where did that time go?
So having pointed out how important it is to embrace the housewife in you, if that is where you are right now (and feeling less than excited about it)....make sure you don't do what I did...which was forget about myself. I have found that just by dressing a little nicer each day, and taking a bit more pride in my appearance, has strangely helped my days feel a lot better. I am sure there are lots of things you can do, such as take time out to go for a walk, do a gym class, or learn to dance, but whatever it is, make sure that you don't get so caught up in the endless tasks of raising a family and running a household that you forget to take time out for yourself. This is where I came in with the idea to dress up each day, rather than just do my usual boring jeans and shirt combo. I'd just been not bothering about myself and starting to get more and more angry because I was starting to feel like I wasn't important to anyone....even myself. You have to be important to yourself first...and respect yourself first and foremost....before you can go on to respect anyone else. There is also the fact that looking after kids, a husband and running a household is not an easy job, and if you're anything like me you're at it from dawn to dusk and beyond, so you really need to learn to stop, slow down and take time out for yourself.
So having established that I am no longer trying to be Super Mum (with or without the cape), what things can help pull you out of the 'bored housewife' rut?......
Attitude. A positive attitude goes a long way. I start my day with a half hour session of yoga (I have DVDs) and, as well as giving me a good all over stretch with the hope it will improve my sore back, it puts me in a good mood. When I say attitude I also mean changing my attitude towards my role in the household as well as my husband's role as provider. Don't think it's a bad thing...letting go the reins is a life saver, trust me.
Dressing up, including doing my hair and some makeup. It sounds really weird, and I have been getting comments lately....like ..."Wow...you're wearing a SKIRT!!". Yes, it's been kind of funny how knocked over people are (those that know me as ONLY ever wearing jeans), and the reactions I have been getting. I mean, even the mailman who delivered a parcel to me this week was like...."You're in a skirt...you always wear jeans...." But this little change has made a big difference. I've had regular comments from various people on how nice I look, which it is lovely being complemented, and weirdly it makes my day kind of fun wearing something that IS fun.
Pride in the mundane. So I'm talking about the normal things I do during the day at home. For me I have taken up baking in a big way. As mentioned in a previous post, this week I made pasta, cordial and ice cream, yesterday I made two banana cakes (because there was enough over ripe bananas for two...so I froze one) and this morning I made scones and a batch of chocolate chip cookies. My husband has finished shearing our sheep now so I hope I can organise for him to put in a vegetable garden for me so I can fiddle about outside, and I also plan on teaching myself to sew....which should be interesting to say the least.
Turning inwards. Looking more in towards my home and myself, looking inwards rather than trying to find what it is I need on the outside. Does that make sense? For me it means shutting down a lot of social media, or certainly reducing it, limiting television, ignoring advertising and shutting out the disturbing parts of the world.
Embracing a simple life and the gentle attitude that comes with it.
Have you thought of making changes in your life?