28 Jun 2007

Can I openly declare I'm a housewife? Am I brave enough yet or must I pretend that I have a thriving home business and don't really devote most of my time to home and family? If I'm honest I always fancied the life of a housewife. Until I was 14 my mum was a happy and fulfilled housewife and her life looked pretty good to me. Even when it was a bit of a struggle and that wasn't often she genuinely loved making a home.

When I first started working I began thinking of how nice it would be to stay home and think about the things I wanted to think about rather than have to concern myself with other people's problems. I always thought I was being rather selfish as I did have something to offer others and I did enjoy work once I got there.

When I read The Women's Room by Marilyn French it didn't turn me into a man hater. I loved the description of her early married life and the comraderie amongst the housewives. I felt as sorry for the men trapped in their roles unable to experience a truly equal relationship with their wives and alienated from their children as I was for the women . The characters seemed so stereotypical to me. I have to admit the thing that interested me most was the housework routine of the main character with her file cards and carefully rostered jobs.

One of Fay Weldon's books, I can't remember which one, talked about a woman whose husband insisted that they live a very simple life and one of her jobs was to bake the bread. I know I was supposed to be appalled by this husband demanding things be done a certain way but I was interested in her daily routine of housework and bread making.

I've never had a bossy husband, he is a very reasonable man and over the years we have fallen into a way of life that could be seen as the traditional husband/wife roles but the jobs we have chosen are those that suit our strengths. We have had times when our roles have been completely reversed and others when they have been more blended but at this stage of our marriage we are doing what we feel most comfortable with.

I am happy to be a housewife. Again this week I was contacted to do some locum work and I was able to say, without guilt, I don't do that anymore. I do have a small craft business but it keeps me in pin money only. My days are spent doing all the things that people who have homes do, making beds, doing washing, doing the shopping, cleaning, baking. My days are full of the dailiness of life plus so much more. I'm never bored and I'm rarely unhappy in my role of manager of my home. I have time to think about many things, I have time to really feel a part of my home, to care for my home and so care for my family. My home isn't perfect but I don't want it to be.

I honestly believe that as women have left the home and most men aren't there either, children and the human quality of our society have suffered. Somehow money has been able to determine all behaviour. What is good for the economy is apparently good for everything else. As women we can't do everything, each family has to do what is best for them but all members of the family, young and old must be considered. Government is probably not going to do this for us. You have to find a way to work towards what suits your family best. We are not wealthy by Australian standards and we sail pretty close to the wind at times but we are managing, our children are healthy and growing into fine young people and most of the time life feels good.

11 Responses to “Housewife”

  1. Loved this post Jenny. I feel very similar, although occasionally I feel bogged down by it all and want more help from my family, but really I do see it as my job and I like it. I don't want to go out to work as I consider this a fulltime job so for now I make lifestyle choices that allow me to live this life. I do often ask my husband if he is happy being the breadwinner because I feel that he has got a worse deal than I do. Luckily for me he is happy with this arrangement. I always used to put Domestic Engineer on forms requiring occupation but from now I will put Homemaker and be proud of it, it is a job and a very important one at that.

    cheers Lenny

    ps I too love reading about peoples daily routines and housekeeping ways, maybe that's why I enjoy your blog?

  2. Dearest Jenny, good morning from all the gang, here :o)
    This was such a lovely post, and the images of the lady busy about her daily tasks is wonderful! I truly marvel at the fact that I am able to engage in all the things that I enjoy most in life, on a daily basis, through my role as a wife, a mama, and a homemaker and homekeeper. I just love a cosy home, and a bit of garden. This is why I love your blog so much, too, as Lenny said (hi Lenny :o) because it is all about your lovely life, your precious family, and warm, inviting home. I like it when the home is so filled with life and love, that it would be equally cosy if it were a tent, or a houseboat. I so appreciate how you share genuinely, from your heart--thanks for taking the time to do so.
    Your Pal, Jewels
    Who is only today considering that not everyone in Australia is in the chilly zone that you are in, during winter.....I guess some are out swimming and/or gardening, yes? I enjoyed reading all about the seasons of Australia this morning :o) Still praying for you and you, your family and dear mother-in law. I hope she's continuing to do better.

  3. I've read so many things where women kind of mock clean houses because they don't have time to clean, and it makes me feel a bit guilty about how proud getting the housework done makes me feel. My house is by no means immaculate, but it's OK. I do go back and forth on my own feelings of inadequacy, but for the most part I am content.

  4. I think we're all still a little tentative about declaring our "SAH" status. I do a bit of private tutoring, again for pin money, but my parents tell their friends that I (ahem)"run my own learning academy"...Even though my youngest is still only 3 it's just not good enough to be a only a mum!

    One of the nicest things my husband has said to me was concerning a role reversal we would have to undergo if we emigrated to New Zealand. I was offered a job as Head of Department in a girl's school over there. We really thought it would be a good opportunity in terms of standard of living, but it would mean that the DH would have to take on my role as SAH (husband) as we are in mutual agreement that the children do not go into childcare. He said to me "I can't do what you do" "I can't juggle all those balls, I don't find much pleasure in housework, I couldn't do it and take care of the children at the same time."

    Well, I breathed a big sigh of relief as although I loved the idea of New Zealand, the thought of going back to work, leaving the children and my home every day gave me the hebe jebes...I came to the conclusion that I couldn't do what the DH does. Our traditional roles work for us, we're both quite contented.

  5. Wonderful post and I adore the vintage pictures that go with it!


  6. Hi Lenny, I love reading about how other people organise their homes too. We could call it professional development and peer review.

    Hi Carolyn, you're welcome.

    Hi Jewels,Thanks for your prayers for my mother-in-law. She is speaking a little better but tires very easily. She seems to be in good spirits.

    Hi Bettina, you're welcome.

    Hi Donna, I think its good to feel happy with a job well done. It is an accomplishment each and every time we get things done to our own standards and we should congratulate ourselves.

    Hi Clarice, Thank you.

    Hi Natalie,I can feel your sigh of relief, I have felt that way several times myself when my husband has been fed up with work and change has been in the air.

    Hi Lallee, Thank you.

  7. I've read the Women's Room a few times and still have it on my shelf. I'm going to re-read it on the strength of this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. I have always felt just a little bit guilty over the years, because I LOVE my job. I love decorating and cooking and cleaning and childcare and gardening. I have the best job in the world, even if it doesn't have a cash value that the world seems to think is important. My husband and children think the job I do is important and that is payment enough for me!


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.