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What Is A Housewife Anyway?

When I first decided to sit down and write about my daily life, one of the first things I thought was – ok I have to give myself a name, a title, because this trip that I’m about to embark on deserves a little pomp, a little grandeur. Why not? So after quite a bit of deliberation, I decided on ‘The Desperate Housewife’. Ironically not very grandiose or glamorous – in fact very much the opposite of it. And even though I had my doubts about it (my inner feminist was tut-tutting and wagging her finger a bit), I realised that there is a lot of truth to it.

I became a ‘housewife’ as such four years ago and believe me it was never something I envisioned myself becoming. But when I became pregnant with my first daughter I was between jobs, so instead of looking for a job while I was pregnant, I decided to leave it for a while and have my baby. Once she got here safely and we were all settled, then I could start thinking about returning to work. But it just didn’t go that way. I loved being with her and as time went by of course I found it more and more difficult to imagine someone else taking care of her every day. That felt like my job, even though a part of me wanted so badly to return to my former life.

I battled and battled and discussed this with my husband countless times – should I organise childcare and prepare myself for getting back to work? He was always ready to support me whatever I wanted to do, we knew we could survive financially if I decided to stay at home, so really this was about me and what I wanted (or needed). But I have to admit that I was racked with guilt. Despite all of the things that I wanted for myself, I wanted her happiness more. So I decided to stay at home. For the foreseeable future anyway. But then of course baby girl number two came along and the rest is history.

So here we are. Who am I and what have I become? Am I a housewife? – well, that’s debatable. It depends on what you perceive a housewife to be. It’s a tricky one. I do spend the majority of my time in the house tending to my children and I do on a daily basis put in an effort to keep the place ticking over (that’s translation for ‘I do all of the housework’ by the way). I don’t like the fact that I do it all but the truth is I am here most of the time so it makes sense. Though don’t think  I haven’t realised that if I was out working full-time just like my husband that I would be doing it all anyway, because I have. And I have made sure to point this out to him. (He doesn’t argue by the way).

So am I a housewife? Technically, yes. Am I desperate? Absolutely. Most days, desperate is a great way to describe me. I’m desperate for more free time to myself, desperate for a little quiet, I’m desperate for a trip to the salon, I’m desperate for my jeans to fit me again, I’m desperate for a night out (a proper night out where I don’t have to be back by eleven to let the babysitter go home) and I’m desperate for my eyebrows to look identical (I’m not the best with an eyebrow pencil). But more importantly, sometimes I am really desperate to have my own money again and a bit more independence. The list goes on and on…

I suppose I had under-estimated just how much I have changed in the past four years since getting married and having babies, not just in body but in mind too. Let’s be honest, when you have children everything changes. I think it really hit me one day when I was cleaning out some shelves and found a few photos stuck inside an envelope. They were of me and my husband when we were just going out, possibly engaged. One of the pictures was at my nephew’s christening and another was at a Christmas party. I got such a shock when I saw myself. I was so slim. And my hair looked lovely – long, full and shiny. Basically I looked well groomed. And my heart sank a bit. I know I went over to the mirror and started examining myself. My hair, my skin, my hips, my stomach, my bum and anywhere else I was insecure about.

After the initial shock of seeing pictures of the old me and realising the full extent of the differences between the ‘old’ me and the ‘now’ me, yes I had a mild panic attack. I started telling myself that I wasn’t going to be able to get back to her again, that I was too far gone. I mean, where do I even begin?? And more importantly, where do I find the time? First I needed to lose some weight and try spending a bit more time on myself instead of throwing leggings and a jumper on every day and putting my hair into a quick ponytail. (No change yet though as I am currently in black leggings, my husband’s grey jumper and hair is in a ponytail).

But the more I thought about it the more I realised that I missed the ‘old’ me. So I am going to start making an effort to try looking like her again, hard as that might be. Because although I am now mostly a robot who looks after her two children and home every day, I know she was still in there somewhere. I just have to find a way to bring her back…It can’t be that hard can it?

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