I did something a few weeks ago that I never thought I’d do. It still felt like a rash decision even though I spent a long time thinking about it and discussing it with my family and friends.
I quit my job.
And I don’t have another one lined up. Today marks my second day of house-wife-dom, domestic engineering – whatever you want to call it.
While the specifics of the reasoning behind my decision make sense to most – I want to live The Dream, and The Job was not helping me get to The Dream, and some classes that directly conflict with The Job’s work schedule would help me get to The Dream – it’s been hard to justify to both myself and others that I can still be my feminist self and a Stay At Home Wife at the same time. In fact, the majority of the internet seems to share the sentiment that housewives and feminists are by definition antagonists of each other.
Case in point: while googling “feminist house wife”, I cam across this gem, which includes such inspirational lines as:
It isn’t better to give your best years, time and energy to your boss, unless you are trying to lay him and snag him as your hubby. You aren’t doing your infant a service by leaving him in daycare 10 hours “so he can socialize,” when really he is going to just lay there all day, cry, and get a flat head.
And while internet forums are never a good place to get the pulse of a group of people, it is downright discouraging to read all of the “atta girl!” comments attached to that post.
There also seem to be a lack of articles online for the more liberated housewife, even without the vitriol. According to the internet, at least, one of the most important parts of being a good housewife is maintaining an attractive appearance. All of it reminds me of the excellent book pilfered from (and returned to!) a private library a while ago, entitled How To Change Your Husband, that contends that the best way to make your husband better is to be completely subservient to him. Yeah… not so much.
I, on the other hand, am lucky to have the best husband in the world – one who values me for my whole person, not just my cleaning and primping skills. Who understands that my academic pursuits and career goals are just as important as his. And who wants what’s best for both of us, even if that’s not 100% convenient for him sometimes.
The joy of feminism and the women’s liberation movement is that we are now freer to choose what we want. I’ve consciously decided to stay at home for now, supporting my husband and family in non-monetary ways, instead of having that choice made for me as it could’ve been 50 years ago. And I hope that all housewives and feminists can respect that.