On Becoming a Housewife

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.

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About Becca

Wife. Runner. Baker. Pretzel-maker. Hey, that rhymes!
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7 Responses to On Becoming a Housewife

  1. Joelle says:

    I have had to deal with this very issue as well, whether or not I can stay at home and still be considered a feminist. I’ve even been accused of not being a feminist because of my life goals to be a wife and mother, but I think that a key part of being a feminist is accepting the choices, any choices, even if they are to stay at home and care for your home and husband, that women make. And any feminist that tells you otherwise is kind of hypocritical in my book :/ So good luck with this new chapter in your life. I applaud you for making such a life-changing decision. I’m also slightly jealous…

    xoxoxo,
    Joelle

    • Becca says:

      Yes! I totally agree with you! It’s all about the choices, and doing what’s right for YOU. The lucky ones are those that know what their calling is… whether it’s a career or being in the home or BOTH. 🙂 Thanks for understanding!

  2. The proper term for being a college educated housewife is “living the dream”.
    You can read books, do yoga, go on a run, and bake bread. You just can’t buy quite as many shoes as you’d like to.
    Which might make it not quite living the dream. But it’s close enough.

    • Becca says:

      Hahaha, oh Kalin! I think living the dream for me is being a PhD-educated housewife. It may involve more shoes… but most likely just more student loans. 🙂

      • I’ve tried to tell Josh I’m getting a PhD. Then he says things that sound like “blah blah you have loans for your masters blah blah blah can’t get in state tuition yet blah blah” and asks weird questions like “what would you get a PhD in?”
        (Currently my answer is “System Sciences” because I’m pretty sure it’s a made up degree. And Josh’s masters put him only a few credits from getting a PhD in that, so I feel like it can’t be hard.)

  3. Rachel says:

    “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.”

    Hollllaaaaaa! I ❤ you both and support you both!

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