Books, Pregnancy, Reflections, Work

Staying At Home

I am currently on Day Two of my new life.
That is – a life away from the workplace.

It has been on my mind for some time what this was going to be like. Would my mind be turned to mush by the company of two dogs and (eventually) a small baby?

Well so far I have:

  • WOF-ed the car;
  • Cleaned the car (actually to be fair, I took it to Car-fe and they cleaned it while I had a coffee and magazine read);
  • Went to the library (such luxury mid-day) for yet more books about babies and the general back-up moral support of reading material;
  • Slept;
  • Have done the week’s grocery shopping;
  • Dropped off a whole load of old clothes to the local Thrift Shop;
  • Slept some more;
  • Attempted briefly to watch daytime television and managed about a whole two minutes of channel flicking;
  • Have done half a week’s laundry (in the midst of some nasty wet weather);
  • Have begun blogging about this whole process of change.

So, while it may not be high finance or business cut and thrust, it is fair to say that my days are not completely empty and barren of things to do.

In preparation for this transition I have been reading an interesting book I found in the library a few weeks ago. It is The Smart Woman’s Guide to Staying at Home.

I am enjoying the read so far. The author has some interesting, and useful, advice for the transition from “working woman” to “housewife”.

Yes, I know, I used the H-word. Never in a million years did I picture myself going down this path. However, in saying that, I do find the ego’s need to flash up the title a bit ridiculous. After all, domestic engineer, domestic manager, domestic executive all smack a little bit too much of ouch my ego has just been flushed down the dunny and I need a quick fix title to plunger it back up to some level of respectability.

I am also not fond of the interweb’s standard shorthand for the H-word, that of SAHM. It seems to suggest that you are hiding stuff from all but those in the internet know. SAHM, for those who aren’t in the know = Stay At Home Mom (usually an American idiom in my experience).

What I am finally getting around to is, what do you call yourself in a society that places a fair amount of pressure on its citizens to have an identity linked to their working life?
In some people’s estimation I have taken a backward step off the ladder of purpose and meaning (work) in order to revert to pre-feminist days when the wife stayed home and the husband went out to earn the family’s income.

I am not even taking the compromise road of having it all, by remaining at work in my guise as Superwoman.
For a while there I did think that I might look good in red lycra pyjamas, with baby in one hand and Palm Pilot in the other. But as I’ve taken a longer look in the mirror, it seems to me that no one needs to see me in skin-tight lycra and that perhaps there are mists of propaganda surrounding this ideal.
I am now thinking that “have it all” means “knacker yourself trying to be all things to all people with more stress than anyone actually needs in their lives and try to smile politely while having the associated nervous breakdown”.

Blow me down, I do appear to be moving into the pre-emancipation role of Housewife without so much as a blink. That, of course, isn’t quite true.
Like everyone else, I have vested ego in being a “[insert important job title]”, and it takes a bit of wrestling with the part of you that doesn’t really want to relinquish the social status that goes with saying “I’m a [very important title]”.
However, I am through the other side of this wrestling match and have come to terms with my new title.

Here ends Day Two of life as a Housewife. πŸ˜‰

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9 thoughts on “Staying At Home”

  1. So “domestic executive” has fallen out of fashion has it? I hope the transition goes well for you OWW; I hear it’s pretty hard work. BTW is the photo in your new banner of somewhere in particular? I’m guessing it’s about 12,000 miles away…

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  2. I’m sure there are still people using all the business-like euphemisms for what is essentially a mother who has decided to stay home. I’m not all that keen on it, it sounds slightly pompous and desperate to say “Look I really do work, just not in a business, OKAY !!”

    And, although the larger job has another few weeks before it becomes my permanent full-time employment, I can see that it is going to be a challenge. (I’m picking the mental adjustment to be the hardest – you know, being servile to a small tyrant is not really my life experience to date πŸ˜‰ .) But what is life if you don’t throw in a few decent challenges every now and then.

    As for the lovely photograph in the banner, I wish I could claim it, but it came with the theme. And yes, I’m picking it comes from the other side of the planet too.
    It was so appealingly not mid-winter and the panorama gave me the feeling of the infinite that I decided not to fiddle (at least for the moment).

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  3. I rather think the full time looking after a baby thing does constitute a fancy job title, although as ‘housewife’ also counjures up visions of backbreaking housework, I think that’ll do.

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  4. I agree that full-time baby care does deserve a fancy title, and I’d be happy to accept one should it become available.
    Unfortunately there are negative associations with most options on that front, as per your comment about the imagery of “Housewife”.
    It does seem rather a shame that “Mum” doesn’t have the connotation of business-like efficiency and intelligence. I guess that’s why it became popular to describe oneself as a “Domestic Executive”.

    Perhaps I should attack it from the other end and totally take the title out of the equation?

    Q. What do you do for a living?
    A. I’m raising the next generation of intelligent, thoughtful, caring and well-rounded members of society. What about you?

    It might work.
    What do you think?
    πŸ˜‰

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  5. I once described myself to someone at a party as a Housewife Superstar. Of course, I’d pinched this from Dame Edna as a way of bigging-up what I was doing at the time – which was being at home with three small children.

    It went down like a lead balloon so I resolved never again to talk to humourless young men at parties.

    My days of being a housewife/mother were the hardest work I’ve ever done but if I could magically turn that clock back, I’d do it like a shot.

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  6. Welcome Teuchter,

    I’m mightily impressed – at home with three small children – the thought of one small body is enough to have me quaking in my boots.

    Dame Edna has a lot to answer for, mostly in the hair colour and spectacles department.
    Your young man probably had no imagination, let alone sense of humour.
    Housewife? Superstar? Is this person mad?

    It makes you wonder what he thought of his mother then.

    πŸ™‚

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