An Accidental Housewife: On Being an Unwilling Homemaker

An Accidental Housewife: On Being an Unwilling Homemaker

Through a series of unfortunate events, I became a housewife.  It really was the perfect storm.  I was working 30 hours a week, my son was having daily issues at school with his undiagnosed ADHD, my husband was traveling frequently for work, I was left to take care of two kids by myself in a new city with no support, and with my lupus, fibromyalgia and lung disease diagnoses, my health was fading from the stress of it all.  As I sat in my hospital bed two days after Christmas in December 2015, my husband and I realized that I could die if I continued at this pace. Shortly thereafter, a decision was made, and in February 2016, I unwillingly left my job and became a housewife and stay-at-home mom.

It’s been over a year, and I can honestly say that I hated, absolutely HATED my new station in life.  I hated being a stay-at-home mom, I hated not having a job to go every day and I hated the reality that with all my illnesses, working a “regular” job was not an option.  I hated the idea of being JUST a homemaker, or just a wife, or just a mom.  I felt that I had so much to offer to the world, and I was not accomplishing that with the daily tasks of laundry and washing dishes. Truth be told, I thought I was too good for this work.

I put up a good fight.  I was in complete and total denial.  I would look for jobs, go on interviews, get job offers, only to have my husband plead with me to not take on the stress of a job. It was the fear in his eyes that made me eventually stop. He, justifiably so, thought a job would kill me. And you know what, he was right.

So, I submitted to the idea of being a housewife, and promptly elected myself the CEO of the homestead.  I run my household like a business, and where there was once shame at being a housewife, I found pride and joy in being my husband and children’s executive assistant.

It is not always business as usual around because of my health issues. I get sick sometimes, or I just get very tired from the illnesses or all the medications I take to help me make it through the day, including a weekly self-injected chemotherapy drug.

And I will not let you or myself overlook the fact that my biggest challenge was addressing my own preconceived notions about housewives and stay-at-home moms. Society had effectively taught me that if I’m not working, earning money and feeding the machine, then I have no value. I’ve realized that that idea is absolutely untrue. I feel so loved and valued by my husband and children, and I find that that is payment enough.  My children love having me at home; they wouldn’t have it any other way.  And as I embrace this new lifestyle, I’ve come to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom and wife.

That doesn’t mean that I still don't peruse the job boards for a part-time gig, but as I read the job descriptions, reality sets in.  The stress would make me sick, and I would find myself in the hospital very quickly.

Ah, but I still found a way to get a job. I write.  It’s what I love and it’s a job that works for me.  I don’t get paid much, but I find joy and I am able to fulfill my need to contribute to society in some fashion.  I write when I can and sleep when there is the need.  It’s the perfect job for me. And while I found myself as an accidental housewife, I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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