It’s strange being a housewife in 2018.
One of the first things people ask me when I meet them is: “So, what do you do for a living?” My answer is: “I’m an artist.” The truth is, I haven’t sold a painting in a few years. Hell, I don’t even paint every day, or even every week. If you really want to get down to brass tacks, I am a stay at home wife.
My husband and I moved to Kansas City, MO in the summer of 2016. Before that, we lived in Chicago. When we were living in Illinois, I brought home the bacon from a nightclub/event venue in Evanston, where I worked as a bartender. Before that, I was a professional tattoo artist. In short, I have always worked. I have done many different things throughout my adult life to earn a living, but the one constant is that I have always been a hard worker.
When we moved here, a financial weight was lifted off of us. The rent on our cozy little two bedroom home here on the Missouri side of Kansas City, with it’s spacious yard, on it’s quiet little street, is less than half of what the rent was on our two bedroom apartment in the Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago was. We had to share that apartment with another couple just to make ends meet, and here, we have this whole house to ourselves, and our bills are virtually the same. Not only that, but my husbands income has increased about as much as what I brought in on my end when we lived in Chicago. In a nutshell, we pay around the same out, and are bringing in what probably amounts to slightly more than we were when we were in that apartment. In Chicago, we had 4 jobs between the two of us. In KCMO, he has one job, and I am, a housewife.
I can feel the looks I get from some people when I tell them I am a stay at home wife.
I admit, I don’t have any of the traditional reasons to be a non working spouse. We don’t have children (although, that is something we are working on currently), I am healthy, I have the necessary skills to do any number of different things, and I am mentally sound.
So why don’t I work? The answer is simple. I don’t need to. I have the means to be a homebody, to work on creating a home for my ‘family’, and the time to enjoy the fruits of that effort. I get to wake up with my husband (or, to not wake up with him, and sleep in), and I get to be there when he gets home from work every day. I get to have as much time with him as I want to. There were times in Chicago that we would cross paths when one of us got home and the other was leaving, and it would go on like that for weeks on end. I could count the number of minutes of couple time we got per day on my hands. That’s hard times for a freshly married couple.
I consider myself a modern, empowered woman. Even though my husband works, and is the sole breadwinner, I do not consider myself dependent upon him. I work just as hard as he does. I just don’t leave the home to do it.
Besides normal house work (which by the way, is a shared responsibility between my husband and myself, but more on that later), I also am the primary caretaker of my neighbor’s toddler while she is out making a living to support her two daughters, and an occasional caretaker for the two daughters of another friend. I don’t make much more than pocket change for this, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love having the kids around, it’s like having all the baby, with none of the commitment. These little ones are like a part of my family now, even though they don’t belong to me.
Just because a woman isn’t a ball busting career gal doesn’t mean that she has conformed to gender role norms, or that she is oppressed, weak, or subservient.
I may not wear the pants in this family, but I wear pants in this family as well.
My husband doesn’t come home, throw his crap down at the door, sit in his chair and expect supper on the table (although, I really enjoy cooking, so sometimes, supper is on the table), in fact, he usually comes in, does whatever outdoor chores need doing that day if any, and if there is nothing planned or already in progress for supper, he will offer to run to the store for whatever we may need for what I feel like eating, and he will proceed to cook for me. We split the household duties, in our own way. I have a habit of falling asleep on the sofa sometimes, so my husband, if he wakes up alone in the morning, will make the bed after he climbs out of it. If I am not awake, he makes enough coffee for the both of us, and wakes me up when he turns on the morning news. He does the mowing, weed trimming, and he takes the trash to the curb on Tuesdays. Inside the house, I usually take care of the brunt of things during his work week, but, if I cook a huge meal, he always offers to do the dishes. On the weekends, he takes over some of the daily housework, to give me a break from it. I feel like we have a well oiled, smooth running machine here. It works for us.
What I am getting at is simple. Be whatever kind of woman you want to be. It doesn’t matter if you are a single working mother, a career focused independent woman, a housewife, a stay at home mom, or any number of or combination of things. Any one of these woman can be empowered, and strong. Whatever you choose to be, BE it. Balls out and without apology. If you are choosing the kind of woman you want to be and you are being it, you are an empowered woman.
NOTE: This article was posted previously on my other blog The Beginner American. I will be slowly moving some posts from that blog to this one, as I will no longer be writing in that one. Hopefully, that dispels any confusion if you have run across this post before. Thank you for reading!