Two and a half years ago I had to break the news to family and friends, “Tim and I decided the commute is too much for him and me. We’re moving to New Hampshire. It’s best for us.” There were tears and there were so many questions, “Where in NH?” “When are you moving?” “Are you ok?” “What will you do?” “What will you DO?” “What will YOU DO?” “What WILL YOU DO?” “WHAT WILL YOU DO?” This question was asked of me over and over again. It’s a fair question and one I would have asked any of my friends or family. At first without thinking I would answer, “Well, first I have to find a place to live and then move us. After that, I’m not sure. Thankfully, we’re lucky, I don’t need to have a job.” Blank stares came back at me, “Yes, but you are going to get a job, right?”
I began panicking a little bit. Did I need a job? Did I have to have a job to be me? I had been working in some form since I was 13. I put myself through college and had been paying all my own bills after graduating from college. Since 2008 I worked anywhere from 40 to 50 hours a week. The point is, I had been working most of my life and worked for literally everything I had. Was I really ready to put all that work in a box on a shelf? Was I ready to have someone else take care of me financially? We moved in December of 2012 and I didn’t have much time to think it through. Tim was working full time already and I had to move us. I made daily trips to NH for two weeks and one big move (with the gracious help of my parents) one exhausting Sunday. I then had to set up our house while still traveling to Maine to perform in a dance production. It was a crazy couple of months.
After the dance show, after all the unpacking, after all the craziness I was sitting in a townhouse wondering, “now what?” I was a full blown housewife. My sole job was keeping the house clean and keeping Tim and the cats alive. I didn’t know if I was built for this. There are a lot of women and men out there who can work full time jobs and keep a very tidy house. I was not one of those people. I ran a Lysol wipe across the bathroom sink when people came over, I swept up tumble weeds of cat hair across the floor. I did what I could when I wasn’t working, rehearsing, or going out. That all stopped. We lived an hour from Portland. We lived an hour from friends. We lived an hour from everything I had ever known. It was one of my fears. Me, my boyfriend, and our cats. That’s it. What was I going to do?
A few weeks went by and more and more people were checking in and asking, “What are you going to do now that you are all settled in?” A lot of people were worried about me making friends, being bored, and maybe not meeting my potential. One night we sat down to a homemade dinner. Tim asked if I was ok and before I knew it I was sobbing over my steak and couscous. Once I started talking it out I realized something. I wasn’t upset about being a housewife, I was upset because I felt like I had given up. Words kept popping out with me fears. I was lazy. I wasn’t a modern woman. I was setting feminism back 60 years. I was letting my parents down. I was letting Tim down. His parents would never want me as a daughter in law if I was just living off him. I was letting what people thought affect me more than I what I thought.
Poor guy. Tim tried so hard. He had worked all day and now he had to deal with a crying girlfriend over dinner. He kept telling me to…mhhmmm…fudge everyone. He told me that he was fine with everything that was happening. He reassured me that he loved me as much as he did before we moved. I tried to take in everything he was saying, but at the end of the day I had to love myself as much as I did before we moved. I had to be ok with the role I was taking on. I had to block out what I thought society was putting on me. I had to find my new me whoever that looks like. A struggle was ahead of me and I had to find the part of me that was ready to kick its ass. But how?
Your weekly Emily Post about how to live life in a mannerly way. Let me get my white gloves on to type this 😉
“The Well-Groomed Woman: Hair. No matter your style, well-groomed hair is clean, well-cut, styled, and odor-free.”
Does that mean running a brush through my hair before getting groceries?