“And what do you do, Amy?” This was a question asked of me at Tim’s Christmas party for work. I responded, “I work from home for a healthy navigation system for a grocery store in Maine, part time.” “Oh, that sounds interesting.” “Yeah, it can be. I’m a housewife the rest of the time.” “*Laughing* oh I wish! That would be awesome, being able to do whatever you want all the time. I mean what else would you do with your time?” I awkwardly took a sip of my wine and decided right there and then to take the housewife part out of the American conversation starter, “And what do you do?”
As we drove home I told Tim that I was happy that I started working from home. I had something to talk about in conversations. I had been working from home for about six months. I was also planning our wedding but was in that lull between the saying yes and the big day. I felt so weird saying I was a fauxswife (a term coined by me and a bff). I was too young to be one, we weren’t married yet, and it wasn’t a real job.
It was true that I had a part time job keeping me busy at home. I was doing data entry from our living room and some weeks had to put in a full 40 hours. The wedding planning went into full force about four-six months out. I was literally planning every detail and was lucky enough to have a job that understood that. In August Tim and I got hitched, had a wonderful wedding, went on a cruise, and lived happily ever after.
In October Tim came downstairs to me on the couch. He asked what was wrong. I finally admitted, “I’m not happy. I hate doing data entry from home. The best part of working in Maine was the people. I just want to crochet and be your wife.” My amazing husband looked at me and said, “Then crochet and be my wife. I would rather you be happy than be miserable anymore. I hate seeing you this way. You deserve to be happy.” And you know what? I did deserve that.
The next day I sent the, “We both know this isn’t working anymore” email to my boss. He happily understood and told me good luck with my crocheting. I had started this new obsession about a year and half earlier. I was getting pretty good and happily gave hand made gifts to family, friends, new babies, Tim, the cats, anyone I could. Once I had quit working from home I was being asked, “Well…what do you do now?” A question I feared the second I hit send on that email to my boss. What do I say now? I’m a housewife? Full blown 100% authentic housewife? Then I realized, I didn’t have kids. I wasn’t 100% yet.
A couple months later I asked Tim what he thought about me starting a crocheting business (AKA, Etsy). The ever supportive hubby thought it was a great idea. Just in time too. We were going to a Patriots game with a group that Tim had been part of for a couple years. At the tailgate we stand around, eat TONS of food, and awkwardly make conversation with people we probably won’t see again. Talking to one of the other wives of the group, she was telling me about her fabulous job that took her around the globe and how annoying it was that sky miles didn’t roll over.
Then the question popped up, “And what do you do?” at first I said, “Oh, well we just got married so I’m being a housewife right now.” She said, “Oh. That’s…nice” and took a sip of her beer looking around. I had to save myself, “And I just started a crocheting business.” She looked at me excitedly and grabbed my arm. “That’s so exciting! What do you make? Have you sold anything yet?”
I felt dirty. I had sold myself out for a Pats tailgate with a woman that I have in fact never seen again and didn’t even sit with at the game. Why? Why did I feel this need to say that I had a job of sorts? Why wasn’t housewife good enough? Why did I care what she thought? When was I going to feel that being a housewife was legitimate and something to be proud of? When we had kids? What if we can’t have kids and I’m a housewife for the next ten years without kin? What was my world?!
It’s been seven months. We’ve bought a house. We have our furry babies. I’m more comfortable saying, “I’m a housewife.” I still get flashes of what people are thinking though. Picturing me on the couch eating chocolates with a martini beside me ordering in Chinese because my mani/pedi took it out of me that day. When is the madness going to stop? When will I feel as though what I do is valid and something I can do because it’s mine and my husband’s decision? When will I stop selling myself out?
Your weekly Emily Post about how to live life in a mannerly way. Let me get my white gloves on to type this 😉
“Getting along with extended family: Use the same good manners you would use when visiting or hosting people who aren’t relatives.”
I love them, but my family would have failed miserably Miss. Post. Miserably.