As many of you know, I recently and unexpectedly became unemployed. This has had many implications, the most ominous being that I have been instantly demoted to “housewife.” You may be thinking, “Look at her! She’s so lucky! Now you have time to scrapbook and paint your nails!” The problem is that I don’t scrapbook, can’t reach my toenails, and more importantly—my time is spent cleaning the toilet and doing dishes. Read: being a housewife is not that glamorous.
Now I realize that most women who are home while their husbands are working either have tons of cash or kids to care for. Having neither has made me feel like a total putz. But even when I do have a child to look after in a few weeks, I can’t help but think: Is this the rest of my life?
Earlier this week as I was scrubbing a pot from the previous night’s dinner, I had the terrifying realization that I will be scrubbing this same pot for the next 18+ years. Sure, I’ve had said pot since we got married, but it was different when I had a “real” job. I was doing Austin a favor when I did the dishes. We were helping each other out. We took turns. Everything was equal.
But this is no longer the case. It is now my job to scrub this pot.
I readily admit there are upsides to this arrangement. I no longer have to set an alarm. I don’t have to worry if I wore this shirt yesterday. I can take my time eating breakfast and even clean up the dishes afterward. But the pros of staying at home are not enough to satisfy me quite yet.
Fortunately (or maybe not so fortunately) I have a few big life changes on the horizon that will take up my time over the next few seasons. There’s nothing like having a baby, moving to another city, finding housing, and starting medical school all in a matter of months to keep a family busy. Right now we’re just in limbo. A big ol’ matzoh ball hanging over our heads, too enormous to adequately prepare for.
And so I wait–twiddling my hours away doing errands, cleaning the toilet, scrubbing the pots, and folding laundry. At least I have time to make a half-hearted attempt at making meals. This week’s objective is to use up leftover foods from the fridge and cupboards without going to the grocery store. This has resulted in some motley dinner plates, but most have turned out fairly well.
God bless all the women who have stayed home for decades and still have their sanity. I’m only on Week Three and am getting restless. My goal is to try to appreciate this time before Baby Baer is howling for his nummies, but you know how that goes. Forcing yourself to appreciate anything is usually fruitless. Creating projects is really the only way for me to avoid mourning a college education wasted on a career folding laundry. That, and watching Friends reruns and patting my belly.
And so I will persevere, continuing to scrub my pot and tell myself that housewives don’t need to be desperate. They can also have brains and brawn and be interesting. Or at least I hope so. Otherwise poor Baby Baer is getting a nanny.