This is not what I imagined my life would be. There’s pressure all around me…pressure I’ve put on myself. I’m cooking and cleaning…why isn’t that enough? This is my life currently. The life of a homemaker. I DO love what I do. So why am I so hard on myself sometimes? Why am I not feeling like I measure up? Then my husband comes home with a grin and asks me what smells so good. It brings me joy to see him enjoying a yummy meal I’ve whipped up. We enjoy a homemade dinner together, and I’m thankful neither of us has to rush off. I start to do the dishes so he is able to study and then unwind. He thanks me for dinner, and always offers to help clean up. I can do this, so he doesn’t have to. I truly love taking care of him! He notices how clean the house is, and tells me I look pretty today. We read together for a bit, relax together and cuddle on the couch. Once again I’m reminded how blessed I am in this moment. I know it won’t last forever. It’s just this season of life that we’re in. It’s been a difficult transition. I know I’m taking care of my husband, supporting him. Of this, I’m reminded… and I am ok again. Yet how does a woman find her identity in a culture that diminishes the very things she does day in and day out?
I have always wanted to be a homemaker, since I was a little girl. I just didn’t think that it could be a reality in today’s society. After all, we don’t have any kiddos yet, and I have been used to working shift work and/or 2 jobs since I was in high school. When I was married 4 years ago, that didn’t change. We only had more responsibility; bills to pay, and a mortgage along with some wedding debt. After college, I had began working in the health care industry, which obviously requires round the clock care. Obtaining full time at one location is often difficult, though I certainly tried. So it only made sense to opt for 2 part time positions. 2 part time positions at 2 different locations with 2 varying schedules was 2 much. I mean, I was happy to do it for a period of time, and with our hard work and perseverance we were able to become debt free! Then the shift work was starting to get to me. You can only miss so many holidays and family functions! I longed to do what I did, but still have weekends off. Trying to remain positive, I settled into (what I now know was) the complacency and mediocrity of one job. One job that I loved when I had started working there, but, one job that I knew I wouldn’t want to do for much longer. And with my husband having slow seasons at work, it meant we both would always have to work. We didn’t want this for our family, for our future. Something needed to change…
Matt had wanted to become a firefighter long before we were married. He had heard how difficult it was to get hired on and took the discouragement to heart. He opted for a construction/carpentry trade and was talented at it. He has an eye for detail, and enjoyed working with his hands. He was happy doing it for many years, and suddenly he felt God telling him He wanted him to do something different. And with my support, along with our families and close friends’ prayers and encouragement along the way, he applied to serve in the Canadian Forces in hopes of becoming a military firefighter. After some rigorous testing, he was accepted and with that, we sold our house and he left for basic training for 14 weeks. It was difficult being apart. So, naturally, I welcomed the busyness of the shift work, wishing the time away. When he finally graduated, I had moved out of our first home, and the next chapter of our lives began. And so the “awkward transition” of our lives that we’re currently in, where we are renting, living on a military base and Matt is continuing to train as a firefighter. And so where does that leave me?
Being an independent career woman can be over-rated. I can honestly say that while the nature of my career choice was rewarding, and I made some great friends, the only thing I missed when I first left my job was the paycheck. The politics of the workplace and the company, however, I do not miss. Of course, I met some wonderful people while in the “working world”, and I truly hope I impacted those whom I served while working in long term care. But, we were moving, and it was impossible to stay employed there anyway, so I left the job that was beginning to leave me unfulfilled anyway. I’m not defined by what I do anyway…
Housewife Without Children?
We moved to the small town (on a base) where my husband could be at work (to continue his training) in 5 minutes, and I became settled into becoming a housewife. Don’t get me wrong, I loved working. Contributing financially. In fact, I’m used to being such a busybody! I felt like it was what I NEEDED to do. It’s not like I didn’t try to find work. It was just difficult finding a position that was meeting my stipulations:
A) Something close to home/the base. Being in a small town, there isn’t many places hiring. And we’re in the snow belt here, and most places are around a 25 minute drive away.
B) Would want a job that was 9-5 (with weekends and most evenings free to be at home with the hubby). After having worked so many weekends/holidays, and then with Matt having been away for 14 weeks, I just want to be around him on his free time! We’ve also been driving back on occasional weekends to visit family/friends 2x a month or so. Now with the Christmas season approaching, I would need to have 3 weeks off in order to be with Matt over the holidays.
C) This location is only temporary. We’ll be here for less than a year, and then we are going to be posted out in March.
Quite possibly, being a homemaker was the best decision God ever made for me. I simply settled unwillingly into this, but perhaps it’s exactly what my husband needs as he’s continuing to study and train with the Canadian Forces. So, I’m striving to be mindful of this, and trying to continually learn to find joy and contentedness in my current situation. Here are some reasons why I love being a stay-at-home-wife/SAHW:
- I have made our home into a little oasis away from the rest of the world. Since I don’t have to deal with most of the stresses of the outside world, I can concentrate on making our home clean, comfortable, cozy, and most importantly, a welcoming place for my husband to come back to in the evenings. He gets up everyday to train/work so, I want to help him to relax. Massages, candles, and lots of love are always in store for him. Which is also ideal for when you’re trying to start a family ;).
- I love cooking, baking and making meals with effort and care. In fact, I make almost everything from scratch. My husband and I probably eat out a handful of times a year at most. At home, I make nutritious meals that are healthy for us. I also love to bake sweets and baked goods freshly each week. When you cook from scratch at home you realize that food prepared at restaurants isn’t any better. You won’t miss eating out!
- It’s a traditional, old-fashioned lifestyle that women lived for most of civilized history. Homemaking is indeed an art form and I like that as a SAHW I am in the minority of people who absorb themselves in this. I’m learning to sew and knit, and I decorate our home with homemade crafts like wreaths or other DIY crafts. I’m taking the time to indulge in the hobbies that I’ve never had the time to before.
- Being taken care of. I enjoy the fact that I have a man that takes care of me financially and is happy to do so. I feel being a housewife allows me to be feminine in the most traditional form. I feel the working world is very masculine, and I am happy to have left it behind. I will take the “1950s lifestyle” over a career any day. And we are both SO blessed that Matt is getting paid to train in a career goal that he has always wanted to do.
- It can make financial sense. Often, the public is led to believe that you need two incomes to stay afloat. This isn’t always so. Get rid of the second car and it’s insurance, the gas for the long commutes, the money you spend on take-out and restaurants, and the sometimes even the extra wardrobe costs. When you do the math, sometimes you may realize you may be profiting less than you previously thought. The few extra thousand dollars sometimes simply aren’t worth the trouble.
The Art of Homemaking Is A Beautiful Thing
Unfortunately/fortunately it isn’t for everyone. 🙂 Everyone’s different. Everyone’s situation is different and I realize this. This article isn’t meant to discriminate against working wives at all. It’s actually meant more to empower those who are staying at home! A lot of people, especially working women, tend to not understand the allure of being a housewife, and sadly many of them do not respect those who choose to have this lifestyle. Even though their mothers and grandmothers and most women in history were indeed housewives. When/if you choose to be a SAHW (and especially a housewife without children), you may need to be prepared for some of your working friends to scoff at the idea. (Thankfully, I haven’t had any discouragement come my way). Many feminists believe that all women should work outside the home and even mother’s shouldn’t stay home. Sometimes their feelings may be born out of jealousy and sometimes they simply feel they are superior to an old-fashioned domestic life. In the end, it’s really none of their business what arrangement you and your husband have. And we can’t focus on how other’s view us. We shouldn’t need the approval of others! As I’ve said, everyone’s situation is different and I feel its important to remain non-judgemental and understanding.
The truth is, lately I’ve been having discouraging thoughts about who I am. About MY role. And what I should be doing at this stage of our lives. So I took some time to read Jeremiah 1:5. It states that God knew me before I was formed and that I’ve been sanctified for a specific purpose. The foundation of my identity has to be firmly planted on the truths that He has everything under control. He understands my desires and passions, and will bring about those things in His time, not mine. My identity doesn’t come from doing anything but allowing God to transform me in His image. It’s rooted in the very fact that my God has the truest identity and that I’m going to do my part to make sure I’m walking in step with Him. My success might look different to some and maybe the whole world won’t understand the power I put into my “job” as a SAHW. However, I believe that we are not to be defined by what we DO. As long as my obedience continues to push me into the perfect identity that He has created for me, then I need nothing else than to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” God isn’t looking at the size of work you do, which most people find their identity in. He’s looking at how the task is performed. Are you being faithful to complete the things God has put before you and is your obedience with a cheerful heart? You are a daughter of the King, a child of the Most High! Remember this whenever you’re feeling lost or uncertain of your next steps. He offers comfort with His kind words. He will lead and guide me, eve while I’m currently in this “awkward transition of life”. 🙂 I really welcomed this reminder. As a new housewife I feel blessed to be doing what something I love each day, and I needn’t feel guilty or inadequate in my new role! I hope all of you feel blessed to do what you do each day as well.