So you’re a housewife, are you? Well, welcome to the club! Free cool-aid and cookies for everyone! Or not. But before you break out the champagne and celebrate your new found freedom from the monotony of work life, here’s a few things to keep in mind that no one really tells you till after you’ve already quit your job:
1) Being a housewife is just as monotonous as any other job. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a housewife and I don’t for a second regret my decision to quit work, but after being used to a working lifestyle, suddenly finding yourself sitting at home (usually alone) can get pretty boring pretty quickly. What exactly is there to do after you’re done with housework? there’s only so much TV you can watch or books you can read before you’re bored with that as well and contrary to popular opinion, unless you have kids, ‘housework’ doesn’t take 24 hours and there’s a lot of time left over when you just find yourself at a loose end. Which brings me to my second point…
2) There is only so much TV you can watch before you literally start feeling your brain starting to atrophy and your brain cells committing mass suicide in an attempt to get out of watching any more episodes of House. Ever heard the phrase “too much of a good thing”? Yes well, you’ll soon find that that is a very apt description of the time spend in front of the idiot box. In the end, there is only so much time needed to complete housework after which you’re free to… do what exactly? There’s only so many backlogged seasons of your favourite shows to watch before those run out as well and you find yourself watching random programs and sitcoms, until one day you catch yourself enjoying ‘Storage Wars’ and seriously start questioning your sanity.
3) “So what are you up to these days?”
“I’m a housewife.”
“Ok.. so you’re not working anymore?”
“No, like I said, I’m a housewife.”
“So what exactly do you do all day?”
It never really gets any easier (or less awkward) answering that simple question “So what do you do?” once you’ve made the transition from being a working woman to a housewife. Your instinct is always to respond with “I’m a doctor” or “I’m a teacher” or “I’m a rodeo clown” or with whatever else your chosen career may have been. In the first few months after the transition you might add “but I’m taking a break right now and giving this whole housewife thing a try”. As more time goes by you’ll start responding with “I was a full-time doctor/teacher/accountant/motorboat mechanic but now I’m taking a break from work life and spending more time at home”. Eventually though, you’ll drop the prefix altogether and simply respond with “I’m a housewife” which of course leads to awkward conversations like the one above. The awkwardness though is not entirely the other person’s fault. Part of it is them not knowing how to respond to this change in your employment status (“is this a good thing or a bad thing? Should I congratulate her or sympathise?? What response will guarantee that she won’t kill me?!?”) but the bigger part is you yourself feeling that simply declaring that you’re a housewife is somehow an incomplete response, that there should be something more. Oh and trust me ,no matter how many years you’ve been a housewife, the awkwardness of such questions is always the same each and every time you meet someone you haven’t met since before your transition.
4) Just because you’ve quit work doesn’t mean people are going to stop telling you how to do your job and trust me, it doesn’t get any less annoying. Apparently, everyone’s an expert on cleaning, running household expenses, cooking and the like and you just can’t seem to do anything right! But don’t worry, there’s always going to be a helpful someone to politely point this out and go on to give you long-winded directions on the right way to wipe a tabletop. Please try to refrain from killing these people wholesale, odds are someone will show up to tell you you’re doing it wrong and that a bludgeon is such a cleaner weapon than a carving knife. Coincidentally, did you know the best way to get out blood stains is baking soda?
5) Your mother was right: in the end, no matter how much you do and no matter how much time, effort and thought you put into what you do, no one will notice – until you don’t do it that is. Then they’ll definitely notice, and they won’t shy away from pointing it out to you either. You spend all day cleaning out the basement you say? that’s nice, but didn’t you notice the minuscule cobweb just outside the main door behind the potted fern? It looks terrible! You should really get around to cleaning that… um, why are you looking at me like that? Did you say a bludgeon collection? Well ok, I’d love to see your bludgeon collection..