Imagine this:  you wake up feeling rested because you did not have to wake up to an alarm and stumble through your morning half asleep and rushed. The sun is shining, and after having a piece of toast and tidying the kitchen, you make your way outside to water the flowers and the grass. Back inside, you check your email, put on some proper clothes, lace up your shoes and head out for a walk in the morning sun.

This is how my day started today.

After I got home I made myself some lunch, baked a batch of brownies, prepared supper for the next day (it needed to chill overnight) and got a Sheppard’s pie put together and in the oven.  Some people might think that this sounds boring. Like a day filled with chores, forced upon me by a sexist society simply because I am a woman. But I thought it was wonderful.

The fact that I take pleasure in these simple things might make some women balk.  The activists of yesterday worked very hard to get women the rights they deserve, rights that a lot of young women today probably take for granted. Now, as women we enjoy more rights today than ever before. As much as I value the endless opportunities available to my generation, opportunities that may not have been available to our grandmothers, I find myself longing for a time when things were more simple.

For the first time in my life, I am a SAHW (stay at home wife). Complications late in my pregnancy have seen me go off of work early and onto medical leave, and while I cannot do everything on my to-do list before the baby arrives (like scrub every baseboard in this house) I am able to keep up with the cooking and the majority of the cleaning.

This shift in my life has also been wonderful for my marriage. Although I have only been home for what is nearing 2 weeks, I am more relaxed, and much much  happier. No longer am I rushing in the door after a long day at work, followed by a long commute, only to be greeted by a messy house and a supper time scramble trying to get a meal on the table.  I used to find myself resentful, angry even, at my husband when he didn’t want to help me with cooking or cleaning after he came in after a day that was inevitably longer than mine. I was overwhelmed, tired, and felt that my situation was unfair, yet unavoidable.

This is no longer the reality of my life, and I hope it never again becomes my reality. Instead of feeling repressed by my gender, when I am able to focus on and embrace my role, I am able to feel competent and caring as the keeper of our home and soon our family.

The reality I want is one that is similar to what a lot of people might envision when they think of the 50’s. Some may judge me for this, tell me that my desire is old-fashioned, or even scoff because they think it is impossible in today’s society. But, once a dreamer, always a dreamer, and I am going to do whatever I can to make it a reality forever. I want to bake my own bread, plant a huge garden and can my harvest to get us through the winter. I want to be financially frugal, plan a balanced budget and look for ways to save and make our family more money. I want to make my own jam, ensure my children never eat a store-bought cookie, attend PTA meetings, and make sure to have a nutritious hot meal on the table each night. I want to do crafts with my children and plan weekly themes. I want to keep an organized home, keep up with the laundry, and never feel overworked or overwhelmed by my responsibilities. I truly believe all of these things are achievable with proper planning and financial sacrifice.

My father would probably ask me- what about your education? Those who know me well would ask me- are you sure that will be enough of a challenge for you? Only time will tell. My education will always be there, but my children will not always be children.

Maybe I don’t know what I am in for. It’s one thing to have all of these goals and ideas before I am actually living in the situation, it’s a completely different story when you have a 2 year old hanging off of your legs, a newborn crying for a feeding, all while the phone is ringing and the potatoes on the stove are boiling over. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think it will be all sunshine and rainbows, but I do think that when I am an old woman looking back at my life, I will smile and know that I was the best possible wife and mother I could be. And that’s is all you can really ask for.
6/13/2011 03:01:00 pm

I know exactly what you mean. I feel like there's an expectation for women to work outside of the home and take advantage of all the things that yesterday's activists fought for, and that choosing not to do this is somehow seen as weakness or ungratefulness? When in reality, it's all about choices, and yesterday's activists gave today's women more choices in what they want to do in their lives, be it stay at home or work outside. There definitely seems to be some kind of negative stigma for women who choose to stay home. Even the language used to describe that role: "stay" at home, not "work" at home, which only applies if they are somehow earning money from an outside source, even though they are doing important work in keeping a home and family running, and probably saving a lot of money in doing so.

Given the choice and opportunity, I would definitely choose to be a stay at home wife/mum, for all the reasons you mention :)

Katie Fleming
6/14/2011 03:45:38 am

You have such a gift for writing! This post has captured the beauty of work in the home. I love it when you write that your education will always be there but your children will not always be children. As a recent graduate with an accounting degree my entire family assumes I will continue to get my CPA and be partner of a big firm in my 30s. With my ambition level I am not doubting this couldn't happen but I want more from life like you do. I don't want the 9-5 hustle and bustle where I come home to a quiet house with sleeping children because someone else has raised them all day.

Looking back on how I was raised by mother did just that. She put off her education to stay at home with my brother and I. Now that we are both out of the house and self sufficient she is studying to be an RN, her lifelong dream other than being a mother.

I believe that we are satisfied with cleaning, baking, and taking care of everyone because that is the role God has given us and has put that desire in our hearts. I don't have children yet but I am so thankful for my husband who is working so hard to build our business that we own to create enough to afford me the right to come home with our future family. I can respect and stand by a man like that no matter what. It sounds like for you your husband is the same!

Thanks for posting this. It put into words a lot of things I have been thinking about lately!

-Katie (from MFP)

6/14/2011 02:17:04 pm

I'm proud of you! There is no more important job a woman can have than being a mother to her children.

6/15/2011 03:34:11 am

Rach, I also long for the "old-fashioned life" you speak of. It is my dream! Although the reality of the matter may be another story, we'll see, but I live for the dream of the SAHW/M.
Happy blogging!


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