I May Stay at Home, But I am NOT a Housewife


stay-at-home momPerhaps you have a similar story to mine, but I am not a housewife.

I grew up in a stereotypical old-fashioned household. My dad brought home the bacon, and my mom cooked it.

Beyond bringing home the bacon, my dad was (and is) a prototype for the stereotypical 1950s father. He never changed my diaper (no, never, not even once), and he never washed a dish (no, really, he hired someone to do that when he was single).

My mother, similarly, was (and is) a prototype for the ideal stay-at-home mom or housewife. She attended every school event, baked for every bake sale, hosted countless play dates, made my Halloween costumes from scratch, made real dinner every night, and served and cleaned up for my dad day after day.

The people who know me best have noticed that I am like each of them. As a result, I thought I would have a successful career and keep a perfect house. You know that I would “do it all.” Easier said than done.

As I near my 35th birthday {shudder}, I am now (finally) acutely aware of and unapologetic for who I am.

So, in the spirit of being aware of and unapologetic for myself, I will announce here to the world wide web: I am NOT a housewife.

My husband and I decided that I would stay home with our kids for a whole slew of reasons (no need to go into them here; we’ve all had this discussion at some point). But the main reason was that my career allowed me to work from home, so why not give it a go?

I never said to myself, “I want to be a housewife!” Now, if that’s your thing, then I’m happy for you. Differences make the world go ’round. But that wasn’t up my alley. 

I think some women inaccurately (because of society, let’s be honest) think that they have two, and only two, definitive and dichotomous choices when they have children:

  1. Go back to work and be a miserable working mom.
  2. Stay home and be a miserable housewife.

I am somewhere in the middle, and I am not ashamed. I am home every single day with my kids, and there are a million different things I “should” be doing, or know how to do, that I do not do.

What are these things, you ask? Here you go…

  • I do not cook dinner from scratch every night. First, the more “homemade” the food is, the less likely my kids are to consume it. Why put myself through this torture seven nights per week? Second, I frankly don’t enjoy cooking that much. We’re a very healthy household, but I’m not a chef by choice.
  • I rarely have dinner prepared for my husband to eat when he gets home. If he is home before dinner, we all sit down to eat as a family. We also eat breakfast as a family every day. The importance of that is undeniable. However, as I am not a chef (see above), we often scrounge after the kids are in bed – you know, cheese and crackers, cereal with banana, etc. I am a master scrounger. 
  • We have cleaners. Yes, this is a luxury. We are lucky. But I was tired of spending my days cleaning instead of doing fun things with my family. If given a choice between scrubbing our toilets and going on a play date, I would choose the latter every time.
  • I am terrible at making the bed. However, I am working on this one. I think John Tesh once told me on his radio show that making your bed in the morning helps start your day on the right foot. Often, though, I don’t have those thirty seconds to spare in the morning with the four of us running around like headless chickens trying to get out of the house alive and on time.
  • I order our groceries. Sure, I spend my fair share of time in Target and Costco. But, the bulk of our groceries come from FreshDirect. I spend 15 minutes per week in front of my computer ordering what we need, and it comes to our front door the next day. It’s easier than shopping with two (or even just one) kids. I fully embrace modern convenience.
  • I am not the best at folding and putting away clean laundry. If I try to fold during the day, my kids unfold it. And at night, I’m usually busy doing other things (often working, but sometimes just enjoying my alone time and doing nothing important). So I will often have four hampers full of clean but unfolded laundry. If people come over, I hide the hampers in the basement.
  • I cannot fold a fitted sheet. My husband can, however. No matter how many times he shows me how I cannot do this. I’ve decided that this ability is guided by a genetic trait that I do not have. My deficiency is not due to a lack of trying, so I’ve given myself an A for effort on this one.
  • I do not iron. Both my mother and mother-in-law iron regularly. We do not own an iron or an ironing board. My husband’s khakis (what he regularly wears to work when he doesn’t need to leave the office) are washed and dried and often wrinkled (probably because they sit unfolded for days). Sorry, husband. He’s a big boy and can handle this too (I stay home for my kids, not for his pants… sorry, harsh). I do own a steamer, though (for emergencies, like weddings).
  • I cannot sew a ripped seam or a button. Despite being a craftaholic, I just never cared to learn how to do this. If I lost a button or ripped a seam, I brought it to my mom, and she fixed it. If my husband rips a button off of his suit pants, we bring it to my mother-in-law on our next visit, and she sews a new button on for him. Graduate degrees are useless in this regard.
  • I am not “proper” or well-curated. I don’t swear in front of my kids (for the most part), and I chew with my mouth closed (for the most part). We say “please” and “thank you.” But I don’t wear high heels, wear makeup every day, throw dinner parties, or have beautiful flower arrangements around my house. I’m a real person, not an Instagram filter.
  • I do not serve my husband. This, of course, is mainly due to shifting societal and cultural norms. But still, we are a 50/50 household. Yes, he leaves for work in the morning. Yes, I stay at home. But we both hustle all day long. He doesn’t expect me to serve him when he comes home from work. Yes, I married someone on the opposite end of the spectrum from my own dad. 

What’s my point here? Often, we are too concerned with what we are “supposed” to do. If I stay home, then shouldn’t I be making chicken pot pie and baking cookies? No, not if I don’t want to.

My kids are happy and healthy. I take them to fun places every day. We dance around the house to loud music. We play outside. They get dirty. We read a lot of books and make a lot of art. We snuggle on the couch and watch movies. My job is to teach them how to be independent, hardworking, self-sufficient, kind, and generous human beings

Our time on this planet is limited. We should be teaching our kids valuable life skills, of course. That’s or job. But our job as parents is to also set an example as to how to be well-rounded and fulfilled human beings. Often the key to happiness is simply “trimming the fat.” In my case, that meant reminding myself that staying home with my kids didn’t mean I had to be Martha Stewart. And what a better mom I am for it.

Are you a bad housewife too? Internet high five! 


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