Sunday, June 16, 2013

Can't A Girl Just Be A Housewife Already?

This past week's PostSecret featured one card with particular relevance for me:

"What  do we want?"

"More oppression!"

"When do we want it?"

But in all seriousness, there's something about this sentiment that really gels for me. Ever since quitting my remaining "real job" back in April (I have since picked up a bartending gig one night a week, but that's not exactly what I got my college degrees for), I've been spending a lot of time around the house. Some of it's spent working to grow our design business, some of it's spent blogging for The Art Abyss, and some of it's spent wrastling the fur babies. Okay, more than some.

The view from my office chair. How do you not wrastle that?

But business grows slowly, and blogging can only take up so much time. Fur babies aside, that means I end up engaging in the selfish acts of
a) working out (which is justifiable as good for me, but feels like stolen time)
b) reading books (possibly justifiable because all great writers should be great readers (right?))
c) attempting to clean house (justifiable if I actually get something done - therein the rub)
d) browsing endlessly on the Internets and making too many Facebook posts (tangentially justifiable under the heading of "the more you know," but highly suspect on a productivity scale)
a significant portion of the time. And then my husband comes home from his 9 to 5, and I wonder how I can make it look like I actually accomplished something that day.

On a blog titled "Mrs. Degree," you might be surprised to find such angst about semi-housewifehood. But let's remember, that title's a send-up of something my grandmother said to me when I was going into college. I have every intention of having my own career, making my own living, creating my own arc independent of that of my husband. And please believe me when I say I know I wouldn't be able to be making the go of things the way I am if it weren't for his emotional - and financial - support. And that's where it gets sticky.

Right now, I am a woman with the capabilities to make a living on her own -- perhaps not my ideal living as a self-supporting artist and writer, but a living that supports a solo apartment, some nice dinners, the occasional vintage hat splurge -- but because I have the support of a gainfully employed spouse, I'm able to pursue my ideal professions without having to freak out about where the next paycheck is coming from. Sure, since switching to freelance "full time," we've had to tighten our belts and go out less, but hey - it's all in the name of pursuing a dream, right?

Yet until I have our business chugging along, until I start seeing my writing and my painting bring in regular paychecks, I still feel like a housewife playing work. And though I absolutely respect the women and men who have chosen to care for their household full-time while their partner works (there's even evidence that such arrangements may be more efficient), for me personally, I feel like I'm not living up to my full potential -- even to my full obligation. And that leads to some very real feelings of guilt.

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