Sunday, November 18, 2007

To be (a housewife) or not to be...

I've started working part-time, recently (this is why I've been a bit silent on this blog for a while). I'd forgotten how stressful it can be to coordinate with someone else's schedule and deal with the aggravating, ever-present office politics.

I found myself wistfully thinking of my days spent taking care of the home and then it suddenly dawned upon me.....I was essentially a housewife for the past year. A housewife... me! I was the type of woman who used to cringe at the very word!

Sure, I kind of worked from home, doing some writing but I had no job to go to everyday. This made me a woman who stayed at home while her husband went to work which made me a housewife.

This might seem like an obvious truth but it never really registered on my psyche. When it finally did, I had an epiphany: I enjoy staying at home... I actually liked being a housewife and I think more women should try it on for size!

My suggestion might raise a feminist eyebrow or two but what can I say? I stand by it.

I'm not trying to persuade anybody to stay at home and shun work just because they're born female, I'm only saying that women shouldn't automatically spurn a life spent at home (especially if you can financially afford to) and those who enjoy being housewives should be allowed to proudly stand by their preference.

As a rule, feminist types proclaim that they're all about choices which means they support a woman's choice to do anything she wishes i.e stay at home, work, work from home or whatever.

But I've often felt that this is just talk. Even the word housewife sounds frumpy; conjuring up images of a woman in an apron, her hair disheveled and her nails chipped. In reality, women who work tend to feel an eensy, weensy bit superior over women who stay at home. I know because I was like that when I went to work. I often thought: does a housewife really work?

I mean, how hard can it be to take care of a couple of kids, cook some fried rice for dinner and do the laundry, right? Goodness knows, you don't require a degree for that kind of thing whilst if you worked as an engineer, as I once did, you'd certainly not be allowed into the office without valid qualification.

So, I'm ashamed to say this but I often thought the stay-at-home women had it easy and were making a big deal out of their 'work' when they claimed that they had it tough as housewives.

Boy, was I wrong. I've since discovered that it actually IS easy to stay at home.....but only if you're lying on your back all day, eating out and allowing the laundry and 30 layers of dust to collect all over the house.

Like all other jobs, if you're serious about doing good, there is a lot of work involved in keeping a sparkling, beautiful home, your family well-fed and clothed on clean, nutritious meals and well-pressed clothes You'll also have to come up with menus for the week, do the grocery shopping, ensure that nothing runs out (like detergent or toilet paper). If you have kids, you've got to make sure that their school work is done and that school projects and supplies are taken care of and readily available.

Don't get me wrong, if you're working, you'll be saddled with all this as well as your job but the difference is that the woman who doesn't work can spend a good deal of time and effort on each task. It's not about rushing around just to get things done.

The housewife's job becomes a hundred times more difficult when she's trying to achieve it on a tight budget (which is often the case because the family is running on one income) I'm now referring to the average family and not the Datin-types who have nothing but time and money on their hands. To be honest, even the Datins probably face challenges running their large homes. When you have housekeepers and other staff around the house, you'd have to manage your staff to make sure that everything is done up to your standards.

The best thing about staying at home is that you're working all day to enhance the lives of people you love. You're not slogging away in some insipid cubicle under unflattering fluorescent lights for some multi-national company that, frankly, couldn't care less and probably wouldn't notice, if you lived or died.

At work, you get paid but at home you're rewarded: a happy, healthy family and you'll have TIME to spend with them......and really is there anything better than spending time with the ones you love?

You'll never have to miss your baby's first step and you're always on hand when your teenager needs to talk. You'll have a better chance of keeping the marital/relationship flames fired up because you're not working all hours, trying to get that promotion.

So to all those housewives out there who maintain lovely homes and take good care of their families I say stand up and own it, should be proud! Besides, these days, housewives get to look like this...!

images courtesy of: and

1 comment:

Liesa said...

Lol. This 'to be or not to be a housewife' has always been a bombastic debate between me and my feminist friend. Yes true, after studying and getting the degrees and master scrolls, of course you would want to work so that all the sacrifice would be worth. But when you're a Mom, you would not want to miss your child's first baby steps or her first word. You get what I mean. Go Housewife!