It's odd, being unemployed.
When my husband and I decided to make the move to Ohio and, in doing so, part with our previously known lives, we also made an agreement. I had a job at an organization I enjoyed and he was asking me to walk away. That reality was one I'd come to terms with, under one condition: we re-make our lives the way I'd always wanted to live. I've often pondered how it would be preferential to live life based on one income instead of two. Sure, there would be two incomes, but only budget based on one. I'd always longed to live life in that manner before but had found it profoundly difficult to accomplish.
You hear it all of the time nowadays - this is a two income society. And it's absolutely true. When my parent's were young and getting started, there were no internet bills. There were no cable bills. There were no cell phone bills. All of those costs were non-existent. Oh, and lest we not forget that housing was much more affordable. So, yes, I agree, life is simply more expensive nowadays than it once was. I think it's worth asking, at what expense? What am I really working for? Is it the manicures, the designer handbag, the dinners out with friends at swanky bars? Is it the extravagant vacations, the gourmet meals I cook and the highlights in my hair? And well, the answer to that, too, is yes. You work to afford luxuries and many luxuries are most certainly worth working towards.
Women have fought long and hard to be able to join the workforce and be treated equally. What saddens me, however, is that it seems somehow along this journey we've lost out on choice. During the fight, did we disintegrate the integrity and option of a mother staying at home to raise her children? It kind of feels that way to me. From my very limited vantage point, it also now seems like women are carrying a heftier burden. Not only are we putting in full time hours at the office, but often seem to still be managing the home and doing most of the child rearing. Of course, there are always the exceptions. To me, it just seems like either we both work and split all responsibilities perfectly down the middle, which seems absolutely reasonable, or else there needs to be a trade off. And here's my proposed trade off. No more fancy hair appointments. No more gas money spent on commuting or money spent on lunches, happy hours or nights out with co-workers. No more shopping endlessly for new work wardrobes. Instead, replace that all with sacrifice. Being home with my children is worth the sacrifice to me. It's a choice. A decision. Or at least, it should be.
And enter my test run. I don't have children, so it honestly feels...wrong? Out of place. Not quite right. But hey, why not see how this feels before I hit the pavement in an attempt to find that new job. Is there resentment? Is there too much boredom? Does socializing with only one person, my husband, drive me up a wall after two weeks? What will this look like? Can I do this? And even more importantly, do I want to? Is it worth all of the sacrifices I will undoubtedly have to make? Do I even enjoy endlessly cleaning and cooking?
This is my test run: Me, as a fifties housewife.
Apron inspiration: Anthropologie's Tea-and-Crumpets
I even went so far as to mimic this inspired hairstyle, in the grand spirit of things. As a disclaimer, I'd like to emphasize the fact that everyone, and every relationship, is different. This is the beauty of people. My husband doesn't take enjoyment out of tinkering with mechanics, fixing cars, and certainly could do without having to take out the trash. If he were busy doing those traditionally "manly" tasks while I busied myself with the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, I think it may have tipped the equality scale. Instead, my husband prefers football and beer. This is how I met him and this is how I love him. He also has a strong preference for me handling all of the traditional wifey duties, so our relationship has always worked a certain way. And clearly, I'm not an entirely selfless person. I will be the first to admit that I have my limits. Our relationship, created between him and I, is entirely unique to us. I've observed other people's relationships which have included, but are not limited to, boyfriends who wake up at 4am to shovel off the snow from their girlfriend's cars. Those relationships work a little differently than mine. I am certainly not suggesting a one size fits all. I am purely requesting a choice in the matter of stay-at-home mommyhood. A choice, judgement free.