Saturday, November 9, 2013
To People Who Judge Housewives
Last night, I was sitting in youth group (I'm one of the youth leaders), and the pastor asked the youth, "Why are you here?" He talked about how in all stages of life, we can get overwhelmed with not knowing where we're going next, what we're supposed to be doing. We only know so much, but if we let God lead us, there's no worry.
So, here's the thing. I know there are some people who look down on me for not working (and I get similar reactions when they find out I dropped out of college after two years). I can either see it in their eyes, or they flat out tell me in so many words. I know a lot of people think I (and other housewives) are lazy. Maybe some are. Some people who work are lazy, too. Anyway, usually when people find out I don't work, they do one of the following:
-Ask me if I'm looking for a job. Or if I'm going to go back to school.
-Ask me what I do with all my time.
-Nod politely and give me That Smile. You know, the one seeping with judgement.
-Or they seem genuinely interested and excited for me. This happens very little. (Those who support me, you know who you are, and I am eternally thankful.)
I usually respond to this with some mumbling or a bad joke because this conversation makes me so uncomfortable. I'm even uncomfortable writing because this feels like confrontation. I don't know why. I'm shaking.
I hate that I care what people think of me, but I do. That's the truth. I try not to, but the desire for people to be proud of me and to like me is there. So, I hate that I'm writing this blog partly because I feel like I need to explain to people why I do what I do. I shouldn't have to justify myself to others. Maybe, though, I can shed some light. Maybe people can understand not just my situation, but learn not to judge others.
So, why am I a housewife?
First of all, being at home allows me the time to do what I feel it is I am here to do, and that is to write (This post may not be any indication because I feel like it's coming out in a mess.) and be a wife and mom. I have felt that all my life. Writing full-time is the reason I quit college. Education is not always a waste of time, but for me it was (not the time I was there, but it would have been a waste of time to continue). I had learned so much in two years, that helped me further develop my skills, and I had come to the point in time where I needed to move on and actually write the novel God put in my heart. Plus, the greatest way to learn is to do, so I continued to get educated without thousands of more dollars of student debt. I call that a win. You can read why that was a hard decision for me here. Will I go back to school? Not in the foreseeable future.
So, that is one thing I do with my time. I write, and I work hard at it. I have taken my completed manuscript through three revisions and edits. There have been chunks of time when I have not worked on it, yes, because it's healthy to take a break from your writing so you can go back to work with clear eyes. In those periods, though, I have continued to write other things. I write about periods so young girls and future generations won't be so freaked out about what's going on with their changing bodies, so they can ask questions and gain knowledge.
Second, my amazing husband, Gary, supports me. He makes all the money we need, so there is no need for me to bring in more. I'm not a big spender, I'm thrifty, and I save us money. I have asked him multiple times since we've been married if he wants me to get a job so we can have some extra money, and he has told me every time, with confidence, "No, you're doing what you need to be doing. Keep working on your book. It will pay off one day." He believes in me so much, and I will forever burst with gratitude for that.
So, as far as contributions to our household go, my husband makes all the money--enough that our bills are paid, we have what we need, we are able to give, and we can go out and do fun things. Just because I don't contribute financially does not mean I don't contribute. I do all the cleaning, and I mean every bit of it, so when Gary comes home from his mandatory twelve hour shifts, we can relax together and he doesn't have to worry about doing anything else. I have dinner ready for him him every day (unless I've had to be somewhere else and haven't had the time, but that's not often). He appreciates this, and he lets me know it. (I realize some of you will think this is old-fashioned, but this balance works for us, and that's all that matters.)
Another reason I prefer not to get a job is because I have scoliosis. I did get corrective surgery, yes, but what people don't understand is that the surgery does not ever make the scoliosis just go away. It doesn't affect me badly enough that I get disability, but it leaves me in pain most days, especially in the winter. When my back muscles become inflamed, I am unable to do anything for seven to ten days usually. I used to work retail, and I came home from work in tears every single time because my back and my leg joints hurt me so badly. So, yes, if my husband is okay with me not working and if we are well off enough, I'd rather not to go through all that pain.
Finally, I am able to volunteer my time to things that matter to me. One of my passions is to bring hope to survivors of sexual violence, so I work with three other lovely women in our non-profit, Knots for Hope, to do just that. We craft jewelry and other things to sell, and we donate one hundred percent of the money to help survivors of human trafficking in the US and Cambodia.
And, like I mentioned above, I am a youth leader at my church. So, I spend "all that free time" I have on these things. I'm not saying this, like, "Oh, look what I do". I'm so thankful I have the time for these things.
I can hear it now: "But don't you get bored? Don't you want to use your talents in better places? What about all those women who fought so we can work?"
Sometimes I get bored, but that's is rare and usually because of hormones. I keep myself busy and even get stressed by how busy I am. I use my talents every day to build this novel so one day it can be published and others will see it. I appreciate all the women who fought for the right to work and be equals in the workplace, but that is not my place in this world.
So, yes, I am a housewife and a writer and I help people. I do not just sit around our apartment and watch marathons of Netflix all day (though I do take an occasional day to do this, like everyone else who works). I'm not lazy. I'm not looking for a job. I'm not going back to school. I wish I could say I'm done making apologies and mumbling to people, but everyone else with all their judgment makes that harder than it should be. I pray I can feel secure enough that I can get there soon.
How do I know this is what's right? Because when people start telling me what I should be doing, my instinct to please them kicks in, and I start thinking maybe I should work. I get confused. I get anxious. And then I go back to that secret place with God, and I ask him to help me understand what He wants me to do. Do you know what I get from Him? "This is why you're here." As long as I'm doing what God wants me to do, and my husband is behind me, I am more than happy with where I am.