24 May 2010

Stay at home wifery.

Aaah, the perils of being a non-working former working gal. Let me first say that I 100% recognize how incredibly lucky I am to be in a position where I don't have to work and our household income is still plenty sufficient to live the life we like. So yes, I am in full understanding of the fact that I am lucky that I get to whine about such inane things. Hopefully that will prevent your eyes from rolling back so hard they get stuck...

Okay, back on point. Stay at home wifery. I find this to be an entirely odd 'profession' where I am constantly negotiating the line between lazy-useless-good-for-nothing and industrious-June-Cleaver-uberhousewife. Neither are a good thing, I don't want to be the wife who stays at home all day and still lives in a pig sty with no clean underwear and 2 weeks worth of dishes rotting away in the sink. I also don't want to indulge my OCD tendencies and become the sort of housewife that has nary a throw pillow out of place and no traceable specs of unruly dust floating through the house. Swiss isn't fond of either incarnation and let's be real here, neither of those extremes are likely to happen anyway.

What I'm having trouble with is the day to day choices. If there are dishes in the sink (dishes are still Swiss's chore because I loathe them and Swiss loves me) and I choose to quilt or paint or blog, am I being a bad housewife? Should housework and cooking and laundry always trump the multitude of other ways I could spend my days? How do I deal with the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I'm being lazy when I suggest going out to dinner rather than cooking? How do I reconcile the days when I just cannot bring myself to vacuum or dust or put away the laundry for the nth day in a row so I watch the Food Network and HGTV and blog? And just how ridiculous is it that I have this inner turmoil over being a good housewife when Swiss could care less?

See, I am used to having tasks to do, I am used to work, I am used to having to show some sort of proof of my accomplishments on any given day. To me, if the house isn't reasonably fabulous, I must have been slacking because an imperfect house means I can't point to the tangible things I've done. A quilt isn't what stay at home wives do, cleaning is. A witty blog post only means I wasn't spending my time buffing the linoleum. Ridiculous, right?

I am mostly good at moving past this silly little ear bug, but man, there are days when I feel like doing the things I want to do with this gift of a year off is nothing short of selfish and when Swiss has to go to work all day, the least I can do is have a spotless house for him to come home to. Even though he doesn't care. Seriously, someone please slap me! Thankfully this is one of my quirks that I alone have to deal with, and it is one that is *usually* easy enough to move past. Because when you have 15 different sewing projects gnawing away at your brain, the vacuuming can always wait. Right?


USMCWIFE said...

I like to volunteer when I start feeling a bit like I am doing "nothing". Since my son rarely needs me these days and I am finished school and I am PCS'ing so no need to find a job I find that Wounded Warriors always needs someone to "run" some errands, go pick up some dry cleaning for the troops, bring them some pizza. If you get the chance to do something like that I bet it makes you feel pretty awesome!

Kelli said...

lol, thanks for the chuckle at your own expense!! No seriously, I can totally relate! I am a stay at home mommy, and I put WAY too much pressure on myself and the tasks that I expect of myself, when my DH could seriously care less. There are days where I beat myself up too, because I want to eat out instead of at home, or I want to blog instead of dust (Ewwww), or when I want to take a nap instead of do dishes. The list goes on and on. Just nice to know that I'm not alone =) I hope you find a balance, and learn to just relax...I hope I do too ;-)
P.S. I love reading your posts =-)

Tucker said...

Kelli- THANK YOU! I'm at least semi-normal now! And I'm glad my post helped you feel less alone too! :)

Thanks for reading and commenting! :D

*Jenn* said...

Im about to kind of be in a predicament too. My last week of work is this week, I moved in with my in-laws so I have no chores or anything to do right now, and I think im going to go crazy! So, im just going to work out a lot and help my MIL around her house I guess! Im just waiting and waiting for BCT to be OVER!

Bette said...

This a tough one that I've pondered too, every time the specter of unemployment appears.

When your whole adult life has been go-go-go, it's hard to allow yourself unstructured leisure time, even when the opportunity presents itself. Right now, between work and class and Army functions, my sweetie and I jam in house cleaning wherever it fits (which is not many places!). And we're both OK with living in a less-than-perfectly-clean house, given the circumstances.

But I'm pretty sure that if I didn't have the "excuse" of a paying job, I'd be the one who felt guilty about sitting and knitting (or whatever) instead of scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush...and I'm not convinced my husband wouldn't be asking what in the heck I did all day.

If you ever figure out how to be comfortable with the balance you strike, let me know!

Shannon said...

I. Am. So. There. Just like you I am also the lucky recipient of the gift of time. My husband is active duty AF and has been away at training since before Christmas, and we have no children. I am filling my days with finishing up my degree and volunteering once a week, but frankly, I get to do whatever I want. With no alarm in the morning. It's been good for me, and I am grateful beyond words. That being said it's not a vacation 24/7; it does come with its own struggles, and I really don't have anyone in my life who can relate.

I think the biggest source of friction and self-criticism comes from comparing myself to my single civilian girlfriends who have full-time jobs. Not that I've never had a full-time job; I was active duty myself a few years ago, and can say that for several years I worked myself ragged (while said girlfriends were having a blast in college). But my civilian friends just don't understand. Even though we are financially comfortable (and I do bring in income under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, thankyouverymuch!), I think they look at me and think, "Why WOULDN'T you want a job?" It's an odd place to be in. I feel defensive about it, but I am also proud. I feel like I DO have a job, many jobs in fact -- I'm a wife of an airman, a student, a volunteer and I hold down a single-family house with a yard all by myself. I don't think my single civilian friends can truly comprehend what I'm going through; they see me as just living alone and how could that possibly be any more difficult than what they're doing. (Nevermind the fact that if I were truly living alone I would NEVER have a single-family home and all the responsibilities that come with two people living in it. Hello, one-bedroom garden apartment!)

Just like Swiss, my husband is super supportive and only wants me to enjoy this time, insisting that I've earned it. He never specifically asks me what I accomplish in any given day and knows that I handle our biz. He even laughs when I admit that honey, I just sat on my ass all day watching Judge Judy and the Price Is Right. That being said, his support doesn't always make me feel completely confident about what I'm doing. I am slowly realizing that this confidence really has to come from within. I think I have spent too much time caring what other people think instead of enjoying myself -- and frankly, this is probably the only time in my life where I will be young, happily unemployed, AND childless. So time's a-wastin'. Each of us has a unique life experience, and we all do the best we can with the information we have today. Persevere in bringing light and love into whatever you do, and I don't think you can go wrong.

Well now that my comment has turned into a blog post of its own, I'll wrap this up by saying that I am just so glad that your blog exists. When I read your posts (usually alone upstairs in our room, sniff sniff), I don't feel like such an outcast. Thanks for standing up for the kidless SAHWs!!!! Ain't no shame in our game!

PS I am totally the June Cleaver OCD type. haha!

PPS Try not to beat yourself up too much when you have a bum-around day. I know, easier said than done. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I get the feeling you only do so when you have no other pressing obligations! In other words, all things in moderation....and yes, to me that includes a pint of ice cream and daytime television.

Tucker said...

Shannon- way to go! That was an awesome comment and made me feel lots and lots better about this predicament! I totally understand what you are saying and you are 100% right about the confidence coming from yourself- such a wise one you are! It sounds like you have a great grasp on this life and you are right, days spent watching the telly are just fine too!:) Thanks for commenting and reading and yeah, Ain't No Shame in our game! LOL