My dear Bestie is probably the hardest working housewife I know. Wanna know how I know? She’s constantly exhausted and almost always in severe back pain.
Some worksie folks think being a homemaker is demeaning or lazy or unproductive. I blame Peg Bundy. Real making of the homes, Peeps, is hard work. Harder than anyone can imagine until they decide to devote their lives to it.
Okay, let’s discuss the physical/emotional/mental burdens or quandries with which SAHWs and SAHMs find themselves saddled:
“How can you call yourself a real modern woman? You’re not contributing to society! All you do is (blah blah insensitve/mindless blah)”. Seriously? SEEEERRRiously? Yeah, we aren’t developing vaccines OR staging corporate takeovers OR designing skyscrapers, but we are doing our best scrubbing, sanitizing, nose-picking-monitoring to keep a houseful of people from catching the rotovirus currently infesting our next door neighbor’s house AND organizing the social/educational/sports/dance/scouts schedules of everyone we live with (only rarely including our own activities) AND ensuring that somewhere in the house there are matching hand towels, clean sheets, interesting magazines, “good” handsoap, that God Awful sculpture we got as a wedding gift, yummy food, and enough coffee/wine/whatthehellevertheydrink stocked in case any number of people decide to stop by unannounced and stay a spell. Among countless other things, including, most importantly, keeping other human beings alive. All those things. All at the same time. So, Little Person who thinks we don’t contribute, YOU try having to be everything to everyone everyday.
We don’t really get sick days or vacation days or, I don’t know, weekENDS! Our “outside working” partners get to actually indulge in lounging in bed, surrounded by snotty tissues, in a NyQuil stupor or really have as many private, quiet, uninterrupted minutes of bathroom time to rid their gullets or colons of whatever is ailing them. Even working moms have a more than likely chance to enjoy even ONE tranquil day, mayhaps on some remote tropical isle, sipping rum punch and trying not to stare at and/or post photos to FB of that couple that is SOOO doing it in the hot tub. Working moms have daycare, and the extra money that they don’t feel guilty for spending on themselves. Weekends, for those 9 to 5-ers, mean sleeping in, daytrips maybe, getting a chance to plant that herb garden… Weekends for SAHW/M means there is another warm body at home needing you do find, cook, clean, listen, care… Wow, Hubby, I can go grocery shopping by MYSELF this time? Wow, what a treat! Thanks, thanks SO super much!
Aren’t we supposed to have this in our bones, our souls, our second X chromosome? I mean, Martha Stewart can do it all AND run a media empire, right? Also connected to the “What was my college tuition really FOR?” guilt. Maybe our kid is the last one in the playgroup to walk, or the only (shudder) biter… Maybe I forgot trash or recycling day and now we have several Glad bags piling up on the side of our house… Maybe one of the twins has all the pieces of her Pretty Kitty Halloween costume, but her sister has last minute substitutes because I accidentally checked the same package twice at the store… We can’t be perfect all the time. We will sometimes forget, or oversleep, or encounter a parenting challenge we are unprepared for. Working people get slack for it, working people are allowed and not penalized for occasional errors. At the job I used to have, the kind of job that Hubby currently has, there is actually a thing called an “error account” that would wash away any monetary oopsies, even up to thousands of dollars. Imagine that. Imagine that SAHW/Ms aren’t held accountable for every single boo boo, bounced check, missed appointment. Imagine that the lecture we suffer through from our “outside working” partner isn’t even half of the weight of failure we feel in our own bones/souls/second X chromosome.
And last, but not least, “You wanted this. I don’t know what you’re complaining about!” *SIGH* 9 to 5ers out there… You can go to Happy Hour with your coworkers and bitch and moan about your super demanding or high strung boss without ANYONE thinking ill of you. Know what? Even the Love of My Life, my Bestie, My MOM for Chrissakes gets a little judgy or concerned if (okay, when) I bitch and moan about Lala, Loopsy, Hubby, the house, basically, my life. SAHM/Ws are, for some reason, supposed to be 100% fulfilled 100% of the time. We are not supposed to be lonely or frustrated or bored or tired or cranky. We are not supposed to think longingly about just getting in the car and driving to a spa far, far away. But worksie folks? It’s sort of par for the course for you to want to get the Hell out of Dodge. Not fair.
So, this is an Ode to You, Dear Bestie… For being my career mentor. You don’t even get to put it in your annual performance review. But, I will always be grateful to you and your exhaustion and your back pain. (Even though I pray for your relief.) I’m grateful because you remind me that if it isn’t hard, I’m not doing it right. And I know you do it right. Love you.