Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Secret Housewife

I have a great resume.  I graduated summa cum laude from college with numerous academic honors.  I studied abroad twice.  I’ve done four internships, including one for a guy who’s now President.  I’m fluent in French.  I even got a Master’s Degree.  And I used all that experience to get a great job at an environmental non-profit in Chicago in 2008.  I’m proud of my accomplishments.  

But I also have a secret.  I’m nervous new folks will bring it up in conversation.  I’m scared my college classmates will find out.  I never mention it on Facebook.  But here it goes...

I’m a housewife.

Let down.  I know.  Maybe you were hoping I’d say I have an eleventh toe or that I like to eat my couch (I didn’t make that last one up).  

To clarify: I’m not a stay-at-home-mom.  We don’t have kids, and they aren’t really on our radar right now.  I’m just a housewife.  I made the choice to leave the professional track six months ago with the support of the love of my life, my husband, Ian.  We now live back in my hometown in central Indiana with our dog, Teddy (the other love of my life). (UPDATE: We're back in Chicago! Read more about our move here.)

I know there’s nothing wrong with being a housewife.  I’ve known and loved many of them throughout my life.  But I’m the highly educated, feminist-leaning millennial.  I’m supposed to want a career, and career woman was all I ever thought I would be.  I’m sure that’s what my family and friends thought I would be, too.  So I’ve kept the secret.  It’s 2011 afterall, not 1951, and here I am choosing to stay at home with my family.  Not exactly what Betty Friedan had in mind.  

Turns out, I really like being a housewife.  Perhaps as some older women have discovered before me, I want to be a housewife, for now at least.  And that’s the real secret: I like it.  A lot.  I cook and clean; I take care of the family finances; and I get to spend every day with my favorite people.  Ian works from home, so I get to be with my family all day.  I’m so lucky.

So the secret’s out.  I’m a housewife, and I’m really happy about it.  I look forward to using this blog to share my adventures in housewifery with you.  I’m going to explore how going retro can be modern; that I don’t have to work in a fancy office to do good for the world.  Perhaps by taking the time for gardening, home cooking, sewing, and family - all of that can have a positive impact on our lives and the world.  

Will I never work again?  Will we have kids?  Who knows.  My whole life I’ve been planning ahead, thinking about next-steps.  For now, I’m enjoying living in the present.  And right now, the present is good. It’s different than before, so maybe it can be better, too.

Like e.e. cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  Here’s to that discovery.