Today is my birthday.
The past 4 months or so have been stressful and I realize now that I have been making them so. Last summer I was the Campaign Manager for a guy running for U.S. House. I was busy. I loved it. I liked working for Tom, I liked working with volunteers, I liked having a purpose. He lost and the campaign ended.
Since then, I have been clamoring to keep myself at that level of busy. I worked on my marketing business, worked on my sales business, began this blog, began my dating book, etc. In the past couple of months I became Vice President of a new Democratic group in town. But I wasn’t happy.
I’d call my good friend and fret over taking on too much but still feeling unfulfilled. She suggested I get a regular job. She felt that staying at home with L just wasn’t enough for me and none of my projects were at the point of full operation – they were all start-ups, basically. “You need to be with other women, create friendships, wear cute clothes, have something to do,” was the basic message. And in some ways, she is right. I do thrive in that environment.
I thought about her suggestion and decided it wasn’t for me. I liked the sound of it but it is more complicated than that. First, I’d have a boss, something I really don’t want. Second, I’d have to somehow take care of my family while working, something I didn’t want to do. And third, I like being at home and the feeling of freedom I have to do what I want (provided I take care of my family).
“What?” I asked myself. “Did you just say you like being at home?” It shouldn’t have been a surprise. I have always loved the sense of freedom as a freelancer and I like being spontaneous, something an 8-5 job doesn’t offer. Most importantly to J and I is raising L and being there for her in these early years. So where does that leave me? It leaves me with what already is: I am a stay-at-home-mom. A homemaker. A housewife. That is my job.
Wow. What a relief! Since I have allowed myself to be what I actually am, I am much happier. When L goes to school, I work on the two projects most important to me right now and the rest of the time I read, write my blog, clean the house, do laundry, run errands – but no rushing. I’m not frantic like I was. I feel peaceful.
I realize now how fortunate I am that I don’t have to work. That’s right, I said it, in the face of the nation’s almost total economic meltdown. For the lifestyle that we live, I don’t have to work. Bills get paid, we can afford some new clothes, we go out to dinner from time to time…life is good. We are happy. For a while I felt pressured to bring in money so we could buy a house. We are now looking at smaller homes using the money we have already saved.
I am grateful that my husband works hard to create the life I get to live. He has few expectations of me (short of making sure I pick up L at school and managing our budget so we never overdraw on our checking account, he’s good). With layoffs always looming, I know this might not last so I am enjoying it while I can. And, perhaps most importantly, I am admitting it: I’m a housewife.
So what have I done so far on my birthday? Well, I cleaned poop off the bathroom floor, plunged the toilet, got more laundry done, put dishes away, took my daughter to school, and stayed home while the carpet cleaner was here. I am looking forward to taking L to dance class and then reserving a date for her “Get Doted On” birthday party in May. I’ll get some writing done on an article and run to the mall for a few errands.
A typical day for me, and now, really, a perfect day.