What Is

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.


8 responses to “What Is

  1. Ooh, what a cool birthday. I hope mine is just as much fun.

    Even though I’m a few years further down the road than you.

  2. Linda Marcus

    The personal fullfillment of watching your children succeed as a result of the values you instill in them is the most important thing we can do as parents, and especially as mothers. I say that with quite certainty as I am now beginning to see the benefits of my labours.
    I am happy that you also have come to a similar realization. You have so much to give and now you too know it. It’s great to a “stay-at-home mom.”

  3. That was very inspirational. I am a mom of four and have stayed at home for ten years and I still cannot admit I am a housewife. Mom, yes. Housewife, No. Maybe I can attain some peace if I could just admit it. Something to think about…
    Happy Birthday- I have come to expect cleaning up poo on my birthday- same as every other day! lol

  4. Make sure to take a little time to celebrate yourself on your birthday! Kick your feet up and enjoy the day while it lasts. 😉

    Happy Birthday from The Old Ladies! 😉

  5. Good for you!

    My twins started Kindergarten last fall, and I was surprised (given they’d been going to preschool full time) at the major jealousy attack I had of my DH, the at-home parent. I’m the breadwinner, which affords us a relatively comfortable lifestyle and the ability to let DH set up a home-based business (in progress). And I think I would miss working full time.

    However, I do admit to fantasies of living a life like yours. You’re my fantasy woman!

  6. I’d love for this to be a ‘guest blogger’ post…what do you think?

  7. Wow, great post. Great that you can articulate what’s important to you, and what makes you happy. I miss the collaboration and excitement of a great job, though I can’t bring myself to pursue that kind of work at the expense of time and energy for my kids. Currently trying to find a way to balance – more time on some kind of professional project, preferably paid, but still leaving enough time that I get to continue to luxuriate in my family.

    The spontaneity, as you mentioned, and control of my own time has been an amazing part of being away from the work force. I hope I can find a way to keep some of that, and yet re-enter the professional world in some kind of meaningful way!

    I’m glad to hear you have found your own kind of balance. I really enjoy reading about it.

    Thanks so much for writing this, and I’m glad you ended up having a good birthday.

    Ruth (notruthless)