Monday, August 11, 2008

Calling All SAHWs

Is it possible to be totally sure you are doing the right thing and yet somehow unsure? I don't know but I have feelings like that all the time.

I made a choice (along with my husband) about 7 years ago to be a homemaker. It was an exciting time for us. We were moving to a new state, he had just accepted an unbelievable new job, and we were going to try to have a baby. Part of me says that I've never regretted my decision to become a homemaker. I absolutely love it! When the decision was made, however, we both thought I would soon be joining the SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) club. Now that it hasn't happened that way I have had some doubts. I still love the job of homemaker even though it isn't always rewarding. My biggest reward is feeling content in a clean house. Now, I'm not underestimating that reward. It's huge for me and I know my husband digs it too. It actually felt pretty great today because I got some house cleaning done to the tune of the Olympics on TV. It was pretty inspirational. I think I turned in at least a silver medal performance. But it doesn't feel great day in and day out. It's wonderful when all the laundry is done but that feeling fades pretty fast the next time we take showers and change clothes. Like my mom always says, "A woman's work is never done."

I'm sure lots of women feel discouraged sometimes when it comes to keeping up with housework. I do even though it's my number one job. We also have lots of company and I often feel like I'm running a bed and breakfast (although I like to joke that breakfast isn't always included). As soon as our guests leave it's like a whirlwind of changing sheets, washing towels, and cleaning the bathroom. These are chores. They're not really meant to be fun, just things we must do. Most of the time I really don't mind them too much. Another wonderful thing about being a homemaker is that I can get my work done and allow time for hobbies without feeling guilty about using my time on things I enjoy. Of course many women have figured out how to do that and work outside the home at the same time, which I find amazing. I'm strictly speaking from my own experience. I did at one time have a job outside the home. When I look back on that time in my life I remember spending just about every weekend catching up on chores and not having a whole lot of time to do fun things.

These days the trouble comes when I feel like I haven't contributed much to the world. I wonder if my life has a whole lot of meaning outside of my bubble. It doesn't help that I feel like the only SAHW (Stay At Home Wife) my age in the entire world. Are there any others out there? Thirty-somethings who have chosen to be homemakers and who don't have any children? I don't think I know any but I would be delighted to meet some. Even just one. I want to ask them if they ever feel insignificant. I need to know if they ever feel like just becoming a full-fledged, board-up-the-windows hermit. Sometimes I feel like I'm just one flick of the Swiffer Duster away from being a total recluse.

It is easy to feel insignificant when your social circle becomes smaller and smaller. I don't have any co-workers or any real groups other than church where I interact with others. Most of my relationships these days are maintained through phone calls, e-mail, and Facebook. It can get pretty lonely here.

Some of these feelings and attitudes are in opposition to what I know I really feel about homemaking. I admire homemakers. I want to be as good at homemaking as my mom, my Grandma Mary, and my Granny. The photo on this blog looks like an ad for Ivory soap, but it is an actual picture that I recently found of my great-aunt. I love it because she is a wonderful woman and the picture evokes feelings of a warm, clean, and orderly home. That's what I want people to feel when they come into my home.

Whether I feel like it or not I know I really love what I do. I don't get paid for it but the rewards can be pretty great.


Connie said...

Oh, my dear sweet sister...I love your sense of humor and the way you know just what to say to me when I'm having a bad day. No one on this planet knows me the way that you do and knows just what to say the way that you do. I can't imagine my life without you in it. You are so very dear to my heart! Isn't it obvious? Your "purpose" is to make me smile! ;) xoxo

PS Love the new look!

katdish said...

I admire the fact that you keep a clean home. It seems like I always have some project or another that distracts me from the daily chores (did I mention that I'm A.D.D.?) My saving grace is the fact that our church meets here every Sunday, so I actually do have to keep it fairly tidy and clean.

And, btw - I think this blog is a great contribution to others who are experiencing a similar journey. Heck, I'm not and I enjoy reading it anyway!

mistymorningmountain said...

I concur with Phyliss Diller when it comes to housework:

"What a waste of time! You spend all day long cleaning your house and six months later, you have to do it all over again!"

stacey's hubby said...

I know it sounds cliche, but I really don't know what I would do without you. And you don't even want to imagine what my house would look like. :)

Stacey said...

Loving the encouragement on here! I felt so inspired that I mopped the whole house today. (Ok, I'm having company tomorrow too!)

It amazes me that anyone who isn't related to me or isn't going through the same problem could be interested in what I have to say. Thanks for reading anyway! You rock!

SAHW said...

Hi! Found you through Mel's Stirrup Queens - when I saw "SAHW" my attention was immediately caught. I'm a SAHW as you can wasn't necessarily by choice, and now I'm studying from home, but when my course is over (Dec) I'm not so sure I want to go back to the working world...I also was sure I would have been a SAHM by now, and it's hard accepting that I'm not. I agree very much with what you said - I really enjoy being a SAHW, but I do question myself, should I continue this way? My husband and family always say, I should use my education (I have an MS in Instruction and Curriculum, certified for early childhood as well as special ed), but I enjoy being at home too...I keep praying I join the ranks of the SAHMs so I can continue to stay home guilt-free. I look forward to reading more of your blog from now on!

andrea_jennine said...

Just clicked through from SQ&SPJ. Glad to find you! I'm still working currently, but I hope to transition to being a SAHW in the next couple of years whether I achieve that coveted "M" or not.

Lori said...

I'm 36 and a SAHW. My husband is self employed and I do the bookkeeping for him and various errands and duties but I only go in once or twice a week. The rest of the week I clean the house and work on my hobbies. My husband often comes home for lunch so I get to see him midday usually. I kind of fell into this and like you I thought it was a stepping stone into being a SAHM. I feel guilty sometimes but my husband likes having me home and able to help out or be available whenever needed. I like being home, I really do. But I understand your feelings about being a hermit. Especially when I'm sad about infertility I start to feel like a recluse. I'm glad I found you though, I don't feel like there's anyone else like me, but I guess there is.

SAHW said...

Okay, we are definitely meant to be kindred spirits! - because I commented on your post before even seeing that you had found my blog via a google search and commented on my blog! Wow, that's pretty cool. :) I fell behind on reading my comments b/c I had a nasty eye I was just doing random blog reading and comment responding instead of my usual more organized fashion. Well, you're on my reader, so I'll be keeping up with you from now on!