Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Intellectual Housewife

I didn't set out to be a housewife. Or, as a more friendly supporter (my sweet mother) calls me, a homemaker. I got my bachelor's degree in History from a prestigious private university and immediately began working on my Master's in History. There was an event, however, that sort of changed the course of my life - marriage. On July 25th, I married my sweet husband. After we were married, I moved up to his hometown in Illinois, where we now reside. I immediately began looking for a job. After a few job interviews and many failed attempts I got discouraged. I begrudgingly stayed at home, doing laundry (ah, never-ending laundry!), cooking, cleaning, and managing our social calendar. I eventually found a part-time job and went to work while working on my Master's.

As my schedule got fuller and fuller, my heart became less and less full. I hated being gone every night of the week, either to class or to work. I hated not cooking or eating a decent meal for days because I wasn't home to make it. I also hated that I never got to see my husband. After much deliberation, at the end of the semester, I decided to quit working outside my home because the time away was more damaging than the money that I was giving up to stay at home. And so began my quest to be a housewife/homemaker.

My decision was met with apprehension and even outright disdain from some family and friends. A concerned family member asked, "But what will you DO all day?" A friend preached to me about how I would be giving up my identity as a woman if I stayed at home and was a homemaker. As a college graduate, I cringe sometimes when I hear my fellow college graduates mock homemakers and stay-at-home moms. The sad thing is, I participated before I was one of them myself.

Still, staying at home does not mean that my brain that was trained in the art of critical thinking has gone out the window. My goal as a homemaker is to make my home as comfortable for my family as I can make it, while not giving up my own identity by taking time to feed my brain daily. Whether this is reading Kant or studying a foreign language, my commitment is still the pursuit of knowledge, even while staying home.

Among many of my friends, there is a stereotype that consists of women who marry wealthy men only to stay at home and laze around or shop all day. They call these women lazy, and for good reason. I married a man who is reasonably well off, but is by no means wealthy. I am on a budget. We still have to say no to going out to eat on a regular basis. Still, I refuse to feed this stereotype by being lazy around my home. I try to work diligently throughout the day and relax at night with my husband and our cute puppy :) I try to make a home a comfortable place for both of us.

For some reason with the Women's Liberation movement came an attitude that discouraged any other way of living for women. Women who don't work outside the home have become traitors to the cause of equal rights for women. All of this to say, the purpose of this blog is two-fold. 1) To show that being a housewife isn't an anti-intellectual pursuit and 2) To give other women to courage to make the conscious decision to be a homemaker.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. welcome to my world. You can be a feminist and a stay at home wife and/or mother. It was stay at home women who ruled the world for millions of years. As little as a couple of generations ago women's work(at home) put food on the table and clothes on people's back. It was the work of the men who brought in the extra, the cash, or the prestige. I was gardening recently and I could just feel my ancestors looking over my shoulders. Enjoy your life and make no apologies.