I’m not sure when it was I decided I’d become a housewife. It wasn’t when I got laid off from my job. It wasn’t when we moved to Singapore, because we lived in a service apartment there and the most housewife-y thing I had to do was the laundry, and oh yeah cook, and sometimes clean but not all that often, but I mostly thought of myself as a lady of leisure. I wanted to be a tai tai, which is a Singaporean woman who spends all of her husband’s money, but we didn’t really have the kind of money you needed to be a tai tai, so I couldn’t really take it that far even though I wanted to. I was eyeing a Gucci purse though, let me tell you. I was eying that thing hard.
When we were back in the States I thought oh, I’ll get a job, and just go back to my life as a career woman (or a fake career woman because I’m not sure I ever really felt like a career woman either) but the problem was, there was no career.
Something about the recession? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. 2008, stock market drops dramatically, housing something, something about insurance companies, etc. etc. and all of the sudden the only thing on CNN is some blond woman telling me how I’ll NEVER FIND A JOB AGAIN.
Okay I think, maybe this applies to some people, but surely not to me. I mean, I will find a job. I mean, do you know who I am? I am a success! I look good in suits! I make jokes (appropriate of course) in interviews!
But fine, maybe it wasn’t so easy. So in the meantime I thought, I’ll just do things. You know, things around the house. At first I hated it. Actually I still hate it. But now, I think I’ve embraced it. I never made the conscious decision to go, okay, today’s the day I’ll be Betty Crocker, or whoever the hell the model housewife is – oh wait isn’t it June Cleaver? Oh I don’t know. Anyway, I never sat down and said to my husband, to John, okay John, since I don’t have a job job, like a real job where money comes in, I’m going to become the perfect housewife. You know, a real June Cleaver.
But for some reason, maybe it’s my type A personality or maybe it’s just because I still feel like I’m kind of a phony in my own life, I’ve taken it upon myself to start to do housewife-y things. And I’m not even sure what the definition of a housewife is, although I’m sure I could find it on the good old Internet. Because if there’s one thing I do well, it is read things online.
I love reading things online. Blogs where the authors take pictures of every single meal they eat. Every day. Or celebrity gossip sites that detail who slept with who, what movie sucks that who is in, and why her plastic surgery went horribly wrong, and how are they going to make it work for the kids. Or reviews of restaurants that I might think about eating in but then never actually go to. I mean I could go on and on. There is so much to read on the Web. I spent an entire morning reading about fledgling baby birds back in June because we had a few in our garden. Now that’s the kind of thing June Cleaver could never do.
Anyway though, so regardless of the definition of a housewife, I decided to become one at some point in time. I even found a web site that gives me DAILY and I mean even hourly instructions on how to keep my house clean. Today for instance, I’m supposed to wash the baseboards in the bathroom with a hot soapy rag. You know, just to keep up with it all. I don’t think I’m going to though. I think I’ll skip that one today.
And that’s the joy of being a housewife, it’s that you are your own boss. I mean really, if I decide, as the head of house or housewife-y things, you know, that we’re having peanut butter and jelly for dinner, I mean that is what we are doing. But it’s kind of sad in a way, because I guess I have a tendency to abuse my own power. Over myself.
You wouldn’t think that would be possible, but it totally is. Back to the baseboards in the bathroom with the hot soapy rag – I’ve got that on my calendar. It is a scheduled item. Meaning in order to be what I would consider “successful” in my unchosen profession (that of housewife) I should complete this task. But as BOSS of myself in my unchosen profession (that of housewife) I have the power to veto that task and sit around and read The New Yorker instead. So I’m abusing my power as boss, but inside my own head I’m also railing against myself for not doing the things I’ve decided I would do as a housewife.
I mean is that a struggle or what? A sad, sad struggle. But that’s what happens to you when you’re a 29 year-old, married female with no kids, no job, and nothing to do with your time except pretend you are June Cleaver when really you see yourself as more of an intellectual, career woman (phony as that may be) who dresses like she just walked out of In Style but really your wearing pajama pants because you haven’t been out of the house all day and why bother, except to walk the dog and should I put on heels to do that or no, that would be crazy but I should dress like who I want to be and oh WHO DO I WANT TO BE AGAIN?!?
It doesn’t matter. Not right now at least, because my profession, my career, it chose me. Now I should really go wash those baseboards.