Jun
15

Is being a "Housewife Superstar" all cupcakes and roses?

Pink iced cupcakesWhile doing my “Housewifey” thing today & cooking up a few meals for the coming week, I watched a great article on 60 minutes called “Housewife Superstars”. (Don’t be fooled, I don’t usually cook on a Sunday for the week to come – it’s something I’d like to get into the habit of doing more frequently though).

For a while now I’ve been wondering where I fit in the whole hierarchy of womanhood/motherhood. I’m not your traditional “Stay at Home Mum” or “Housewife” like my mum was (dinner isn’t on the table at 6pm and Daniel isn’t bathed and ready for bed when Warren comes home). I also don’t have what you would call a career either – the thought of working for someone else has never really been my cup of tea (and my favourite cup of tea is Twinings Earl Grey).

Instead, I’m a wife and a mother, I own D-Zyne Solutions with my husband Warren, I create websites, dabble in share trading and I have my own Neways distributorship. This is what I term a “New-Age Retro Mum” (hence the title of this blog) because I strongly believe that a mothers’ role is to stay at home and raise her children (I also think dads should stay at home too, but that’s a whole article in itself) and maintain a sense of her own identity through whatever means she prefers.

I feel sad for the women who feel they have to go back to work once their 12 months of maternity leave is finished. In the 60 minutes article, I think the percentage quoted was something like 75% of mums who were working would rather stay at home and be a housewife if they could.

Of course no article about traditional gender roles would be complete without an interview with Germaine Greer – it was interesting to hear that she doesn’t agree with a woman’s perception that she needs to be able to do it all – be a great mum and have a career. Her view was more about independence and being true to yourself (well that’s what I took from it anyway).

I wonder where this premise of being the perfect woman (domestic goddess and career woman) came from? I know in my home, Warren (my husband) has told me countless times that all he wants is for me to be happy and then he is happy. If that means making him breakfast, lunches and dinners then great, if not, then he’ll make his own breakfast, sometimes lunch and we’ll work out what we do for dinner when the time comes. To me that seems overly simplistic – perhaps men don’t have as high expectations of us as we have of ourselves and our lives.

I was about to write that for me, it’s not enough to be a wife and a mother – I need something more than that – but why would I say that? In fact, I feel almost guilty saying that because I feel that someone reading this might take it to mean that I’m not happy being a wife and a mother. It’s not that at all – I love having a partner to share my life with and I am in awe of my little boy – the amazing growth that has taken place in the last 12 months since he joined us. What it is, is that I have other interests that drive me in addition to my family and I want to be able to pursue those as well. This is where it can be frustrating at times though – I want to provide an environment for Daniel where he can truly fulfil his potential (and I believe the best people for him to do that with are his parents) and I also want to put time into my projects too – it’s all about finding the right balance. And right now that balance would be better achieved if Warren was a stay at home dad and we both shared our time between caring for Daniel and creating income to support our family.

Have we perhaps come full circle and just as in fashion, the retro notion of being a housewife is in vogue again but with a modern twist? Just like in fashion though, I think it’s time to take the bits that work best for you and toss out the rest.

What do you think? Are you a stay at home mum longing for more, or perhaps a career woman wishing she was at home with her children? What works best for you?

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About Helena

Helena is a stay at home Mum to one funny, intelligent and very curious little boy. Helena & her husband are working towards creating a location independent lifestyle that will enable their family to homeschool, travel and experience the world together.

Comments

  1. Kristine Scheul says:

    I didn’t see the article on 60 min but I am kind of glad I missed it. Stay at home/ go to work/ maternity leave/ part time – some of these decisions are purely personal and some of them are without choice. Most of us would be the ones blessed with choice – what we don’t appear to be blessed with is an ability to own or love our choice and damn anyone else who thinks we should have chosen differently. Take away the extremes of the pendulum swings in our scoiety and what you have are mothers, fathers and parents making these choices every day. Its our God given gift. We don’t always get it right – that is also another gift – we choose, we make mistakes, we learn. What we shouldn’t do is judge or place our values onto anyone else. Our most recent Governor General has said it best when in an interview she told the reporter that women can have everything – just not all at once. For a lot of people – me included – that is the most difficult lesson to learn. I have recently made a decision within my own business which will see me getting remunerated less than some of my other partners, even though at times I perform better than they do. I made this decision, this choice to suck it and see – will it take off more pressure to perform like everyone else if I just don’t have to. I don’t know. We’ll wait and see – what I do know is that its in my power to stay, go, change things – I’m lucky. I choose to be here becuase I am convinced it makes me a better person all round – that includes being a better mother. I am doing what I love and I will encourage my children to do the same every day of their lives. I will teach them that it is up to them – that they get to choose.
    Do my kids care that I am at work? Not really – its all they have known but when asked what they love most about their mother one will tell you it is because I come and “pretend” to be a teacher in his class once a week and the other will say its the fact that I make the best birthday cakes in the whole world – with butterflies and everything.

  2. I loved this post and you are right that you need something more than being a wife and mom and thats okay! We need to have our own individuality so we can be a WHOLE, happy, balanced person because our husbands and children need happy, mentally stable, healthy mothers. I think that once we decide we don’t need to “have it all” as far as career AND family we tend to make our family our all and forget about ourselves, we even feel guilty for taking time for our needs. But everyone else gets a piece of us, we need a piece of us as well. We have to remember that taking care of ourselves , our interests and our needs that we are taking care of our families at the same time. The best wife and mom is a happy and relaxed wife and mom.

  3. Hi Helena,
    I came to your blog today via some oddly circuitous route (as always!) and read this article. I think it is great.

    I am at home with my two boys, I desperately do NOT want to work in my previous job as a high school teacher as I know how mentally and time-demanding that would be, and that compromises would need to be made – and they would be the losers.

    On the other hand, I too need my ‘projects’ – I also call them that! I turn my interests into websites and flow from one to the next. In time, perhaps they will supplement our income. Meanwhile, I think it is great that I have them to work on as my ‘job’ – the mental activity my mind needs.

    I guess for me the hardest part about being at home is the lack of recognition of the effort mothers put in – the comments about ‘not working’ and ‘when you go back to work’, all the while I think I am working 24 hours a day, just not for any financial compensation!

    The ongoing conundrum…

  4. This is a great post and you touch on some very tough subjects. I was a stay at home mom for the first 6 years of my children’s lives before having to hit the work force. I loved being home with my kids but there were certainly moments where I didn’t feel very stimulated and felt almost stifled being a mom and wife. I found a little outlet by having a card night once a week (if we could all swing it) with other moms in my neighborhood. Getting a 2 hour break and blowing off a little steam was a great way for me to gain perspective again. Here’s hoping you can find a balance that works for you!
    .-= Tina@RideOnToys´s last blog ..Choosing the Best Ride on Toys for Your Child =-.

  5. This week I resigned after 16 years in journalism. I”m both petrified and excited about what lies ahead. My reasoning for throwing it all in is that I can have a career anytime (heck, as I just said, I’ve had it for 16 years). However, I can never get back this time with my girls. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s also other things I want to pursue and now is as good a time as any.

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