. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Am I Just a "Housewife" Now?

I had quit my job this summer and so have not been working lately. It was a part time job at the elementary school that I had held for 3 years and I found was not fulfilling my life anymore. It was a great job to have because it allowed me to work part time while earning a bit of extra income for the family, and also had the same school schedule as the kids. The problem with quitting my job, though, has been the fact that I am now a "housewife." Not a "stay-at-home mom" like I was when I chose to be home with my pre-school aged kids for 10 years. There is a difference and it is difficult to come to terms with how to define myself when I'm not working.

Anyway, as a result of not working, I've had to discover new little ways to be more frugal. One way has been to get a library card and to not buy books anymore, just borrow them. Those who know me know that I love to buy books--that feeling of owning my books is an addiction in itself. But for the good of the finances, I'm making regular trips to the library instead of the Amazon.com Book page.

One book that caught my eye the other day that I checked out was "To Hell with All That--Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife" by Caitlin Flanagan (2006). I'm halfway through it and have really enjoyed it so far. It is a sarcastic, yet well-researched book on how women's roles have changed in the last 3 decades (post WW-2) and how many women have gone from housewives to career women to stay-at-home mothers. The author discusses the high price that women pay for giving up their careers to devote themselves to home and family, the rewards that come from that choice, and the repercussions that comes from such a sacrifice.

In the town I live in, there are so many highly skilled and educated women who have chosen to be an at-home mother while their husbands have careers at the Lab. In the circle of friends that I have who are not working (or work part time at a job unrelated to their field) I know an Industrial Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Construction Engineer, Dietician, Geologist, Mathematician, Computer Scientist, Veterinarian.....the list goes on. The point is that we're all unemployed.

In the book "To Hell with That" the author writes,
"The at-home mother has a lot on her mind; to a significant extent, she has herself on her mind. She must not allow herself to shrivel up with boredom....She must go to lunch with like-minded friends, and to the movies. She needs to feed herself intellectually and emotionally; she needs to be on guard against exhaustion. She must find a way to combine the traditional women's work of child rearing with the kind of shared housework arrangements and domestic liberation that working mothers enjoy. Most important, she must somehow draw a line in the sand between the valuable, important work she is doing and the pathetic imprisonment of the housewife of old. It's a tall order."
During a run with friends yesterday, one said, "Los Alamos is turning out a bunch of marathon-running housewives" and she's right. So many of my friends have taken up running on trails together to keep active and fit as well as to fight boredom and depression. It is also the perfect opportunity to socialize with other women who share the same situation. It's what I call my "running therapy" where I run out all my demons, worries, and stress. In addition, I have non-running friends that I go to the gym with for a strength training workout. Afterwards once a week we go to have coffee together. More therapy! Also one or two times a month, a bunch of us ladies get together to play Bunco or to go to a "Ladies Night Out" dinner.

I am lucky to have a husband who is supportive of my need to get out of the house and socialize with my friends. :-)


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