To be or not to be … a housewife?

I need to find new ways to define myself. The old ones – mainly centered around work – don’t apply anymore. Yet I don’t feel ready to label myself as a “housewife”. On our recent holiday, I nominated my profession as “editor” on all the customs forms. I haven’t been an editor for years. When people ask me about my career, I tell them I’m having a break to spend time with my children. If they ask what I did previously, I’ll say: “I used to edit a magazine”. As the words exit my mouth, I feel faintly ashamed to be dusting off such an old glory. I mean, we’re talking circa 1997. I’ve worked in behind-the-scenes roles since then, tricky to explain to anyone outside the media industry. So I don’t usually … perhaps I’ve needed new ways to define myself for years. What are the cornerstones of my new life? I blog, but the word tends to draw a blank in many circles. Even when I explain, it still elicits puzzled expressions. Why put 400 ultra-personal words on public display every day? I tell them I’m in training. I’m just not sure what for. I’d love to write as a “career”, but I don’t really want to interview people with 12 toes, investigate the collapse of a financial institution or offer 12 steps to inner peace. I’m leaning more towards Jerry Seinfeld’s talent for writing about nothing. Funny nothing, with an occasional dose of mother-angst that might strike a chord and make others feel they’re not alone. Aside from being a deluded blogger, I’m trying to be a better mother. Doing my best to bring up healthy, happy kids. And I’m redefining my relationship with Husband, which has its own challenges. We’ve gone from splitting the childcare responsibilities to me being the primary carer. Sometimes I really resent it. Other times I wonder how on earth we’d go back to having dual hectic careers. What does that mean for my future career prospects? Do I even have any? There’s only so long I can produce “once upon a time, I was an editor” before I start looking a bit pathetic. Would I, could I edit again? People mention “consulting”. (But consult about what? The possibility Tom and Katie might be faking it?) When do I define myself as a full-time mum? Is that what I’m destined to become? Am I really ready for that? And how appalling is it that the intial way I framed the question was “Am I really resigned to that?” And so, on day 72 of my “Brave New World”, the questioning of what my future might hold finally begins (in earnest).

TONIGHT’S MENU: I’m thinking of baking a whole chook in a dough shell. It’s another Jamie Oliver. Husband reckons I tried it before and was underwhelmed by the results vs the effort invested. Sprog 2 would enjoy a bit of kneading though.

3 thoughts on “To be or not to be … a housewife?

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  1. Alana I spent 12 years working part-time and freelance to be around home for the children while AT had the big career and in the last year of that began to really wonder if I would ever “resume” my career. Absurd isn’t it, as I earned quite good money… but by complete chance I met a most wonderful person who gave me a job. For three years I have had the most exciting time. I love my work, have a whole new tribe of people and grand adventures. The work life balance is a challenge I fail most days but I’m doing my best. Take this chance to have a break. If there is something you want to learn go do it. I learnt how to sew quilts and do all sorts of art things in my spare time. It gave me an outside house/kids/domestic routine boost. M x

  2. You certainly have been an editor since 1997…I remember, I was your PA! Surely you mean 2007 and you were a great editor! The girls are worth the effort, they are terrific. Love your blog.
    We are in London celebrating Neil’s 70th.
    Hugs, Di. xx

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