day 67: {but what about being a housewife?}

*DISCLAIMER* This blog is about housewives who do not have children.  I am not commenting on stay at home moms at all.  I have no experience there.  End of disclaimer.

So.  I’m hoping to hit 1000 hits this month.  If I write something interesting/controversial enough today, then I may just do that.  I need 74 more hits, in the next 5 hours.
Uhh…not likely. (unless you would like to kindly feed my vanity and click on all the posts just to boost my monthly page views) ;)  Anyway….getting on.

I figured I’d write about something that I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time.  I took the picture of myself (above) about 6 months ago with the intent on doing a whole series.  (I did two, and consequently got too busy).

I’d like to talk about being a housewife. *GASP*. Those of you who know me on a casual level will know that I work two and a half days a week outside of the home.  You may also probably know that I have my own photography business that I run on the side (hopefully to turn into more on the forefront).  But I also have another job, and that’s being a housewife.  I am a pretty busy person.

What is amazing to me though is that many times (seriously, it’s many) I get asked this question: “What do you do all day?”  Generally, the response this question will get is a furrowed brow and a sigh.  Let me tell you why.

First things first, (and this is outside of the housewife reflections) I should just say that photography goes beyond that one day that I am photographing a client.  I’m sure most of you know that–but I do know that there are a handful that think I take the pictures and then *voila* they are done.  Not so.  There are many hours outside of the photo session itself that are poured into making everything just right.

So now that you understand that, you will understand that one half time job plus another half time job in essence, equals a full time job!  And even though I am at home for two and a half days during the work week doesn’t necessarily mean I spend that perusing Facebook.

Now let’s get to the housewife part.  I think this is the thing that gets everyone confused when they think of my schedule.  Todays definition of a housewife is not exactly the most positive one.  This is very unfortunate.  When our culture thinks of a woman who stays at home more than she works outside of the home (in this case, one who doesn’t have children, such as myself), they think she probably does the following: watches TV, plays Farmville on Facebook, gets her nails done, gossips on the phone, watches some more TV, puts a load of dishes in the dishwasher, plays some more Farmville, etc etc.  I’d love to say that those housewives don’t exist.  But….unfortunately, they do.  However being a housewife can be a worthwhile job.  I feel like a common misconception is that being a housewife is only an honourable job if there are children involved.  Our culture tells us that if you don’t have kids, both people in the marriage should be working more than full time.  When Dave & I were first married, we found that this was just completely ridiculous.  Up until we went to Europe, both of us always had full time work, as well as side projects with business (I had my graphic design business and Dave had his sound production business).  And do you want to know what we ate almost all the time?  Borscht.  Not because we absolutely craved it every day…but because once every two or so weeks we would find some time to make a HUGE pot, and then freeze it.  Because for dinner, all we had time to do was defrost the soup and eat.  Our house was (by my standards) not very tidy.  We were too busy.

Then we went to Europe…and realized what it was like to relax.  Now I’m not saying everyone has to take a ten month vacation to learn how to relax (although, hey, it was pretty darn cool.) But when we got back both of us realized that our pre-Europe schedule needed to change.  I made a point of finding only a part time job (which, funnily enough, was kind of difficult) because I knew that a) I wanted room for my photography business to grow, and b) I wanted to learn to be a housewife.  We saw such value in having a tidy environment to dwell in and in having all our food homemade (and not only just frozen borscht we made two weeks earlier…although I admit we still do that).

So what does my schedule look like then, you may ask?  Well, here’s a little glimpse into my day:

Outside of the house’ workday: 
- Wake up around 6:30-7:00AM to start breakfast.
- 8AM (after breakfast) I get started on some quick chores.  The kitchen ALWAYS gets cleaned after breakfast.  And by cleaned, I mean all the dishes are done (and our dishwasher doesn’t really work well, so I generally wash them by hand), the counters are free of clutter and wiped down, the floor is swept.  Having a clean kitchen is a must.
- Get myself ready for work.
- Once I have myself ready I continue tidying (make the bed, fold up any clothes that might be lying around, find all the mugs that my husband loves to leave scattered around the house, water plants…etc.  It varies from day to day).
- I leave for work around 9:30, and I rarely leave the house with a mess in it.  On those days, Dave makes dinner (because I come home late sometimes)–but my job after is always to do dishes.

Inside the house’ workday:  
- Until about 9AM, these mornings are the same as the others  (clean kitchen, bedroom, etc)
- After I finish all the morning chores I get on with my photography work.  If I have client work to do, then that is always my priority.  I work on that till about 4PM.  If I don’t have client work then I always have projects that are photography related (be it working on my website, doing correspondence with clients, research into new photography techniques or an art project).  But because I am at home, I can also do all those awesome housewife things like laundry and baking interspersed throughout the day (about 95% of what we eat is completely homemade. Takes more time, yes.  But it’s cheaper and generally better for you.)
- Dinner is usually well underway by about 4:30 (Dave gets home about 5).
There is usually one “at home” work day where I spend more time cleaning the house (like dusting, cleaning the bathroom, washing bedding or couch covers).

Now that I have bored you all with my daily routine, can you see why I get a little frazzled when someone has the audacity to question what I do all day?

Forgive me for sounding a little bit like a 1950′s “Good Housekeeping Magazine”, but being a housewife is a big job.  And it’s important.  Someone has to clean the house.  Someone has to plan meals and make food.  Someone has to take care of all those little details that keep a home running smoothly.  And why would I try to do that all on top of a full time out of the house job?  It’s madness.  There’s no time to relax.  No time to read through Harry Potter, and then watch the movies.  Which is, since I just finished HP#3, what I am going to do now.  See ya.

One Response to “day 67: {but what about being a housewife?}”

  • Janice Says:

    This is great, Courteney! Nick and I work waaayyyy more than full time when we are working and nothing gets done. We keep a stack of purchased pizzas in the freezer. But when one of us is off, it's amazing how much better both of us feel (and eat). Thanks for the reminder of how to get back to a simpler, happier life.

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