Why It’s Good to be a Traditional Wife in a Nontraditional Role
Obviously not all women in the 50’s were stay-at-home moms. Many worked outside of the home out of necessity. Some because they enjoyed it (with or without the consent of their husbands). And others worked outside the home because their children were grown and they wanted to stay busy. It is in that last category that I find myself. I am now a traditional wife in a nontraditional role. Two actually.
I have this blog, of course, which is really just a pleasant hobby. But I also have my art. That, too, began as a hobby but has taken on a life of its own. I now get paid to paint and it definitely changes the dynamic at home a bit. Although I work at home mostly, and consider myself a stay-at-home wife, I am technically a working woman. I do own and run a business (of sorts). And I do have my own ideas about how to do that. So how has that effected my “traditional roles” theory of living at home? And can one really be both a so called “stay-at-home wife” and a working woman?
Well. Yes. And No. It’s very difficult to swing both. It’s a constant juggling act. There is the day-to-day responsibilities of both worlds that conflict at times. But more importantly, there is an emotional and mental change that occurs when a woman begins to pay attention to something outside of her home sphere. There is a feeling of contribution and belonging that creeps in. I’ve seen this in the past in volunteer situations as well. The feeling of connection to the outside world can lead to a certain degree of pulling away from the home front. Responsibilities at home begin to take a back seat to responsibilities of the new profession or obsession. Is that good? or bad?
I’m not sure. I’m not sure it even needs to be labeled.
Recently a reader criticized me for maintaining this blog while I am supposed to be a stay-at-home mom and wife. It boggled my brain. Why does being a wife and mom who makes her home her first job and priority have to mean also being brainless and without interest in the world outside of her windows? Does my blog take my attention away from my home and family? Does my art?
No. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
What I have found is that when I am maintaining this blog, I am on high alert to the things that are most important: being respectful to my spouse and attentive to my children. My children are grown, but they still need my presence. As I go through my day-to-day busyness, it is this blog that often keeps me grounded. Why do I know this? Because I let it sit unattended for a few months and life began to become chaotic. It is when I take time to myself to journal privately or publicly via this blog that I settle my thoughts and am then able to fall comfortably back into the roles that I choose to make priority. Taking time to think and write calms the chaos long enough for me to remember who I want to be.
I have also found that when I paint I take care of the parts of me that seldom get attention, but desperately need it. As moms and wives we tend to forget who we were before we had those titles. We forget to be the girl our husbands fell in love with. We forget about self-care.
That’s the buzz word these days, right? Self-care? It’s everywhere you look. Movie stars are talking about it. Books are being written about it. Blogs are blogging. Memes are being created. And yet amazingly, as self-proclaimed stay-at-home moms, we are still attacked when we do something that is entirely devoted to caring for ourselves. Those who choose to live differently enjoy spinning the table on us.
Don’t let them do that to you.
Ladies, it is perfectly okay and healthy to pay attention to people and things outside of your windows. It is good for your children to see you work with others through volunteerism, hobbies, or side jobs. It is okay to take care of you while you take care of your family.
What you choose to make a priority in your life and what you choose to pursue as secondary interests are your business. You can do both. You can. As long as you realize these two things:
(1) By choosing to do both, you are choosing to do neither one as thoroughly or as perfectly as you could do if you focused just on that one thing.
Yes. It’s true. When I paint, my attention is not on scrubbing floors that could be scrubbed. And when I blog, I’m not whipping up a plate of brownies that my family would enjoy. It’s true. In those ways my family is getting a little less from me. But, …
(2) By choosing to do both, you are choosing to give your family, the world, and yourself a more perfectly happy you. And ultimately a happier you means a more mindful, present, and giving mom and wife. It means a happier husband. It means more peaceful children.
Just remember to stop each day and prioritize. Remember who and what’s most important and attend to those things first. That includes you. Make sure you are on that short list, and don’t you dare let anybully (anybody) tell you otherwise.