In 2012 I became a stay at home wife. It was a decision I made slowly, I mean real slowly, like at least a decade. I discussed it with ET often and when the time finally came that we could financially do without my paycheck, it was on my mind a lot. Before I decided to quit my job and stay at home for good, I was very anxious about it. I was afraid that the financial security we had built up together would dwindle and that I would become too dependent. But it was also a thought that hadn’t let me go for so many years and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
Quitting the Job and Finding New Meaning
After much deliberation, I finally quit my paying job of twenty years to first take a sabbatical and think about what I would be doing career-wise. I had wanted and needed a break. I was now a worker out of a job and kinda sorta seeking one.
I realized I did the right thing when I found out that my pay was not actually as good as I thought it had been and most of the company was making more than I was. I had always assumed it but found out for sure after I put in my resignation and I’ve come to the point where I say, so what. I had been a loyal worker for so many years and enjoyed parts of my job immensely. What I didn’t enjoy was the ever increasing workload and not having enough time to do the things I truly enjoyed at home. I’m quite sure even if they had offered me more money, I would have still taken that step. There are no regrets or hard feelings, the job served me well many years and I did enjoy most of it.
God has such a sense of humor though, the field that I had been working in apparently desperately needed people and the employment agency kept giving me addresses to apply to, which I did, to which I got several job offers. So decisions had to be made once again. Would I continue working in that area and take the risk of it all happening again or just call it quits entirely?
In short, I’m happy to say that I’ve been at home for almost three years now and still enjoying it. Not only am I enjoying it, the word “boredom” doesn’t even exist in my vocabulary anymore.
The Financial Side and Simplifying
We have survived financially and actually it hasn’t been as depriving as I thought it was going to be.
Sure, I can’t go out and spend like I used to, but spending never really made me happy anyway. In fact, I’ve donated probably most of the clothes I spent my hard earned cash on. We got rid of our second car and our motorcycle. There are plenty of other things I have to think twice about before I buy, but the advantages of being at home far outweigh the drawbacks.
Our life is so much simpler now and truly more enjoyable. Granted I’m a person who takes pleasure in the small and simple things, like going for walks, taking picnics along when we do travel somewhere. I used to buy a lot of books and see a lot of concerts, which I don’t do that much anymore. I either go to the library or buy the book used if I really need it for reference. With the price of concerts nowadays, we seriously think about that before going to one. The only thing that I had more difficulty with, was selling the motorcycle, but ET was planning on selling it anyway. Now, if we really want to go for a “run” we rent one out for a weekend.
This may not be for everyone, maybe not for you, but it works for us and we are a happier and more at ease as a family than we were before.
I’ve finally settled on the label ‘stay at home wife’ simply because if I weren’t a wife, it would not be possible for me to stay at home. I’m very thankful to ET for supporting me in this and providing for us in order to make it possible. I, in turn, take care of the household, the weekday cooking and the garden. You know what? I’m much more relaxed and probably much easier to live with now. I actually really enjoy housework, the organizing and cleaning doesn’t bother me a bit. I’d honestly rather spend the day ironing instead of cooking though, which is my least favorite at-home activity. So it’s a real blessing that ET loves to cook and often does so on the weekends.
If it were financially necessary for me to go back to work, I would do so and wouldn’t mind it. Because I actually liked working outside the home also. The story is always at least two-sided, or better yet, round.
I’m pretty confident that if I needed a job, I’d be able to find one. This has as much to do with faith as it does skill.
Speaking of labels… Of course I don’t just consider myself a stay at home wife, I’m also a mom, grandma, aunt, sister, friend, and most importantly, a child of God.
Stay at home wife, a label I know, and I really abhor labels put on people, but our culture sort of likes them and sometimes you get asked a question and you need to find a quick answer. You know, the ‘So, what do you do?’ question. I mean, really, I cannot answer that in one simple sentence other than ‘I’m a stay at home wife’, it’s plain, simple and quick. It’s clean and cut dry, just the kind of answers that society wants to hear. It’s a label that we shouldn’t be ashamed of claiming. As they say, if the shoe fits.
In German, the label is ‘Hausfrau’. But here’s the catch, I was a Hausfrau even when I was working outside the home. I do exactly the same things here that I used to do while working outside the home (but probably more efficiently and definitely with more joy).
Honestly, what do people really expect when they ask that question ‘what do you do’? Well, they usually expect you to tell them where you work and what you do there. I assume it serves as a conversation starter. My goodness, back in the day when I could say, ‘I work at xxx and do yyy’ it was pretty easy to answer. People would go ooh, ah, how interesting. I could impress them with my working hours, how I was adding to the family finances, not to mention being tired all the time. People then would generally leave you alone and maybe even be somewhat in aw of it. It gave me a feeling of pride, knowing there was no reason not to be esteemed by everyone I talked to.
Now, when you say Hausfrau, there is usually a big long silence, as if that were all to it. As if I had no other reference of being and there was nothing else to talk about. It’s quite the opposite. I have much more to talk about now than ever before because I now have the time to research my interests in detail and actually have time to do some reading and learning.
People that ‘Just Want to Help’ and the Judgment Crowd
Some well-meaning people even go so far as to try to give unsolicited suggestions for jobs I could apply for or other things like where I could go to volunteer. I know they mean well and I really don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but I am just not interested right now, thank you. There may come a time when I need to find a job, it may happen. If it did, I would not hesitate to ask for suggestions, but right now I’m just happy being a Hausfrau. I wonder though, if I ever really did need help, would they come running to help then?
Most of my adult life was spent working outside the home and that is what I learned to identify myself as, a working mom. Now what am I? Well apart from being those things mentioned above, I’m also a cook, baker, painter, seamstress, crafter, organizer, family financial co-planner, supporter, encourager, gardener, decorator, cleaner, art and music and film lover, reader, blogger, learner, listener … and probably a few other things.
That is what I do and enjoy doing.
Maybe we should stop putting labels on ourselves. Maybe we should just start being ourselves.
We shouldn’t let outside views cloud our ability to listen to our inner spirit and I believe we women especially should encourage each other no matter what we decide to do with our lives. Enough of this judgmental attitude towards each other. Let’s look into the mirror and think of our motives before we go out and judge someone else’s life. Is it out of jealousy, a distorted sense of pride, or an honest attempt to help?
We Are Valuable, It’s Written
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
As I see it, this scripture doesn’t tell you not to think about your life, nor never to work, or never prepare for your meals, or not take care of your body, or even to feel less of yourself because you’re not working at a paid job. It tells you not to be anxious. I’m so thankful that my identity doesn’t come from what I do, but who I am. A child of God who happens to be a stay at home wife in this season of my life. But a child of God I will always be.
This is what I’d like to leave with you…
If you’re one of those women who happen to love working outside the home, more power to you! If you are one who must work outside the home because you are the sole wage earner or you must contribute to the family income, I especially applaud you! And if you are a woman who happens to work at home with or without children that’s great too, no, it’s more than great, it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
I’m not writing this to tell anyone what they need to do, that is for each of us to decide for ourselves. I just hope at least it can be an encouragement to those in a similar situation, maybe you’re not feeling so hot right now and think things might be better if you joined the rat-race. I’m here to tell you to live life where you’re at and not worry about what ‘people’ may think… It just doesn’t matter. If you’re a Christian, the best thing you can do is live for an audience of one, your Father.