I’ve always known that full on housewifery would be temporary, but I hadn’t thought about it in a while. I’ve been busy with kids, household management, and a slowly growing freelance writing career.
Events conspire. Life happens while you aren’t paying attention. Happily, they are good events. My writing career stopped growing slowly. In a matter of days, I got offered a position as senior contributor at The Federalist, added to PJTatler (PJMedia‘s political blog), and got a short weekly column at ConservativeWomen.co.uk among other requests. The week prior I had booked a trip to London for business. The startup I’ve been working for is expanding into the US. I am organizing the Hub Dot Texas launch for September. (That link will go live in mid-July. Central is putting the finishing touches on the new website.)
When I took a short writing break to organize my many fragments and drafts for my new workload, I received two articles on housewives and moms. One from Melissa Braunstein on not calling her a homemaker and another by Penelope Trunk on what it means to work full time. Since this is a blog called An American Housewife and my first blog was An American Housewife in London, I obviously have no objection to anyone calling me a homemaker. Where Melissa sees an “unnecessary invitation to condescension” I see a dare. (Melissa thinks I have atypical energy. I told her I have atypical hard headedness.) But she did get me thinking about the changes in my day to day life.
Gone are the days that I blogged at the kitchen table while the children napped or that I composed posts in the grocery aisle. Gone too are the fractured days, random bits of time split by naps, nappy changes, cooking, temper tantrums, random bathroom cleanups, and midday school runs. I still work largely on the children’s schedule, but the “largely” is new. Six months ago, I always worked on the children’s schedule.
As I mulled these things while watching a half-dozen or so kids in my pool, my sister-in-law came to pick up Charlie Brown and told me she didn’t need our shared nanny and housekeeper anymore. Charlie Brown will be in school next year and often at my house, so I could offer the wonderful Lucy a full-time position if I wanted. Since my workload had shot well past manageable part-time freelance, I offered Lucy a full-time household admin job. She accepted.
And then it clicked.
I’m not a housewife anymore. I oversee the day to day life administration, yes, but I don’t do most of it anymore and have been phasing it out for a while. For a second, I panicked. That Penelope Trunk post suddenly took on new meaning. Thinking of her comment about full-time motherhood from the kids’ perspective, at dinner I casually asked my children what they thought mommy did. The answers were mom things with the eldest two mentioning my writing. They are older and gaining independence, and so they hadn’t noticed a change and don’t feel like they are competing for my time. The progression seems normal to them.
I was relieved, because that’s how I planned for this to go back when I plotted my life-after-mothering-infants-and-toddlers. My husband picked up on my worry and reassured me. He’s not worried, I guess because he thinks I know how to balance these things. He sees me merely adjusting to the changes.
One of the changes, I will
stop blogging. I could post here, but every time I start a post it becomes an article change the type of blogging I do. I intended to streamline and stop blogging, but then—just as I put the finishing touches on this post—the ever wise and insightful Belinda Pollard at Small Blue Dog Publishing sent out a post about ripple effects and how authors should blog. She’s right. When it comes to social media, I think she’s often right. So after mulling her advice and hitting upon the idea to combine the Hub Dot philosophy of connecting women through storytelling, I’m sticking around and aiming for once a week posts on a how-to, a story, or a round-up of interesting long reads on my faves: law, pop culture, women, or storytelling…
All of this happened a few weeks ago. I’m almost on top of my new workload. In another day or two I should be in front of my to do list…just in time for the last day of school. So, for a few days at least, I’m the once and future housewife. I’ll probably move in and out of that state for a few more years to come.