As some of you know, between leaving my full-time job and recently starting my part-time job, I spent over a year being a stay-at-home wife. Not a stay-at-home MOM, mind, you. “Just” a wife. Should you ever find yourself in the same position, here’s a little of what you can expect.
1) You start to dread social occasions where people are going to ask you what you do for a living.
It’s exhausting to figure out how you’re going to explain yourself. But then you kind of hate yourself for hating to answer that question, because hey, it’s not like housewives don’t do anything. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and if other people think you do, so what? You then quickly learn how much you excessively value others’ opinions. You also learn how paranoid you are when some people surprise you by supporting your current status, because you find yourself wondering if they really think you’re doing a good thing or if they just feel sorry for you.
2) You learn that doing errands during the day is really, really nice.
Stores aren’t crowded, parking spaces are easy to come by, and employees are all still cheerful. It’s amazing!
3) You frequently ruminate upon feminist history.
If you had only been born, like, 60 years ago, you would have been the normal one among women your age. Although you’re kind of glad that it’s not 60 years ago, because you’re not sure your domesticity would hold up to the standards back then. Then you find yourself feeling resentful that women today are sometimes still expected to match those high standards while ALSO having a demanding and challenging career. But THEN you feel afraid that because you are, in fact, not working outside of the home, anyone who comes to your house is going to expect everything to be perfect, because what else do you have to do all day, right?
4) You find yourself wishing you were a senior citizen.
Unlike people your age, senior citizens actually get together during the day, including at FREE or very, very cheap events that cities create for them. If only you, too, could go to 10:30 pinochle club at the community center without feeling like a freak.
5) You feel really guilty a lot of the time.
You know that most couples your age HAVE to have two incomes in order to pay all the bills, so you feel kind of bad that you have the luxury of staying home -- who do you think you are, anyway, the queen of England?.So then you feel guilty that even though you’re so lucky, you’re struggling to create all of your own structure or with loneliness or feeling like a misfit; first world problems, much? But then you feel bad that you feel bad -- other people would kill to be in your shoes, so take advantage of it, dang it! Do what you want! Then you try doing what you want, but it feels so selfish, or you feel like you can’t really do what you want until EVERYTHING else is done, so you procrastinate out of anxiety and do neither what you want nor what you’re supposed to do. Along those lines, you also feel bad when your husband helps you with dishes or laundry or anything else that’s supposed to be “your” job (even though he assures you that that’s ridiculous).
6) You realize you can nap WHENEVER YOU WANT.
Which is especially good when you do a lot of overthinking (see above), because it’s exhausting. And as Anna says, napping covers over a multitude of existential crises.
7) God is still with you.
As you can see, the weird life stage of a 20-something housewife has some great parts and not-so-great parts, the latter of which are exacerbated by being anxious, depressed, and/or neurotic. But the good news is that through all of it, God is still with you and will use it to teach you and grow you. You learn to show yourself grace when you feel guilty. You are forced to put into practice what you’ve always claimed to believe, which is that your identity is in Christ and not in what you do (or what other people say you should do). You learn that comparing yourself to others is a bad idea, and you learn to not judge others when you don’t, at first glance, understand their choices. And when you’ve learned enough for the day, you kick back and watch an episode of that new show you’ve discovered on Netflix. Life is good.