I have recently moved into my boyfriend’s house. It has been stressful moving and unpacking and organizing; on the plus side, it is exciting being in a new relationship with someone who is supportive, appreciative, loving, and creative. We are an perfect team, and I’m having so much fun in life. I’m not currently working; well, actually, to be specific, not earning money.
I have become a Domestic Goddess. I am struggling with this idea on several different levels. Having done both my B.S. in cell biology and my M.A. in counseling, I have quite an array of educational experience, as well as professional experience under my belt. I feel as though I “ought” to be doing something with that education and experience, afterall, I am still paying off my student loans. There is something in my mind that tells me I must work and earn money.
My partner and I have figured out that, based on finances and other factors, that I don’t necessarily need to work. He would prefer me to be less stressed, or even better, not at all stressed. He is amazingly supportive. So I don’t need to work right now. That is such a difficult concept for me to accept. My whole life I have been independent, not relying on others. I have been working since I was 16…that was some years ago. Even during times of unemployment I have kept myself busy, whether it be attending school or training, taking personal development courses, or volunteering. Currently, I’m not doing any of those things…well, that’s not exactly true, since I am a volunteer editor and writer for wonderful ILWAD!
Since moving to a different city away from my friends and family, I have done things to keep myself busy: cleaning, laundry, organizing, unpacking boxes, rearranging rooms, hanging up paintings and decorations, inventing new recipes, going food shopping, opening mail and making sure bills get paid, maintaining our budget. There are other random things, too. I never imagined myself doing these things instead of working. My boyfriend says that he wouldn’t be able to run the house without me maintaining it, and the fact that I have created a budget we can live within, has made a huge difference in our finances, something that had been lacking prior to me ‘taking over.’ He appreciates everything I do, and tells me so. My job is the house and his job is commuting and going to a ‘job,’ so we are both contributing equally to creating a wonderful life together. I’m not saying that he would prevent me from working, but he wants me to have balance, and being at home is something that agrees with that.
Oddly enough, I am enjoying my daily tasks immensely! I never pictured myself staying at home and doing all these things, but I’m finding that I enjoy them and that I am good at these things. I have gotten really creative in the kitchen. My boyfriend’s mom (bless her heart) gave us a bread maker, and so I have been making bread once a week: yogurt-lemon-dill, beer-cheddar, spaghetti bread, and whole wheat. I have also been more creative in recipe building. When our food resources get low, it motivates me to use what we have in the kitchen, rather than going to the food store. I can make a meal from almost anything. All I need are things like rice, pasta, olive oil, chicken stock, soup, spices, and milk. I am thriving in my environment, and I am happy.
I guess that is the best part of it, being happy in my environment. So, while I am not earning an income, I am running a household and keeping things organized at home. These things make it easier for my partner to live his life: instead of worrying about bills and cooking and laundry, he can focus on building his business and doing his writing and exercising. And he makes my life easier by earning real money and getting out of the house (yes, I do enjoy a bit of alone time each day).
So I am coming to the realization that I don’t need to work and earn money to feel worthwhile as a woman or as a person; rather, I need to feel like I am doing something. And having someone who appreciates the big and little things I do each day helps fuel the fire to my daily chore list.
ILWADians, have you found joy in being unemployed or being a stay at home partner and/or parent? Tell us your stories.