Housewife is kind of a loaded term, nowadays.
As someone who used to decry the notion of being a stay-at-home mom (for myself), I know how I pictured that lifestyle: surrounded by children, unable to have communication with adults for most of the day, probably hanging around in sweatpants and not caring what I looked like.
This isn't a very accurate depiction of being a housewife, but, nonetheless, it was the picture I had in my mind.
So, I devoted myself wholeheartedly to my operatic career. I said to myself, my husband will be the kind of man who is fine with me traveling for weeks at a time, or who will come with me so that I can go and perform and he can work remotely or watch the kids. I'll work and and be a mom, but I won't stay at home.
It wasn't until I met my husband that I realized that I was the one who didn't want to leave him for weeks at a time, and that the idea of creating my own schedule so that I could be around to see my children grow up as well as doing something that fulfilled me separately from them was incredibly attractive to me. I could be a wife and a mother and create my own business that offered me flexibility. Becoming a blogger and content creator would allow me to raise my children at home, while also find meaning in my work. But the question of being a housewife remained hanging in the air: wouldn't I get bored sitting with my children, not seeing anyone besides them and my husband for days on end?
It was then that I realized: being a housewife today isn't what it used to be.
The image I had of being a stay-at-home mom was incorrect, but not entirely: you do end up spending much of the day alone with your children removed from other adult contact.
But it wasn't always that way.
When women as a general rule stayed at home to raise the children, there was a built-in community of other women to spend time with during the day. You met up with your friends and your children played while you socialized. There was an element to being a housewife that isn't present now: an "office" of people to spend your day with, doing the same work. That work just happened to be raising a family.
Nowadays, we lack two things. We lack communities generally, and we lack housewives specifically (and I think it's partly because of this specific fear). In the religious Jewish world, and I believe in the religious world overall, these things both still exist. Many women stay home to raise their children while their husbands work. These women have a wonderful group to share their days with, and they can enjoy all the aspects of motherhood that housewives without a community can't.
As a woman who is ambitious and who wants to have a career, albeit of a more flexible sort, I think that it's totally normal to want to pursue something in addition to being a mother. So, when I say housewife, I mean women who are full-time stay-at-home moms, as well as women working from home or working remotely. Both are totally valid versions of the concept. But being a housewife in today's day and age is a totally different animal than it used to be, so of course it seems daunting.
What's the solution? Create a community for yourself. If being a stay-at-home mom is something you want to do, in any sense of the term, reach out to other mothers in your area. Find other women who share the same values that you do and who are looking for someone to spend their time with. Go shopping with a friend and bring the children along. And when you have a community, you also have a push to get up and leave the house; take pride in your appearance; and do all the things that prevent you from feeling lonely.
I say all this not being a mother, but looking forward to becoming one (not at the moment, of course!). And with that in mind, I think it's important to prepare mentally, emotionally, and practically so that I have a community I already love by the time I'm entering that stage of my life. I encourage you to do the same!
Do you have a community of mothers around you? Does the idea of being a housewife seem daunting? Let me know in the comments!
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Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!