Tag Archives: housewife

I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically

It’s no secret that when you become a mom, you go through a bit of an identity crisis. It can be hard to remember who you were when it feels like who you are now is someone who spends all of her time cleaning up mystery stains. Is that poop or chocolate? Apple juice or pee? I used to be on a first name basis with the mayor and win journalism awards. Cottage cheese or vomit?

Which is why these days I always dread the moment when someone asks me “so, what do you do?”

And they always ask it. Always. Because we are Americans and as Americans we need to immediately know what you do with your life so we can then determine how harshly to judge you.

God bless the U.S.A.

I didn’t always hate this quirk of American society. I proudly declared “journalist” for a long time. I worked hard to become a journalist. I loved being a journalist. It was a badge I wore with honor.

But the waters muddied a bit when my husband and I moved to Boston. Unable to get a full-time job in my field, I started working from home, writing a regular column for a handful of different newspapers and websites. I’d also occasionally take on a freelance writing project. So, I told people I was a “freelance writer.” But since that wasn’t as clear-cut as “journalist,” I’d have to describe what that entailed and watch as people’s eyes slowly glassed over because they were just being polite and oh, is that Susan over there? I should go say hello. Nice talking to you, Amy, was it?

And then we had kids and the waters got downright murky. Because now my main job was keeping those two suicidal lunatics alive while trying to squeeze in some writing time on the weekends.

“But I’m still a writer!” I’d practically scream at people, less they be confused as to my real identity. Sure, “technically” I stayed home and “raised” my children, but that didn’t make me, you know, a “mom.” It’s more like a hobby, really. I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically!

It took me awhile, but I finally realized why this stressed me out so much. The current language we have for women without a clear-cut “job” is awful. Take the word “housewife.” I hate that word. I didn’t marry my house. I mean, that thing is filthy. Even if it proposed, I’d politely decline and then hand it a broom and whisper “I think you know why.” (And “homemaker” is even worse. Especially if you have kids. Because when you have kids, you aren’t “making” a “home” so much as you are trying to prevent said kids from burning it down to the ground).

I also loathe the term “stay-at-home mom.” I don’t stay at home. No mom does. We’re constantly lugging those adorable damn kids everywhere. And yet, no one refers to us as Playground-Library-Gas Station-Coffeeshop-Liquor Store moms.

Alas, these are the terms we are stuck with if we are the ones primarily taking care of the domestic side of life (and fellas, I haven’t forgotten about you; “househusband” and “stay-at-home dad,” even when used tongue-in-cheek, is equally inaccurate and ridiculous).

Can you imagine if we referred to everyone by their most common location and their role in the family? Oh hey, let me introduce you to my other half, Ryan. He’s an office husband.

Or, hey, nice to see you, Sheryl, I’d like you to meet my bar grandpa.

This is Lila, my stay-at-the-yoga-studio sister-in-law.

My crackhouse cousin had a rough upbringing, what with being raised by my prison uncle and my motel aunt.

Why yes, I have two teenagers, a couch son and a Burger King parking lot daughter.

You get the picture.

Why do we still use these terms? Even “working mom” is a bit of a misnomer. No one calls my husband a “working dad.” He’s a graphic designer. Who happens to have kids.

And I wouldn’t even care about how inaccurate the current words are that we use to describe women who deal in the domestic arts, except for the fact that they have a faint whiff of negativity surrounding them. Housewives are considered vapid or desperate or gold diggers. Stay-at-home moms are boring or unambitious or lazy. Homemakers are busy wearing gingham dresses and churning butter in the corner of the kitchen.

So, it’s time we start changing these outdated and, quite frankly, unfair titles. I haven’t come up with the new terms just yet (what with spending all my time sniffing mystery stains and all) but maybe something like “I parent full-time” or “I’m a professional mom” or “I’m my toddler’s juice bitch.”

Or maybe all of us ladies can take a page from the Tyrion Lannister playbook and when people ask us what we do, we coolly respond “I drink, and I know things.”

Because that one is 100 percent accurate.

 

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An Open Letter to my Dishwasher…

I hate you, dishwasher. I hate you so much.

Seriously, so much. Like, if you were on fire and I really had to pee, I’d still use the toilet. Because you know what? The toilet doesn’t constantly remind me what a failure at housekeeping I am. Sure, it starts to murmur something after too many weeks of neglect but you…oooooh…YOU.

There you are, everyday, just sitting there. Needing something. You always need something. Need emptied. Need filled. Need the gunk from your bottom scraped out because someone (FINE! ME!) was too lazy to scrape the dishes beforehand.

Oh. OH! And don’t even get me started on your job performance. You literally have one job to do. Hell, it’s in your very name!

Dish. Washer.

And yet, it never fails. I pull a supposedly “clean” glass out of you only to discover the fruits of your labor have left behind a weird crust on the bottom of it. Or I pull a plate out only to find you were too lazy to get ALL the ketchup off. Oh! And my personal favorite, the pan you decided to completely ignore even though I soaked it in hot water and soap for two hours beforehand to try and help you out.

I just don’t get it, dishwasher. What did I ever do to you to deserve this? The Great Thanksgiving Overload Incident of 2011 notwithstanding (WHICH I apologized profusely for already). I mean, none of my other appliances are nearly as needy and underachieving as you are. For example, your cousins, the washer and dryer, do their jobs incredibly well, even going above and beyond on those rare (and/or weekly) occasions when I happen to spill wine on myself.

Your nemesis, the stove, doesn’t constantly remind me it needs attention with a giant pile of dirty dishes overflowing from the sink. The fridge? Only needs emptied and refilled with actual edible food when out-of town guests are coming over (and then only if I really like them). The TV? Well, that glorious machine…no, you know what? That’s not even close to a fair comparison. The TV is pretty much my soul mate with my husband coming in at a distance second, so let’s not even go there.

But the point remains, you are the appliance equivalent of a juvenile delinquent teenage boy. Your whole purpose in life is to make my life a living hell, a situation I end up blaming myself for because it’s simply your nature.

And you know the worst part of all of this? I’ll never not need you, dishwasher. My only two alternatives are to start washing dishes by hand and/or stop eating altogether. And I refuse to do the one because it’s wicked gross and I refuse to do the other because modern food science has given us frozen mozzarella sticks you can now make from home.

So, where do we go from here, dishwasher? Huh? HUH!? It’s not like I can ignore you and give you the cold shoulder until someone else (cough…Ryan…cough) notices you need attention. The last time I tried that, we ended up eating cold soup out of a frisbee.

So, I guess the only other thing I can hope for is that this blog wins me a Pulitzer and consequently I become a filthy rich and famous writer who can finally afford to pay someone else to deal with you.

*Fingers crossed*