Most of you, by now, have picked up on the fact that it took my husband and I much longer than we expected to have children.
Tim and I agreed early on, while we were engaged, I would stay home with our future children. We also agreed there was no real point in trying to find a job closer to my new home, as I’d probably just have to quit it soon anyway (we were wrong).
This led me into the awkward stage of being a childless, unemployed homemaker. I mean, I could call myself a dog and cat mom, but that was about it. It’s not what I really wanted, or what I expected long-term, but it’s what happened. And more recently, it’s even been a relief — balancing infertility treatments and a full time job is extremely difficult for some.
But it is awkward.
One of the first things people ask when they meet you is, “What do you do?” I assume they aren’t wanting to know how many times I let the cats in and out of the front door (at least 34), how often I mop the kitchen, or how many times I went to Target last week (at least 34). I’m left with few words. “I don’t work.” “I’m a homemaker.” “I’m unemployed.”
For awhile, I tried to make blogging sound like my job. But I don’t like that. And most people don’t really understand what that means, either. They’re often assuming I’m doing nothing all day, regardless of what I tell them, because I don’t have an official job title with an official company I can put on my LinkedIn profile.
I think this is something stay at home moms deal with, too. The judgement from other people. The assumption that you’re doing nothing but watching Netflix all day (reality: I’m multitasking while watching Netflix). The skepticism of whether or not your husband is okay with you not ‘pulling your weight’ financially.
As I leave the “stay at home wife” title behind, and embrace the more complicated “stay at home mom” status in just a month, I have a few words of wisdom for you few childless stay at home wives.
When you get those awkward questions, or even the assumptions, just tell it like it is. “I stay at home.” It’s a lot easier and people usually stop asking questions. They’re going to think whatever they think about it, and they might even hate it. But you can’t change that.
Figure out how you want to spend your time.
This stage of life, awkward as it is, probably isn’t going to last forever. Enjoy it while you can. Explore your passions, new hobbies, and spend time on yourself.
Determine your responsibilities.
This is another one I’d think would really apply to a SAHM, as well — or even a working mom. Shoot, anyone who’s married or has a roommate. Make sure it’s clear what responsibilities are yours in your home. Make sure it’s not too much. Make sure you feel like you’re contributing. Make sure you’re appreciated.
Be secure in your arrangement.
If you’re constantly feeling like you’re not contributing, this life may not be for you. If you and your husband don’t agree on this arrangement, it’s definitely not for you.
Get out of the house.
You have to. You’ll go crazy if you don’t. Being childless means there may be some weeks you don’t have errands to run, but you still need to find things to do. Spread them throughout the week rather than getting them all done in one day.
Put on shoes.
Seriously, you will feel ten times more productive — and be less likely to nap — if you’re wearing real shoes. Also, shower, put on makeup, and/or put on real clothes. Chances are, you aren’t going to feel productive in sweat pants. Especially not after you’ve worn them five days in a row.
Give yourself a schedule and to do list.
Yes, a perk of this lifestyle is that you have a flexible day, and you can usually, for the most part, do what you want when you want to. But setting goals, tasks, and a schedule will help you feel much more productive, accomplished, and happy. It may also help you avoid the dreaded “What did you do all day?” question once your spouse gets home.
Just because you’re not going to work doesn’t mean you’re not working. You deserve to have fun and nice things, too.
Have you ever known someone who’s a childless stay at home wife? How do they handle it?