Friday, 7 March 2008

Work Choices

At dinner last night, I had a most interesting conversation with my nearly 22 year old daughter. We were talking about what she was planning to do long-term with her current employer and somehow she got around to blurting out the bold statement that she thought that I had the best job in the world - housewife.



I'm not about to rant but I am somewhat bemused.

The thing is that I don't consider myself a 'housewife' in the traditional sense because I actually work 27 to 36 hours paid hours a week, but the Living Doll does & so, it seems, do the other offspring, my inlaws and my outlaws - even the MOTH sees me primarily as a housewife. They measure my life by what I turn out in cross stitch & how much time I spend walking the dog!

What? Doesn't my employment count for anything?

It seems not.

My now mother-in-law's very first private words to me when I met her were about me not spending all the MOTH's money on owning a house. She was talking as if I wasn't going to make a contribution! At the time, I owned outright my own home & I was working full time as a high school teacher. Hello, where did she get that idea? Was I going to squander my then boyfriend's money and not make a contribution? Yeah, right!

The definition of housewife is 'a wife who manages a household while her husband earns the family income'. In our case, the MOTH does earn the majority of the family income because he works for a wealthy mining company & I work for state education, but surely somewhere my piddly 27 - 36 hours a week paid employment (on top of being the chief cook & bottle washer) should count for some kudos even if my employer doesn't pay nearly as well as the MOTH's employer does ... shouldn't they?

It seems not.

On top of that, I work an extra 2-3 days at home on my (external studies) Masters course. Bloody hell! Surely that should count for something?

Also apparently not. Doing my Masters is considered 'an interest'.

That's what I thought my beading classes were. LOL ... How naive am I?

What's your take on what you do, folks? How do your nearest & dearest perceive what you do during the daylight hours when they are 'doing the important stuff'? Does it have to earn the mega bucks before it's counted as real work?

I haven't, of course, had a moment to stitch this week because I've been busy being a 'cough' housewife, but I'm sure I'll find some time soon to put in enough progress to give you a new picture on my Blissful Creations site.

Meanwhile, this weekend, I'm 'housewifing' whilst the MOTH goes to Mackay to attend his son's engagement party - you know the one where I was told to find something to do (sit on a park bench, if necessary) cos I wasn't welcome to attend. The boys don't want a step mother on the scene. The ex-wife's partner wasn't invited either. I'm feeling pretty low about not going. I'm also quite pissed off at the MOTH & his family in general.

The kids still don't get the idea that their parents' lives have moved on in the years since their marital breakup. The kids don't understand that they cannot dictate how their parents live, particularly as the kids live in their own little world over a thousand kilometres from the parents. I don't understand why the parents let the boys get away with what they get away with. If the boys want their own partners recognised, they have to understand that their parents are allowed lives with love interests too. It should be quid pro quo.

But enough. I am now starting to rant! Worse still, I might cry. LOL

Until next time, have a good weekend, whatever it is that you are doing.



qeng said...

Dearest Feli -- Being the chief money earner in my family means that I am not a house wife, but my hubby is a house husband. Very different here and I wonder how others perceive his role. I will have to check this out. I have worked as the chief money maker for over 34 eyars now and I know that all see what I do as essential, but my hubby does EQUALLY important things. Will let you know what others think of his role when I poll them. Until then shouldn't we all be happy with what we define as our roles and take pleasure in the fact that we are content with them. :-)
Huge hugs -- Q

Felicity said...

I love what I do, Qeng. The point that I was making is that my daughter doesn't see my working role (teaching etc) as work because she sees the MOTH hopping on planes and doing 'important' work that earns the mega bucks.

I'm more than a bit surprised.

How many other teachers are actually thought of that way? Is that what ails our societies, in general?

qeng said...

Hugs...I wonder what my daughter thinks of my career choice??? Her dad is a lawyer!!! I will have to ask. Miss chatting with you hon.
Love -- Q

michmolk said...

Please don't cry! It is sad the boys don't want a step mum around - they don't know what they're missing. ATM, I have chosen to be a SAHM, with my little ones, but I'm sure as they get older and more independent, I may chose to return to paid employment. However, I know, as do millions of other mums, that being a mother is THE most important job I could do right now, and good on you for finding time for paid work as well!

Daughter of the Midwest said...

That whole mess with 'the other side' is just a very messy snarly tangle of crud. There's nothing you can do about it, really. It's too big to shovel and too smelly to walk around. I just hope that one day these youngun's see the light.
Housewife? What's that? I was a farmer's daughter. Mom worked right along side me and Dad outside. And I earn just a smidgen more than my hubby. We do try to split the household chores. It's our home, our money and our chores. I do all the bookkeeping and handle the checkbook. But I was the natural choice because I accountant. He cooks, I do dishes. I do the laundry, he carries it to and from. I vacuum, he takes out the trash. I clean everything but the bathroom, he does that. It's not the most equal division, but it works. And we switch it around when one of us is working more than the other. Which means that our home is sinking in filth right now because I am working overtime and he's working some overtime and attending college!!!!
I myself would not be content to be a housewife. Not enough interaction for my brain. I'd have to go back to school. I stay busy, but I like it. When I die, I will be able to say that I tried my best to fill up my days with meaningful things. Whether it's employment, housework, child rearing, or pleasurable activities, it's still meaningful to the person doing it. I wonder if your darling meant that she wanted to be you, not just a housewife, but you, the SuperWoman You! Ponder that.

Daughter of the Midwest said...

'I'm just not drunk enough.' That was too much!! The laughter it spawned perked me up some and has given me the strength to face the remaining four hours of my ten hour day. Giggle!!!!!!!!!