Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I need a housewife

Of course I'm being facetious. But I've been thinking about the idea of one adult in a family staying at home. In a perfect world it's probably the best way to run a household. Let me explain.

I looked around my house this morning and sighed. It's a mess. The bookshelf needs dusting, last night's dishes are still in the sink, our wood floors have puppy paw prints on them, and I spied several dust bunnies in the corners. I'm not even going to mention the pile of mail that needs to be opened. Then, there are the errands that need to be run. I hope the dry cleaners hasn't given away those clothes we put in last month.

It takes a lot to run even our modest home. Here's the problem: My husband and I both work long hours and have long commutes. We make it home each evening just in time to scarf down a quickly thrown together dinner, spend time with my stepson, try to do a little something to restore ourselves (like blogging) and collapse. Then, on the weekends we try to make up for the work week, running to and fro, cleaning, dusting, doing the laundry, oh yeah, and spending time with one another. Everything always seems so hectic, because running a household is a full-time job in itself. In today's two-paycheck families, someone ends up doing both their outside job and trying to do their home job as best they can. Let's face it, it's (unfairly) usually the woman. Now my husband agrees that home responsibilities should be shared, but it still makes for a tiring life.

So, yes, I understand the traditional family set up where one adult works outside of the home and one works inside the home. What I don't believe is that the stay-at-home person must be a woman. I love my job and wouldn't want to give it up. None of this takes into account personal fulfillment. Hmmm, I wonder if Mr. What Tami Said is interested in being a househusband.

My family's reality, like that of many others, is that we need both paychecks. Now, one could say we need two full-time paychecks because of consumerism and all the things we've acquired. You might be right, but that's a discussion for another time. For now, the idea of either of us not working outside the home is impossible. So, we turn a blind eye to the dust bunnies, kick the laundry into the closet and go about our lives.

How do you effectively run a modern household, support a family, and ensure that both partners are doing work that fulfills them?

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