I saw this article on Apartment Therapy yesterday, What Is It Like to be a Full-time Homemaker. You should definitely read it. It’s essentially a list of questions for people who have made the decision to quit their jobs to stay home, but who aren’t stay-at-home moms/dads. And while I technically sort of have a job, going in to a bridal shop for 3 hours a week to help with marketing (and I LOVE it!), for all intents and purposes, I’m a full-time homemaker. Last week was actually the one-year anniversary of my last day in my former career (yay!), so I thought the timing was really good for me to address some of the questions that Apartment Therapy brought up, and that I bet some of you may have, too.
When Andy and I got married we decided to try living mostly on his paycheck and putting mine into savings. At the time, my salary was actually the larger of the two because I’d been with the company about five years longer than him, but it was no secret that I didn’t really like my job and would eventually need to leave, for his sanity as well as mine (he was so sick of me complaining!). After a few months of that going pretty well, Andy was promoted and suddenly was making more than me. Since we’d been ok on his lower salary, there was no reason for me to continue working (my boss actually told Andy he was demoted when I quit, haha). I actually had every intention of taking maybe two months off and finding a new job, but staying home has worked out so much better for us. I still have that year’s worth of salary saved up in my personal savings account that we can dip into if we need to, and we have a couple of times.
I know we sometimes make it seem like all rainbows and new kitchens and flights to exotic European cities around here, because this is a blog and no one wants to see the not-so-pretty stuff, but we make a lot of sacrifices to do this. It’s super awkward to talk about finances or budgets because everyone’s situation is different, and I don’t want to sound like I’m whining about our lack of finances while we did literally go to Europe a few weeks ago or alternately that I’m bragging about how lucky we are. I know we’re super lucky and we don’t take any of it for granted. We also have worked really hard to be where we are. We make a lot of sacrifices to live the lifestyle we want … 90% of my clothes have paint on them and I don’t want to spend the money to buy a new pair of jeans because I’d rather save it for another trip to Home Depot. We don’t go out to dinner as often. We don’t buy ice cream every week at the grocery store because that stuff is $6 for a little tiny pint. Sometimes we think about whether or not we want to get gas on this paycheck or next … Living in Cleveland helps a lot because the cost of living is so low. Having an amazing financial planner is also helpful!
Making sacrifices is totally worth it to us because we have a much better quality of life now. Our house is cleaner, we’re eating much healthier, we’re more relaxed, we get to spend a lot more quality time together doing fun things like cooking dinner instead of both being grumpy and exhausted and heading out to a restaurant when no one wants to cook. For Andy it’s great to know that when he has an awful day at work, he can come home to a relatively clean house and a meal already planned and I can make dinner myself if he’s too tired to help. To us, our current quality of life far outweighs the possibility of a luxurious lifestyle.
The hardest thing for me to get used to at the beginning was just, what the heck do I do all day? It wasn’t that I didn’t have things to do, by any means. I always have a to-do list a mile long between household chores, blog posts to write, projects to start/finish/photograph. It was more how do I schedule my time? I’ll admit, even a year later I struggle with this, though I do have a pretty good daily schedule now. You saw my cleaning schedule that I posted recently. That helps a ton because now every day I have a set plan. I think of blogging as my biggest job, so that takes up a huge portion of every day, whether it’s writing or creating or brainstorming, even just to do 3 posts a week. I tend to put A LOT of pressure on myself to be perfect and get every single thing done, and I also get overwhelmed super easily. So when I find myself kind of freaking out and feeling like a huge housewife failure, I give myself a break and catch up on Masterpiece Mysteries all afternoon. Andy doesn’t care if I don’t finish something, and everything gets done eventually.
The Apartment Therapy article asked what is the most challenging aspect of being a homemaker. To me it’s the implication that my time isn’t as valuable. I might be a little defensive and over-sensitive about this, but the thing that drives me absolutely insane is when people say stuff to me like, “well you have the time” or “it’s not like you have anything else to do” or even “I know you’ll be home…” It’s so annoying!! A lot of the guys who have worked on our house have said stuff like that to me, and even sometimes our friends, though they’re usually joking. I don’t have unlimited time and I’m not always home and I work way harder now than I did when I sat at a desk for 50 hours a week! My time is just as valuable as anyone else’s and so is the work I do. I’m not a housewife because I want to be lazy and watch soap operas all day. I do it so I can work really hard all day and live in a house I’m super proud of and have the freedom to do what I want. Grr.
And the most rewarding aspect of being a homemaker? I’m infinitely happier. I love all the time I get to myself. I feel huge amounts of satisfaction to be able to work on our house and on our blog as much as I do. I have the opportunity to be creative, which I didn’t have the time or energy to do while I was working. I love the freedom of choosing my own schedule for every day and not being told where to be and when to be there and what to do. Andy and I have much more quality time together. Sure, I might not have the cutest outfits anymore, but my yoga pants do make me quite happy!
I love being a housewife! Any other full-time homemakers out there have anything to add? Does anyone have any other questions you’ve been dying to ask?