I never wanted to be a housewife. I was one of those 20th century girls who believed they could have it all – university education, career, husband and kids. My plans definitely didn’t include being at home on my own hoovering and mopping floors.
I had the university education and the career, although the career probably wasn’t as high-flying as the career my 15 year old self hoped for. I got the husband and the kids.
And I got the house that needed hoovering and mopping. Because you can have a career and kids, but nobody is going to do the hoovering and mopping for you. Well, not unless you can afford a cleaner. And, right now, I can’t.
My career took a turn three years ago. I took voluntary redundancy from the council I’d worked at for 15 years. I’d loved that job, but it had changed and I’d fallen out of love with it. Now, when I see my old workplace, I actually feel sick. I work for myself at home now. I’m a freelance writer. I write articles, educational materials, press releases and web copy. My work is unconnected to my blogging. I don’t make money from blogging. I blog for love, not money.
I love working at home and never want to go back to working in an office. If I didn’t work at home, who would take my son to school and pick him up every day? If I didn’t work at home, would my daughter be able to do panto? (Spoiler alert – she wouldn’t.)
But working at home is up and down. Right now, it’s more down than up. There were days a couple of years ago where I could work for six different clients in a day. There were days when I got up at 5.30 to get half an hour’s work in before breakfast. I haven’t done that for a year now.
I usually have a flurry for about one week a month where I might work for three clients, but for the rest of the month I don’t have a lot to do. And I really wish I did! And I really don’t know where to start looking for more work.
So what to do?
I spend more time on my blog. You know, that thing that doesn’t earn me any money. I enjoy spending time on it. I polish little things I should have been polishing regularly – removing broken links, adding keywords to old posts and alt tags to old photos. Do I optimise my images for Pinterest? No, I don’t. Do I write a load of clickbait posts and hope they might go viral? No, I don’t. I stay true to myself, but just tidy up little bits and pieces you wouldn’t even notice, on the off-chance that more people might read a bit more.
And what else do I tidy up?
Because I feel guilty about not bringing in enough money, I’ve become a housewife. My husband doesn’t expect it, but I feel I need to ‘earn my keep’. So I’m doing the things I hate, the things I really don’t want to do, just so I feel I’m making a valuable contribution to my family (other than the valuable contribution of parenting three kids). My eldest used to do the hoovering for money, but he can’t be bothered any more. So the hoovering is back with me. Along with the mopping, which I particularly dislike. I dust things. I wipe kitchen cupboards. I weed the garden. I’m looking at the tiles which go from floor to ceiling in my bathroom and considering cleaning them.
Sometimes I hardly even know myself. Because I really, really hate all this stuff. I’m not one of those people who takes any pleasure in cleaning. It’s just a necessary evil.
I didn’t want to be a housewife when I was 15 and I still don’t want to be one at 43, but somehow I have become a reluctant housewife.
Until the next flurry of work comes in.