Jennifer A. Slater explores that in an essay for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
If you’re currently unemployed, don’t despair — set aside a certain amount of time for scouring the want ads, making phone calls and doing your share of worrying — but then take a break from it. You are defined by more than your role as provider or by your occupation for that matter — there’s so much more. Don’t waste this opportunity.
What are some things you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for? Think of things you could accomplish that would make your life easier when you do go back to work. Here are some ideas:
She then goes on to list a series of ideas that will sound terribly familiar to stay-at-home-wives:
- Cooking - "It became my mission to pore through my cookbooks and spoil my children with home-cooked meals that I had never had the time or energy to prepare."
- Cleaning - " I cleaned my house! And I’m not talking just hitting the big spots — I mean really cleaned!"
- Home upkeep - "Like anyone else I have a Honey-Do list. The only problem is, I’m the only Honey in the house"
- Finishing projects, in her case a book - "This has been one of the most personally rewarding gifts I have received during this drought."
- Learning new ways to be frugal - "I actually take time now to read the ads for sales and cut out coupons and then plan every week’s meals accordingly. What a concept! I honestly cannot believe the amount of money I’ve saved."
- Spending time with your kids. - "why didn’t I do this before? Oh yeah, I was always working."
That last one is the kicker for me. Have kids you never spend time with. Why have them in the first place?
She's floored that these things can actually be enjoyable, enriching, and contribute to society. Holy cr*p Batman, it's good to be a housewife!
The only problem being that she's a single mom with three kids, so she has to go back to work. Too bad she didn't think of this before she had them. Too bad the baby boomers (or the feminists or the corporate overlords, pick your arch enemy of the past 40 years) lied to her about how enjoyable, how simply good, it is to take care of your home and family.
My suggestion to her, if she really doesn't want a husband (which is going to be hard to find with three kids anyway) would be to form a co-op house with some other single parents, of any kind of orientation. Because while those things are fun for you (I know, a shock) they are amazingly good for your kids. A well-run home, healthy meals, and attention go a long way towards making good kids into good adults.
Take it from the housewives.