I’ve always cringed at the notion of being a housewife. However, lately I’ve been faced with possibly having to become one—not exactly by choice.
My husband got recruited for a job in a different city shortly after I got laid off in March. Leaving New York City wasn’t something we planned to do but my layoff was probably the universe’s way of letting us know that we needed a change. The new job was significantly more lucrative than where he had been, which helped lead us to the decision to uproot our lives. Plus, my plan was to freelance since I could do it from anywhere.
This is my third go-round the freelancing track and there’s a significant difference for me financially this time around than when I did it a few years ago. These days, the struggle to actually get paid as a writer isn’t worth the stress or the energy put out for the work done considering the measly return. The ebbs and flows were more tolerable when I was younger but nowadays my patience is on 'E', so it would make sense to quit....but I also want to keep working and bringing in something.
I’m stressed out about what to do. Most people—the hubby included—wonder why the notion of not working bothers me so much since he makes enough to carry us. Mr. Rocque even suggested that I “relax and do the housewife thing,” but just typing that made me shudder.
I’ve always felt that financial independence was one of the most important things a woman could have, even with a husband, and it’s an ideal that I can’t let go of. There are perks to housewifedom, like not having to deal with the stress of working with other people, and being able to focus more on various hobbies, like that darn novel I haven’t made a dent in, or a possible career change (I often entertain going back to school). It’s not like I’d be like Peggy Bundy but I can’t get over my pride. Before getting married, Mr. Rocque and I decided to have a joint account in addition to our own separate accounts so we didn’t have to always check in with each other whenever we wanted to buy something, but as a “housewife” I’d pretty much be getting an allowance, a notion I’ve always hated even when I was a kid and legally couldn’t work.
We took vows of support for better or for worse and while my situation isn’t really the worst, it makes me feel sad, helpless and stuck because aside from no financial freedom I think he’d eventually resent me. I’m probably exaggerating this much more than it should be but just can’t get over myself at the moment. I could always take a brief hiatus until I figure out what’s next but the allure of pulling my own weight and contributing to my personal rainy day fund won’t let me let me jump. I’m close to being forced into the direction I don’t want to go, which is an even worse thought, but I digress.
This story is still developing.
What would you do in my situation? Do “housewives” get a bad rep?
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.