A few days ago I met with a stranger. I call him that because even though we’re acquainted, and he seems to know ALL about me, he really doesn’t know anything beyond what he chooses to see. Which happens to be a housewife. Yes the type of woman with no ambition in life beyond waking up and seeing to the house, kids, cooking and cleaning. The uneducated woman who could not possibly have an intellectual thing to say or who obviously doesn’t get out much because you know, who’s going to see that the pots are all shiny or “Will my trackpants be ok to wear to a fancy restaurant?”
Then, stranger gives me a word of advice that I’ve grown seriously tired of hearing especially from people who don’t know me. “You’re still young, you really should further your education.” I hold my breath for a brief moment, mainly so the ninjas don’t come flying out my mouth and karate chop his presumptuousness. *Note to self* I have to keep these ninjas locked away in a cage. “Lord please help me so I won’t lose my cool.” I pray before I respond. At first I smile and try to listen and follow the conversation but I can’t. He lost me at my supposed lack of education. You know, because I’m just a housewife. We can’t concentrate either, I find. “Well actually I am studying towards an English Language and Literature Diploma.” I say but the conversation ends. Either because of interruption or the undercurrent rippling in the air. I’m not quite sure, but it’s stifling I tell ya.
He doesn’t know what I did for a living before becoming a housewife. What qualifications I have. My mad skills (yes I have some of those in my bag of tricks). Why exactly I am a housewife now. How I prefer my coffee. He doesn’t know how I’ve been struggling to find a decent paying job or the countless interviews I’ve been to. Of which NOT ONE of the companies found it important enough to advise me that I was unsuccessful. There are just so many things he and so many others don’t know because all they choose to see is a housewife who drops her kids at school everyday and dutifully collects them. They don’t see the misery behind it all. The times I ugly cried because the situation has made me feel hopeless and worthless.
What they do see is the woman who takes pride in her appearance and smiles when all she feels like is curling in a ball and shutting the world out. The latter they’ll never suspect. They see a positive and upbeat woman. A woman who is satisfied with being a homemaker and, in their opinion, wasting her life. A woman who has time to waste everyday and for all they know spends it on her phone texting and lazing around because she has nothing better to do after the cleaning has been done and the food cooked.
What they would know if they were actually interested in knowing the woman, they’d find that in spite of herself and her circumstances chooses to have faith and believe in things not yet seen. She gets up every morning with a grateful heart because she’s been given the gift of life for another day. In moments of darkness she takes a deep breath and carries on. She sees the glass half full and not just for the heck of it. She’ll tell you that it’s half full because in any situation or aspect of our lives there’s always room for improvement. She started her own business and works hard at establishing her business at making a name for herself. Unless you ask, she won’t volunteer any of the information to you. She’s long past the point of seeking validation from people. She knows who she is and what she brings to the table. I’m proud to say that I know her and I know her well.
What she really wants the world to know is that being a housewife is not for the faint hearted. Finances and affordability aside, it’s not up every womans alley to become a housewife. She still doesn’t feel comfortable with the role and regularly takes her hat off to those women who conquers it every day. Life is not about housewives vs working moms (or any professionals) and seeing who can do things better. We’re all women as well as individuals and each one has something unique to offer. Some circumstances are beyond our control and it forces some to be home and wait it out. Waiting and searching for opportunities. Some days are easy while others make you want to climb the walls.
All in all, housewives are people too. They have their own ambitions. Whether or not they choose to embrace it and enjoy that lifestyle don’t assume you know better or live better because their life doesn’t match your idea of how life should be lived. You don’t have to know someone or fully understand something to respect it. There is always a story and right now this is mine.
What is your story?