Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Housewife

Posted in: , , ,

I'll use my personal experience here. I wrote about changing careers after marriage and how I had to move from the UK to the US to join Atala. Making that step was not a simple, light-hearted decision, or one that we took for granted. And that was why I said at the beginning of this article that contrary to most other women, I planned to be a housewife.

We had several conversations about the issue, and contemplated several scenarios, which apart from the option of living in the US together, included Atala moving back to the UK, both of us moving back to Nigeria, only me moving back, or remaining in the UK. None made as much sense as the one we finally went with, moving here and being a stay at home wife.

And though we didn't think it would take this long, a stay at home wife is what I've been for the past few years, and that is the easy part. For the stay home mom, the workload increases exponentially with each child. Add child care to the housework, and you may be working round the clock, especially if you decide to home-school the children. So what should you consider before you jump in?


1. WHY ARE YOU STAYING HOME?: The most important thing IMHO is to know why you're making the particular decision to be a stay at home wife. First and foremost, it must be because you want to, not because of what people expect of you. You should decide this only after discussing with your husband. Being a stay at home wife is a role that comes with responsibilities.

Society does not call it a job because there's no paycheck, but be sure you'll almost always have a full plate. With just the two of us, I plan the meals, do most of the cooking, cleaning and dusting, running miscellaneous errands, and doing some of the yard work. Some women also do the grocery shopping alone, as well as the dishes, and more.

2. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE OUTLOOK?: The second is, can you be a housewife without going out of your mind? Not every personality may be able to do it, and do it in a way that retains the advantages, (which I'll list soon). If you are outgoing, and always need other people around you to feel energized, being a housewife will bore you numb.

Also, if you're someone whose baggage - and we all have them - means you need your own income to feel fulfilled or esteemed, being a housewife may kill your self-esteem. Also, how much can you bear housework? Some people take joy in various house chores, for others, it sucks out their soul in little installments.

3. WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCES?: Can you afford to be a stay at home wife or mother? Not all families can afford to have only one person earn the income to take care of the other, and children if they are in the picture. The economy is tight, and the cost of living keeps going up every day. Before any couple decide for one to stay home, they should make a financial analysis.

For instance, how much does the person who will keep working make, and how much is the savings after their monthly expenses? How much does the stay at home wife think she'll need for personal expenses in the same period? Is she willing to do without a Fendi bag or two, and is the husband willing to do without a new car every other year?

4. FIND YOUR BALANCE: Staying at home may not be a job, but it is work. It takes a lot of time, effort, mindset and will cost you the money you may be able to earn outside the home. However, it provides an invaluable service to the family, making sure it is in tip-top shape and being able to host guests without too much trouble. In addition, without corporate politics to sap my will, I am able to do my work on this blog and be creative about other ventures.

Also, I am always there when Atala returns and except for the few times I have my own stress to offload, can offer an undistracted listening ear. I probably cannot quantify how much that helps our relationship. I have time to focus on home completely, and as we're about to become foster/adopt parents, that will be the case as well with the children.

5. BE PREPARED: I have been talking of the internal considerations, within you and between you and your husband. The other angles you have to know of are more complicated. There is a lot of bias against being a housewife and some will not think twice before they lay into you, as being lazy, a leech, and what have you.

A financial aspect to this is if the couple had been sending money to their respective families, and then they reduce this significantly, there may be a blowback against the wife. Some people will also take advantage of the fact that you are always at home to call and visit all the time, forgetting that you actually have stuff to do, or that you're trying to save and may not have enough for guests.

Finally, some argue that housewives should be paid by their husbands to reflect this work, after all, childminders and cleaners are paid to do the same work. Atala and I agreed even before the marriage to run a joint savings account where all earnings go into, his salary being the lion share of course, and at the end of each month, we each get a personal allowance from it. In essence, I believe this is something that should be worked out between the couple.

Are there any other housewives reading, or your mum or someone you know? What have I left out?







50 comments:

  1. Yes women should not only decide to become housewives after discussing with their husbands and agreeing but also know what they are in for. Some men just force their wives to give up their jobs and lives when they get married.
    I like this you and Atala's arrangement of having a joint account and paying yourselves from it every month. Its so cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not support men who force their wives to leave their jobs. Any man who does that when a woman is loudly saying she doesn't want to, may not be the best choice.

      Delete
  2. Well written.. Love it

    Sbabzy.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow... Myne... I think you have a good heart and I'm sensing you are a very calm person. I can't be a full time house wife. I just don't think I can. You already struck my chances of being one with this statement.

    "If you are outgoing, and always need other people around you to feel energized, being a housewife will bore you numb."

    He'll come back home the first day and meet me with swollen eyes. I can have a store or something by the side. Something that will take me out of the house even if it's just for a few hours each day.

    Mehn, I can't o. I just KENT.

    I'm looking forward to reading from other house wives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no sugar coating it. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons and one just have to learn to choose, and like what do.

      Delete
    2. Lol @ 'I just KENT.' Yeah, it's not for everyone. I did it at two separate points in my marriage - before kids and after we had our first child. The first time was uber-boring and I tried all sorts of things to keep busy. I finally ended up getting a job, but quit after I had my daughter. The second time was actually really fun because I had my child with me and I relished the time I had with her - seeing her say her first words, take first steps, being the one to tell her Dad all the new things she was doing. In the end, finances dictated that I had to work and so I've worked since then. I didn't have that same opportunity with my son as I went back to work two months after having him, and I miss that. It's definitely not for everyone, but having something creative by the side - business, writing, etc. definitely ups the enjoyment factor.

      Delete
    3. It definitely does. Thanks for sharing, Onyih.

      Delete
  4. I squealed when I got to No. 4!! You're about to become parents, YAY! Congrats and all the best with that. I look forward to reading about your parenting experiences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear. It takes a long time o that's why I'm saying it silently, but I'll soon be blogging about it.

      Delete
    2. my exact reaction. i can't wait. Mummy myne :)

      Delete
    3. Congratulations, Myne. I can already tell it's going to be an exciting experience. Warm regards.

      Delete
    4. That was the part I honed on. Excited for you!

      Delete
  5. "and as we're about to become foster/adopt parents". Ah!!! Aunty Myne, how can you hide something like this in a full paragraph?! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! So excited for you and Atala!!!

    As for me, I know I can never become a housewife. It will take something extraordinary sef to marry. And now housewife too? I cannot. I just can't. I don't know that I can trust a man with my self-esteem (tied to being able to financially take care of myself)like that abeg. So before I buy anything, I have to ask him or in some form or shape take money from 'Daddy'? I cannot o!. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, daddy. Well it doesn't have to be every time. I never have to when buying personal items, but certainly anything to do the house or home.

      Delete
  6. I've gotten to this point in my life...and i am taking notes and re-questioning reasons behind my wanting to work from home. Three years ago, i wouldn't have bothered.

    I think i've checked nos 1-4 except for that last point! How prepared am I? I dunno.

    Congratulations, Myne darling. Any child will be proud have ypu and A as parents...xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Hazel. I hope your decisions work out well for you and your family.

      Delete
  7. No 2 did it for me.I desperately need my income for the sake of my self esteem&the fact I can decide to upgrade my ticket to business when my husband can only afford economy...this makes me happy from within
    Thanks for sharin.I gained from this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. But hey, will you also upgrade for your hubby or he'll be in coach and you in business? LOL...

      Delete
  8. Yay!!!! *ear to ear smile on display here*
    Congrats to Myne and Atala, as you become parents.
    I've been hailing you in my mind about the number of blog posts each day. And now, you wanna add another achievement. Happy for you both. May the child bring even more love and peace into your home. Amen.

    Meanwhile, like Mstizzle said, I can't fit to stay at home. Depending on another PERSON for my every need will do serious harm to my self-esteem (I probably have insecurity issues). So, I admire you for what you're doing, Myne. But you still have your own earnings sha oh, so you aren't really a h-wife in the full sense of the word. And putting up 4 blog posts daily aint beans either.

    DrLily.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks DrLily. Indeed, I've decided to up my blogging game. Let's see if I can sustain it.

      Delete
  9. I like the clear outline and reasons within the article.

    I don't think stay at home mum is for me, I have so much projects I would like to work on and networking is crucial for me. However, based on agreement with hubby, I wouldn't mind working part time at mine own business at the birth of our children.AMEN. If possible i will work two-three days a week. Personally, I rather be a part time mum but with a busy life and income. I don't see myself becoming a stay at home mum full time except when am heavily preggie *smiles with joy*. cos the hubby has double work. ahahahahahahha xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol @ part time mum, i meant part-time worker or so.lol

      Delete
  10. Dont think ive ever known a housewife personally so for the most part this is definitely a NEW view for mw

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats Myne...so proud of you and ur hubby for the path you have chosen to parenthood. I have been thinking about that seriously as well.
    Staying home is not for everyone. there are days I wish I have more time to spend with my kids but ultimately, I love being a working mom. it stimulates my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  12. *sigh* I sometimes dream of becoming a stay at home wife! LOL... but the issues you have mentioned above.. I have considered and for now the conclusion is I should keep working! To be fair.. I only started feeling like this when work became annoying! lol before, it was far from my mind. Maybe what I need is a new job and not to be a stay at home wife.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know I've been AWOL but your 'No 4' drew me back to blogsville :)
    Here's wishing you all the best in your new 'journey'
    xxxxxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. And we're missing your blogs o :)

      Delete
  14. *singing* congratulations and jubilation, celebration...

    Congratulations on the new development. I'm so happy for our family.

    ReplyDelete
  15. :-)
    I like how well thought out your posts on 'issues' like these are.
    Congratulations and I hope the process and burecracy isn't as crazy and frustrating as it is apparently in the UK.

    I am so happy for you. Congratulations. x

    ReplyDelete
  16. You looks REALLY pretty too in the picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ani. The bureaucracy is the same here too. But we're looking forward to the end :)

      Delete
  17. Loving this post Myne. Few months after our wedding, we decided to give the housewife scenario a go, you describe me to a T when you said "being a housewife can bore you numb", boy, was I bored! This also describes my experience "Some people take joy in various house chores, for others, it sucks out their soul in little installments." Very apt :-) after a short while I begged DH to let me take the little of my soul left back to work.

    Then after the birth of my 1st, we decided to give it a go again with me having other things on the side, again after 7 months, I couldn't hack it, so went back to work, now the compromise is to work p/t. Like it or not, one cannot underestimate the advantages of being a housewife , DH thoroughly enjoyed the tantalising new recipes he came back to, a clean candle lit bedroom and much time for other things *winks*, all of which having a busy career does not give me time to explore.

    All the best with the fostering/adoption, if you're doing it in the West, I know it won't be easy so you'll be in my prayers. What wonderful news that is! I look forward to reading all about your experiences. Congratulation to you and hubby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Bukky. And we appreciate your prayers. It's not easy at all, plenty papers and processes...

      Delete
  18. So excited for you Myne and I just can't wait for the good news. As for the house wife issue, It's not in my blood and my husband would never agree to that. Remain Blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yay, Yay...did I say yay :), Congrats to you and Atala, I'm totally excited for you guys.

    This topic seems to be trending a bit these days, and I'm quite excited that it is.

    I'm taking notes...I sure need them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! LOL...thanks Jhaz.

      On this, I think it's because in the first few years of marriage, couples are still trying to work out what works for them, and their new families.

      Delete
  20. I don't classify women who work at home as full time housewives. I may be wrong but full time housewives do no earn money.

    On join accounts. I think there should be one joint account for bills etc and individual accounts. We will agree how much we pay monthly by direct debit into the joint account.

    No offence. Come on people. Would a woman keep a joint account with a reckless spender? My mum's friend got married in the UK. One day she saw 0000 in the joint account and almost ran mad. Maybe most Naija men have changed. I don't believe in only a joint account.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, some housewives don't earn money, some do though. I don't know about MOST naija men, but each of us have to start thinking, what will work FOR ME? I may write more fully on our Joint Account decision.

      Delete
  21. Congrats Myne and Atala your step, I'm 100% sure that you both we make amazing parents.

    Being Homemaker for 8 solid years now, it's not fun,But like the amazing out line stated, there are many ways to balance things out depending on agreement between the couple and ones priority.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Uju. You're right, it can be worked out well depending on the individuals involved.

      Delete
  22. Yay!!!! I am so excited for you and Atala and you just hid that very juicy and happy detail subtly. Congratulations.

    I am currently a stay-home mom and for me, it is more challenging than when I was working out of the home.I never thought it would be something I would be able to do cos staying in one place didn't use to come easy for me. Your list of things to consider is on point and very important to know why you are doing it. It shouldn't be just for the benefit of your family, it should also be a positive experience for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Okeoghene, I agree it has to be positive for the woman, otherwise the negativity rubs off on the children and other relationships around, including the marriage.

      Delete
  23. Congrats on being a parent! It must be really exciting.

    I wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home wife at all, especially if (when?) I have kids. I'd like to be able to raise them myself and not hand them over to other people all the time. Well, that's the ideal anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is indeed the ideal, and one I prefer too.

      Thanks about the parent thing, we just started the process :)

      Delete
  24. Even though I work from home writing, discovering my creative side..lol like you Myne hubby and I both decided that iIstay at home. Its not hard for me as we are both in it together and nobody has his own money ie we too have joint account and work out our expenses together. With my daughter being a stay at home mum as been very fantastic. The hubby too is his own boss so I can say he acts as a stay at home dad as well...lol... above all its a decision that has to be well thought out before embarking on. check out my new website www.secretlilies.com, No More on blogger. "winks"

    ReplyDelete
  25. very insightful, these days its almost impossible bcos of d economy, but women or rather families who are able to afford it often do well depending on the level of respect they have for each other. Love my mom for being a stay-at-home mom, it wasn't easy one bit

    wasaafrica.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Currently I'ma stay at home mum but I am looking forward to work I am one of those outgoing personalities who like being around others. I am thoroughly enjoying this experience with my 8 month old (first child) daughter and I can never compare someone else taking care of her to what I am doing right now, but I don't see myself doing it continuously. when I have other children,hubby and I plan to have my just-retired-in-her -late-50s mum come help out. That way, I trust d baby is in great hands while I work. We definitely need the second pay check. Congrats to you and Atala

    ReplyDelete

Click Post a Comment to share your thoughts, I'll love to hear from you. Thanks!

*Comments on old posts are moderated and may take sometime to be shown. That's just because I want to see them and respond to you if necessary.