Saturday, February 2, 2013

Giving up hausfrauing

I have been a full time hausfrau (h.f.) for two years now.  It started as leave from work but eventually I had to quit when it became obvious I was not planning to return any time soon.  Toodle pip windowless dusty office and giant piles of crappy correspondence.

Generally the time has gone by without much consideration of the different roles of working part time with my children in child care and being a h.f.  In some respects they are both shitty and in other respects, both good options.  You get a closer relationship with the munchkins and a slightly less crazy life if you are there to apply medicinal peas to new bumps, but you get career respect, intellectual stimulation and a healther budget if you work and parent.  Mind you, you also get to hang washing on the line at 9pm when the temperature is about 4 degrees Celcius - here's a tip - wear gloves.

Ocassionally it does hit.  About six months ago I decided to go the whole hog phone-wise.  I went to a shop to sign a contract.  Imagine the shock on the young woman's face when she asked me about my income and I said "Zero, zip, absolutely none at all", times several repetitions because the concept was a terrible struggle for her.  I had not thought of myself as indigent but if my husband hadn't been there to mention his income (and keep those sticky, button-mad monsters away from the handsets), I might not have gotten a phone at all.

In my BC (before children) life, I had no problems with buying a house, car or whatever.  The monotonous regularity of my income made me an object of delight to drooling debt providers.  Mind you, they were heady times in the financial sector.  It seemed for a while they were applying the "upright and breathing" test to debt applicants and one out of two would do. 

I think the thing that narks me most in the h.f. role is the way my husband and my opinions of myself have changed.  I think my husband forgets that I was once sharply dressed and sharp in mind.  I have such  informal, faded attire and a brain full of library book day, he has forgotten I ever looked a bit scarey and was considered so in my profession. 

I think much the same transformation has happened in my head.  As time is spent colouring-in princesses and nagging about hand washing, my confidence in my professional capacities has faded.  It becomes hard for me to remember a time when people would seek my opinion on difficult issues, rather than just whether they should wear a t-shirt under their dress today.  And that last question was really just a request to check the weather on the new phone.

So, even though it is a crappy and difficult balance to manage, I am going to attempt the part time work while motherising gig again, this time aided by the regular application of children to the schooling system.  All I need to do is get them there (come on Monday) and find some work before we are completely broke.

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