Confessions of a Terrible Housewife

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Expectations Have Changed

When you're a full-time homemaker, just being a mom and running your household isn't enough anymore -- there's all this other stuff that your husband, your school, your community, your working friends, and your mother-in-law expect you to do. You've got the time, they figure. You're not working, right?

As far as I can see, SAHMs pick up the slack (and the dry cleaning) for a lot of people. Moms on the PTA practically run the education system, for heaven's sake! I don't know how they do it. I find it overwhelming, and I've only got one kid.

When I went to an office job, I managed to get the laundry done and dinner on the table. But now that I have all day long, the drudgery seems to expand to fill the time available. The piles of laundry are endless, getting meals together is exhausting, and keeping the house in some sort of order is practically impossible. I'm sure it's psychological. I'm not feeling engaged so I'm not able to be efficient. There's no work-life balance. And since I'm doing a crappy job I feel permanently frustrated. As my family can tell you, I'm yelling a lot more.

So, no -- becoming a SAHM didn't exactly turn me into the serene domestic goddess my husband envisioned the day I got laid off. Case in point: the chicken incident. It was my second week at home and I thought, what says "oasis" better than a roast chicken? And I wasn't going to make just any roast chicken, but the most succulent, amazing homecooked roast chicken my husband had ever tasted. I devoted the day to it and totally outdid myself. Or so I thought.

That night, when my husband did not acknowledge the chicken's amazingness, I was livid. "I made you dinner," I said through gritted teeth. "I cooked."

"It's good," he grunted, cluelessly.

I was sweaty, grumpy, annoyed, and in need of a lot of praise. This wasn't so much a chicken as it was a cry for help, a huge "Notice Me!" sign, and silly man, he just...ate it. In a moment of high domestic drama, I picked up the bird and, well, you remember the rest.

I know, I'm a drama queen and a big whiner. I can hear you saying, "Get over yourself! You can't possibly be spending every minute of your day shopping and cleaning and trying to cook. Make the time to do something else! Charity work! Help out at your son's school! Take cooking lessons if you can't cook. Blog!" And I'm starting to do all that. I'm getting there.

All I'm saying, I guess, is that this is a huge adjustment. I worked hard at my office job. And I'm sure my experience has a lot to do with how pathetic I am at homemaking. But I almost feel like, before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I never really worked a day in my life.

When she's not throwing poultry at her husband, Barrie Gillies spends much of her time picking Legos out of the laundry.

 

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