Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'm Not Wonder Woman

Sitting at my office desk, feeling my life-blood draining out of me day after day, I used to wistfully dream about living in the 1800s. Back when women were expected to be at home, not looked down upon for making that choice. What joy to spend my days in pursuit of taking care of those I loved! To not have to spend three hours a day fighting traffic! To not have to come home dead-tired and try to come up with a nutritious dinner to serve my husband so we wouldn't go out for fast food once again. (Often, it was:"What will it be, Honey...cold cereal or spaghetti?") To not always be so tired that we ended up planted on the couch in front of the television for three hours every night (talk about life-blood draining!) To not have to spend all weekend cleaning and grocery shopping because that was the only time I had energy to do it. To not actually hope that I would get sick so that I could have a day at home. To not skip church more often than not because it took half the weekend and I was so protective of and selfish with the little bit of time I did have to spend with my husband. To not dread my weekdays like the specter of death.

I'm not over-exaggerating here! That was seriously how I felt trying to be wife, homemaker and full-time employee at once. I was in constant wonderment at how many women added children on top of that and stayed sane. Maybe you're Wonder Woman and can do it all. Maybe you work outside the home, always have a clean house and good meals, are still able to always be there for your family when they need you, and still get enough time to rest. That wasn't me. I guess I'm not skilled in the arts of Wonder Woman-ness. I simply know what's most important to me and where my heart is...and it's not in the office.

Now...about the 1800's...many people pointed out to me that those weren't perfect times either. The more I thought about it, I decided I'm glad I don't live back when there was considerably more disease and less sanitation. I like my daily shower and deoderant stick, thank you. But that doesn't mean we have to throw out the good things with the less desirable aspects of that century.

In the heights of my agony about trying to do it all, I wrote the following (I share this, hoping you understand that this was simply how I felt. I'm not in any way implying that this is how all women feel):

A Young Woman Resents (Apt title!)

Oh, if you could see us now in these "rooms of our own." Actually...I'm not sure I would term them as rooms...they are boxes. The are formed by little felt-covered boards bolted together with hardly a thought to comfort or ambiance.

Some of us try to cheer up the dreary little interiors of our "rooms" with tacky knick-knacks or anemic ferns and houseplants. One can only feel pity for these poor little plants, which have been asked to grow and bloom--not towards the life-giving sun, but against the harsh flickering glare of the flourescent light. Radience and color is short-lived in such a place as this.

Having inherited this room--so long promised and lauded as the thing which would give me freedom and meaning and purpose, I am feeling a bit let down. Actually, I am feeling severely cheated. This is not so much freedom as it is imprisonment. No longer can I wake with the knowledge that my day is mine, and will be spent learning, growing, working with my heart and spirit and enjoying the freedom of my choice. day is dicated by others, by the clock, and by the stark boundaries of my box.

Since the beginning of this year, I have finally been able to live my dream of being home! I LOVE it, though I still occasionally feel a twinge of dread, as if someone is going to drag me back to prison. I'm not saying everything is perfect. In fact, I often feel wholly inadequate to be a good wife and homemaker. There is so much to takes such a level of skill...that I know I will be spending the rest of my life trying to get it right! (Unlike the office, where I experienced an unsurpassed level of tedium.)

And no...we are not rich. In fact, we have a high level of debt due to past poor choices. That is why I am working on starting a home business. (I'm not Wonder Entrepreneur, either, and it will take a lot of work developing discipline to actually get this thing going smoothly...but oh! The journey is still marvelous compared to my previous j-o-b's! I love the fact that my husband is my business partner, and that we can work together on this! I've asked him to hold me accountable in this process.)

Something else I will mention...we are making it. We're still not making more than we need, but we are squeaking by:o) I quit my job, not being sure of how it would work out. But Micah's work load picked up considerably about that same time. Coincidence?

We are also learning valuable lessons about frugality. Wives, if you want to stay home, you may have to make sacrifices. You may not be able to buy that new furniture. But God will still provide what you need! Micah and I have outfitted our house with mostly free and garage-sale furniture and we like our little home. It's well-beyond sufficient for our needs, and it has a lot of "character" (which show-room furniture usually won't provide:o). I have had virtually the same wardrobe for the past five years (and am thoroughly sick of it, by the way!), but I have recently decided that I may be able to update it with very little if I take the time to really work at finding deals and perhaps learning to sew. We may not be able to eat out at fancy restaurants, but we can still take that picnic to the park on a nice breezy day. And wives...being home, you will actually have time to put into your home and that not better than all the money can buy? My husband loved the meal I made him for Valentines Day, and thought it was just as good as our favorite expensive restaurant! He loved it that I took the time to make it for him:o)

Creativity makes up for feelings of deprivation. And, also, makes for an unlimited amount of skills and ideas that may be learned! I am really just starting this journey and have SO much to work on. I may not be worth my salts as a homemaker and entrepreneur...yet! But I thank God for a patient husband. And I can tell you...whatever we have sacrificed thus far has been worth it, for the direction that our household is now pursuing. "Things" are but rubbish compared to the everlasting influence we women can have upon our families and our communities when we have time.


Blogger Becky Miller said...

I linked to this...thanks for sharing your thoughts! I am so happy for you that you get to focus on your husband and your home.

12:18 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Awesome post Erin! BTW, I'm glad you're home too because now you blog more! (o;

1:34 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Happy Homemaker said...

What kind of home buisness are you trying to start?

3:18 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. B- somedays I must work on not blogging too much and neglecting other things!;o)

Happy homemaker- I love to write and I love books. (Evidenced by the fact that I was an English major in college;o) We are working towards being able to sell resources, and maybe even write some of our own, on some of the topics we have an interest and experience in. We also have some other ideas still in progress:o) Once we actually "open up shop", so to speak, I'm positive I will be able to be more forthcoming about exactly what we're doing! For one thing, I would love to be able to encourage other women to pursue a home business if their husband needs their help in that way.

4:00 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Samantha said...

This was a wonderful post. Thank you for putting into words what so many women are feeling. So many women feel guilty because they just can't keep up with everything, and they are constantly being told they should be able to! The Lord is really working through you Erin!

8:23 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Rachel said...

Lovely post! And I really liked Becky Miller's post on her feelings as well. It's so true that when working full-time it's hard to fit all the "expected" things in.

Thankfully I've not had to work full-time since getting married. I've done part time work as a casual childcare worker and taught piano lessons a few hours each week which left me with extra time to do housework and do all those wifely things on those days since piano lessons don't take all day. I also have been blessed to volunteer in our churches creche for craft mornings and at our local mission agency. If I'd had to work full-time I really would have missed out on those blessings not to mention my poor DH....I wuld've been a tired, grumpy mess most evenings!

Anyway, it's nice to hear of other women out there thinking this way. Our churches seem to be filled with women who work full time regardless of whether they're married or not and they don't seem very happy.

12:34 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

GREAT post, Erin! I'm so happy that being home is working out well for you and that you are making it financially. :) Somewhere I heard the quote, "Where God guides, He provides." It's so awesome to see it happen! I have been so blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home-wife and now a stay-at-home-mommy. There are definitely many challenges that go along with it (my biggest one is making wise use of my time), but it is SO worth it to be able to put my heart and time into this wonderful role that God has given me.

10:05 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Frugal Homemaker said...

Thank you for this post. I'm a homemaker but I don't have children. Sometimes I feel alone in staying at home. SAHM's at least have the somewhat socially acceptable reason of children to offer, where I had nothing other than "I hated my life in the office."

But why can't that be a reason as well? I'm glad to be a stay at home wife, and it has been such a blessing.

10:09 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger BessieJoy said...

This is wonderful! May God bless you richly! I know you will be able to bless many through your home!

8:16 AM, March 16, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Ok Erin, I did it! I now have a blog and I linked to you, so maybe you can link to me? Come check it out at

Thanks! (o:

8:36 PM, March 16, 2006  
Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

No one woman -- no human being -- should feel she has to be Wonder Woman and do it all. I refuse to set myself up for that kind of failure. I suspect that our choices our flip sides of the same insight. Congratulations on your choice.

1:25 PM, March 17, 2006  

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