Certain realizations hit you much harder than others. Realizing your crush has graduated to a commitment? That’s a firm little love tap. Realizing no one’s coming to your party? That’s a quick elbow to the gut.
Realizing you may have gone from a career woman to a freakin’ housewife in a matter of a few short months, despite years and years of rolling your eyes at pie-baking and baby-making? Well, as I’ve discovered, that’s one heavy-handed blow right there.
When my husband took a job in Boston, the fate of my career immediately became a concern. As news traveled, colleagues and friends wanted to know what I would be doing. Had I found anything yet? Where was I looking? Did I need a contact at this newspaper or this magazine or that website?
Nothing was registering even a flicker of enthusiasm. So, rather than take another job, I decided to take a break, a six-month break, to figure things out.
And, that’s why I recently found myself scrolling through my Instagram account, that social media app entirely based on your own pictures, wondering when in the hell my life turned into something out of my mom’s old Family Circle magazines.
There they were: shots of stockings hung with care; beautiful bedding; Thanksgiving table settings; and, yes, ladies and gentlemen, before and after shots of a homemade apple pie.
I nearly fell to my knees a la Ritchie Valens’ brother in the cinematic treasure “La Bamba,” crying out, not for the fallen ’50s pop singer, but for my career. Never one for drama, though, I instead looked out the nearest window with a single tear racing down one side of my face. Then, wiped it away with the hem of my apron, which spurred only more tears.
It’s been mentioned before that I grew up in Utah, housewife headquarters. College, for so many of my female peers, was merely a husband hunt. These women went on to marry, have kids and make the kind of homes that smell like a lovely blend of Pine-Sol, scented candles and something made from scratch. I knew very early on this was not the life I wanted.
Guess what my condominium now smells like? That’s right. All my plans to avoid this kind of life have led me right smack dab in the middle of it.
I’m the woman who prepares her husband coffee every morning, with generous hazelnut creamer and a heaping teaspoon of Truvia, just the way he likes it. I walk through grocery stores at times my former colleagues are tapping away at keyboards. My new deadline is the time my husband arrives from work after a sometimes 12-hour shift, well-deserving of a hot dinner and a clean condo.
It might bear a strong resemblance to the Holly Homemaker life I so dreaded, but it’s also what freedom and luxury look like at this time in my life.
The choice to take a break was all mine. Having a choice is liberating, but having the means to make that choice a reality is a luxury. Just ask Holly Homemaker.
Preparing the coffee every morning is something I want to do. The same goes for cooking a hot meal and cleaning our condo. None of it is performed with a grudge, rather with gratitude.
To be able to check out of the ol’ 9-to-5 grind to do some self-digging and, hopefully, find a new direction is afforded by one thing: my husband’s devotion to the ol’ 9-to-5 grind.
However, I’m no housewife. Even if perfecting pies and coming up with a solution to the most stubborn of stains was my life’s work, which it definitely is not, I wouldn’t be cool with that title. It sounds like there’s something confining the wife and holding her to her house duties. As if an ankle monitor will sound if she travels beyond the grocery store.
Stay-at-home mom doesn’t work, either. Unless you count my dog, and no one except yours truly counts my dog, I’m no mom. That’s why I prefer stay-at-home creative. Or stay-at-home destined mastermind. Or, as demonstrated here, stay-at-home title beautician.
In other words, the “housework” is the least I can do right now. But it’s not anywhere near the most I can do.
And that realization feels like a nice, hard slap to my insecurities. It doesn’t matter what my life looks like, it matters what it means.
Now, I’m eagerly awaiting the realization of the “most I can do” to hit me and hit me hard.
Contact Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.