Learn From a Trial Attorney’s Struggles with Homemaking
The truth is that no matter what your job you can experience feelings of doubt, fear, exhaustion and failure. This is particularly true if you are subjecting yourself to unreasonable stress due to taking on responsibility beyond your experience level without guidance or mentorship. Homemaking is no exception.
After working as an attorney for 6 years and slowly improving my skills and expanding my responsibilities, I began to achieve some success as a trial attorney. Naturally, after much sacrifice to pursue my legal career, I decided to become a full time homemaker.
It was a shock to me when I began failing hard and fast in this new full time role. While my mother always worked, some of my aunts were full time homemakers and my grandmothers were. In just one generation had these skills been so far lost, or was I just incompetent? Finally, I realized that just like everything else in life, there is a learning curve to being and feeling successful.
Now, as I continue to grow in my homemaking journey, I am hoping to encourage anyone who may find themselves struggling. I am still learning but I have accepted this process now and things are moving much more smoothly. Here are some lessons from my first year as a homemaker:
Homemaking is Not Easy
Homemaking requires skill and forethought. If you think you already know how to raise kids and clean the house, these misconceptions may lead you into a state of being overwhelmed and confused. Before this year of being a full time homemaker, I was blissfully unaware of just how incredibly difficult homemaking is.
If you are reading this article it is probably because you are a homemaker or you are considering doing it full time. Being a full time homemaker has been such a blessing that helped me to grow as a person and has also benefited my family.
I wholeheartedly recommend becoming a full time homemaker if you are considering it and I do not mean for this article to deter anyone from becoming a full time homemaker.
Still, despite having a strong conviction to make the transition from full time lawyer to homemaker, I have had many occasions over the past year where I thought about going back to work.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to go through the hills and valleys of homemaking so that you can truly get a sense of things before making any permanent career decisions.
I would even say stick with full time homemaking until you have reached a particular level of success before making any major changes, so that you are making deliberate decisions based upon wants and not because you feel it is too hard.
I truly believe we can all become the homemakers we admire but we have to give ourselves the time to grow into them.
While I do not mean to discourage anyone, it is important to discuss some of the challenges of homemaking so that you can set reasonable expectations and give yourself appropriate milestones to meet in order to avoid unnecessary strife.
The Challenges of Being a Full Time Homemaker And How to Make Life Easier
Without defined roles, responsibilities or hours the work life of a homemaker is endless.
When you have a career outside of the home your work hours and responsibilities are clearly defined as well as what the expectation is for your performance in your role.
When you are a full time homemaker creating proper boundaries around the expectations of your responsibilities are important to alleviate unnecessary conflict and stress.
While this sounds simple, it is proven to be a complicated task.
Always on Call
While it may be equitable for homemakers to work the same hours as their spouse and all else will be split, the reality is that this is difficult to accomplish for most.
For example, if you have a child that wakes during the night, this responsibility likely falls onto the homemaker because the spouse working outside the home has to get rest.
In addition, if your spouse’s career is emotionally or physically demanding they may validly need some time to decompress alone or time to properly prepare for work in the morning without other responsibilities.
As the homemaker, you are providing proper support for your spouses successful career. This is understandable but leaves little time for the homemaker to accomplish self care tasks that are imperative to the homemakers health.
Sometimes merely verbalizing the values, efforts and appreciation for both spouses efforts in achieving overall success of the household will be enough to secure a positive mindset when the work feels endless.
Another option is to set up a specific day and time that provides the homemaker with time to decompress or properly prepare for the next week of work without interruption. Now, it is the homemakers responsibility to actually use this designated time for self care tasks and not to continue their work for the household.
Another way to accomplish this is to be sure that your children’s nap time is not time used to accomplish tasks for the house and instead is a proper lunch break to decompress, take the time to focus on your personal health goals or a hobby.
Homemakers need to make sure they take time to themselves as time invested in their self development is inextricable to the overall success of the household, you’re a very important member after all!
Jack of all Trades
Each and every household thrives a bit differently and sometimes individual family members will have unique needs that need to be met. Because of this it is not realistic to think there is a cookie cutter set of responsibilities for every single homemaker.
It is important to state that being a full time homemaker does not mean that you bear the sole responsibility of the success of the household or its occupants. You are an important part of the stability and overall health of the household but you are merely providing a foundation, identifying areas to improve upon and making appropriate changes as needed. There is no such thing as perfection and if everything were already perfect how boring our lives would be!
Remember to rely on your partner, communicate with them so they are a part of the household decision making so that you do not feel overburdened or alone in your responsibilities. Ultimately, the tasks that you manage or oversee should help the family get through the week more smoothly and provide a safe and warm atmosphere for the family to thrive. Still, each and every member of the family has a responsibility to help with the household.
Also, just because you are a homemaker does not mean that you cannot outsource services or get help from others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and if your family can afford to outsource some tasks that you would prefer not to do or have difficulty with, there is no shame in doing this. Companies hire consultants and subcontractors all the time, homemaking offers those same options.
Another challenge to homemaking is that there are little to no external incentives to help inspire motivation and innovation. Completing the same tasks day in and day out can be monotonous as well. Keeping in touch with like minded homemakers who are more experienced is a great way to stay motivated and learn new ways to improve the daily life of your household. Also, checking in with your spouse and family members for their input helps to keep you on track.
The best way to self motivate when there are limited external incentives is to remember the reason why you are choosing to be a homemaker. Keeping your values, goals and the benefits of homemaking in mind help to foster appreciation for taking on such a demanding role.
Why be a Homemaker?
There are many reasons why a family will choose to have one parent act as a full time homemaker. There are financial incentives to avoid sending multiple children to daycare. Having one parent stay home might make sense if both parents’ careers are so demanding that no one would have time for the children if both parents worked. There might be certain educational, emotional needs, or it is a life goal to have one spouse be a homemaker.
The reasons for choosing any particular lifestyle are personal to you, you have to search within yourself and discuss with your partner why you are choosing this path. With your values and goals clearly dictated, it will help to bring more clarity, motivation and organization to the household roles. Good luck on your journey, it is worth it!