Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Like Being a Housewife

"The Camptown ladies sing this song! / Doo-dah! Doo-dah!..."

Repeat just this one part thirty-two times and then keep on doing it every ten minutes and there you have my day. But I don't mind.

What I do mind is having my lunch stolen out of the fridge by a project manager who would make ten times more than I did, or architects and engineers who would give me their personal mail to take care of on my way home from the office when I worked as a Girl Friday. I will take the beginning bars over and over of a tinkly, tinny version of Camptown Races coming out of a Little Mermaid pushy-car over being asked to lead my co-workers in a mumbling office dirge of Happy Birthday. No sirs & missuses, I don't miss working a nine to five. Not right now, anyway.

I can be contradicting. I'm a modern gal, but I actually love words like 'secretary', 'stewardess' and 'housewife'. I don't look at them as a setback as much as a throwback. I don't miss working, but I miss the work. I like to file, I like answering phones, I like to type up letters, I like to be of help. After I left, I found out that people used to come by my area just to see what I was wearing. These are the things that I miss, (as well as the people who I still meet for lunch from time to time.) But everything else; the meetings that have nothing to do with me but I'd have to be there anyway, the stolen lunches, the 'going by that mailbox on your way home?' and the taking an hour and a half to get home by bus and train in the rain - I'm only too happy to not have to deal with that. Instead, my days are filled with keeping a tiny person alive, happy, fed and dry while trying to keep on top of things like vacuuming and laundry, and then maybe try to bang out a piece of writing during naptime. And I don't mind.

Ted and I had an agreement when I found out I wasn't going back to my job; if I worked full-time, every cent of what I would make would go into daycare which we could never afford. The solution for now is for me to stay home while he works. I've been trying to find a part-time morning gig, but it's been impossible so far. Anyone that I know right now who has a job is extremely lucky. On the flipside of this beat, I know more people out of work than ever before, but my friends all sound happier than ever before. We're all broke, but there's a lot of joy going around. Not stuck behind jobs they didn't like, friends I know are daring to take chances and try out their passions. The crafty ones are making and baking things to sell while others are trying their hand at freelancing, spreading their talents word-of-mouth or handing out cards with just their names on them. The Portland job scene is dismal, but damn it if Portland isn't the champion of all things grassroots with a 'can do!' Pollyanna pluck. People are becoming their own housewives; men, women, married, single, with and without children. I think it's kind of revolutionary.

As far as Ted goes, he's working harder than he's ever worked in his life doing roughly three to four jobs in his one job, so he never really gets a minute to decompress, but we've worked that out too. We're lucky that we know how to have our separate alone time in the same house and that our daughter is pretty easy going (so far.) We're lucky to have a house.

So what's with the picture? Because while I have friends who are beating this whole bad economy thing by following their passions, mine is to pretend that I'm Catherine Denevue while entertaining an 18 month old all day. The French New Wave cinema music in my brain does wonders to drown out the repeated first few bars of Camptown Races. And I don't mind.



At 9:22 PM, Blogger Biz and/or Jordi said...

I love you West Coast Wife. I will always want to share a pony with you. Biz

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Hi Jordi,

This is my first time reading your blog, and this is absolutely fantastic! You've summed up pretty much exactly how I feel about my own unemployed stay-at-home mom situation. We, too, can't afford the daycare, so we're living low and close to the belt, and that's working out surprisingly well. Saam's baking bread every day (he even bought a 40-pound bag of flour at Costco so that he could make a new loaf every night and put weird things in it like rootbeer and green tea ice cream). Anyway, keep up the wonderful writing! Always a fan, Sarah

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Jordi or Biz said...

Thank you! I hope you're having fun with Truman - he's a peach of an elf.



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