Monday, February 28, 2011

Staying At Home the Feminist Way

There's a myth that that only productive way a stay-at-home girlfriend, wife, or mother can spend her day is by taking care of the housework, cooking dinner, and preparing herself for sex with her loved one - otherwise, she's just sitting on her ass, watching TV, eating bonbons - or going out, having lunch with the girls, and going shopping all day. That assumption stems from the idea that cleaning is the only way a woman can be productive if she's not working, and it's perpetuated as a way to keep non-working women spending the majority of their energy catering to the working man of the house. And while taking care of those things to some extent is responsible and helpful, there are other ways to spend that free time. So, inspired by the god-awful article in Brokelyn about how to be a stay-at-home girlfriend, this is the more empowered way for an unemployed woman to spend her days.

If you're looking for a job, that job search should be a full-time job in itself, or at least close to that. Wake up at roughly the same time you would if you were working, get to the computer, and look for job openings, send resumes, maybe even make some phone calls. But that's not all! Set aside some time during the day to increase your desirability as a job applicant. Learn a new language or other work-related skill, read some nonfiction, maybe even take a class or two at a community college or Learning Annex to gain some new skills (if you can afford it).

Find a hobby that's fun for you and only you, and something that primarily benefits you. Baking and knitting are nice, but avoid only doing those things for others. Find something relaxing, fun, and something that can enrich your life for the better. The more you do for your own enjoyment, the happier you will be - no matter what anyone says, your happiness is NOT a waste of time.

Remember, a job should be something fulfilling, and something you love doing. At least, that's what one should aspire to. Yes, the "man of the house" may be working in a job that makes him miserable just so he can bring home a paycheck, but that doesn't mean you need to work yourself into a stressful mess too! And if he doesn't like his job, he should be encouraged to be looking for a job that does make him happy. BOTH of you should make the goal of finding fulfilling jobs and activities that make you happy and enrich your lives.

Exercise! Try to find a half hour, and take a walk or jog, or do some calisthenics or toning moves in the living room. Don't do it to look good for a guy, don't do it because it's some mortal sin to "let yourself go," do it to be healthy! Sitting around all day is an easy habit for anyone staying at home all day to fall into, so avoid it by taking a little time each day to be active.

DO be responsible. You don't need to clean the whole house every day, but it does make sense to pull your own weight in terms of housework. At the very least, find one chore that needs tackling and do that. A little housework does relieve stress, and can even constitute as exercise. If nothing else, it could be a welcome break from sitting at the computer looking for jobs all day.

While it makes sense to take care of a little mundane housework during the day to keep the house or apartment from becoming a huge mess, no woman should have to spend her whole day being a "good girlfriend," with every activity done with the end goal being to please a man. Instead, remember that you're a human being too, and most of your day should be done with you in mind - your happiness, your future, and your well-being.

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