And what do YOU do?

It’s a question I get a lot.

We’ve been in Hattiesburg for a year now (wow, time flies!) and we are constantly meeting new people.  The conversation usually begins with “what brought you to Hattiesburg?” which leads to talk about Geoff’s job and what he does at the university.  And I know the question is coming so I’m usually already thinking about how I’m going to answer it this time.

I love being a homemaker.  Honestly, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.  I enjoy the art of domesticity.  I have never ever had I job that I loved.  I didn’t live to work. I worked to live.  But at the same time I am proud of my accomplishments, both educationally and professionally.

So when someone asks me what I do I am often perplexed as to what to say.  Of course I say I’m a homemaker but sometimes I feel like I need to follow it up with a “but…” like “but I have my master’s degree in library science” or “but I used to be a medical librarian” or “but I used to work in academia, too.”

Usually when a woman my age (33) leaves her career it’s because she is starting a family.  But that wasn’t the case for me.  So sometimes I feel like I need to justify my decision or make it clear that I’m not lazy and I certainly don’t sit around all day eating bonbons (though I do admit that would be nice!).  And yes, someday we would love to start a family, but for now I am happy practicing keeping house (I say practicing because by no means do I feel I’m an expert yet!).

Of course, being a homemaker does have its perks.  Namely, more free time.  And because of that I’m knitting a lot more than I used to.  And now I have the time to learn new things like crochet (woo hoo!) and quilting.  And my plan is to one day make a little money doing these things that I love.  Making my own schedule.  Being my own boss.

So perhaps all of this uncertainty about how I present myself to others is because I feel like maybe I’m in some sort of limbo.  Caught somewhere between career woman and artisan; between corner office and studio.

Whatever the case may be, I still don’t know how to answer that goddamned question.

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8 thoughts on “And what do YOU do?

  1. I had a friend once tell me that when she tells people that she doesn’t work outside the home, the conversation abruptly ends. Unfortunately, that’s a reality.

    You sound very accomplished, and even if you didn’t have those degrees there is no reason for you to have to justify your situation.

    I am glad you are doing what you love!

  2. You could say, “until recently, I was a medical librarian; now I supervise our dogs and the home renovation!” I find a breezy joke answer to an awkward question usually does the trick. Like… er… Well, I can’t think of one right now. Or you could just be honest and if they think you’re lazy, then that’s not your fault.

  3. Someone I can finally relate too! I recently went to part time, and even though I am working 3 days a week, the other two I stay at home… working in the garden, cooking.. enjoying keeping our house a home. It’s refreshing to find someone else that enjoys being at home and not because we have little ones to look after! 🙂

  4. It doesn’t end when you have kids. They still give you that look or the conversation lulls. I joke that I was a nurse in my former life, but really I love being at home.

  5. I agree with Milli. Having kids doesn’t prevent the question from being asked. It’s like we don’t exist if we don’t get paid for what we do. But *you* know the benefits of being at home and that’s all that matters.

  6. I have a similar dread to this question. I do have kids, and it’s still a conversation killer. Or people just want to talk about child-rearing, which is fine, sometimes, but if I’m out with adults it’s usually to NOT think about my dear little ones for few hours.
    You could just laugh and start talking about how isn’t it funny that our current calculation of GDP doesn’t consider the work of people who clean their own houses, cook their own food, care for their own sick relatives, etc, but can only count those who choose to hire another person to do it (not trying to sound negative about those who need to/choose to hire those things out).
    I find it’s really hard to feel like you don’t need to justify it, even when you know you don’t.

  7. I hate getting asked this. Our daughter is four and I have been home with her for the past four years. I love it. People should remember this is what I do and quit asking me what I’m doing these days. Of course with a kid usually their response is it’s so great you are staying home with your child – which it is.

    I still hate to answer the question though. I always tell people that I work more now that I ever did at a job and I have the most demanding boss now. LOL.

  8. so, i know it’s been a while since you posted this. just jumped on your site in a few free minutes to see what you’re up to and since i’m so anal…had to go back to the last post i’d written. i am so happy for you that you have found this state of being that you love. you KNOW that i KNOW this is where your heart is and all i ever wanted for you was to be happy…even though we had a rocky go in the professional world for a while…yeah, let’s keep all your readers guessing with what i am talking about! i miss my friend…i miss you. i am just so happy you’ve found the spot you were always looking for. hugs, liz

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