Friday, 27 January 2012

Defining what I aim to be

Ever heard of the housewife versus career woman arguments? Those women are scary.

Accusations and put-downs fly everywhere like feathers after a pillow bursts in the middle of a pillow fight. I hadn't even gotten a page down before I stopped reading.

I didn't come up with the online identity "Career Housewife" from nothing, nor did I choose this name without considering what it says about me and what I want out of my life.

A little over a year ago someone asked me what I my highest aspiration is. Without hesitation I replied, "To be a housewife."

In this day and age I suppose no one ever gets that response and the person I was speaking with literally stared at me slack-jawed.

"It's not a career you can earn money from," I continued, "but that's what I want to do full time. I'm working hard right now to build businesses so I can become a housewife."

Just to get ahead of both sides of the debate, I am not putting down women who choose to climb the corporate ladder, nor am I saying that being a housewife is less rewarding. And please do not call me a fence sitter just because I can and will readily vouch for both sides of the fence.

I dare to speak of both sides is because I am part of both sides.

I finished university and went straight into starting a business/company with a group of friends. (Yes, I know all the arguments about doing that too but let's discuss that next time.) Because I am a founder of the company, no, I have not actually experienced climbing the corporate ladder. However, I know how it feels to keep knocking on doors and have a fancy title but having to do all the work that comes with that title by myself. It is not the same thing but I've had to put myself out there, working to win over people's confidence because we are such a new, small company. And if you see us, we all look very young and I think it's universal that people tend to underestimate young ones. Believe me, we're not all that young anymore, we just look like it.

My professional goal is to make enough money flow steadily to support my family and to help others work towards their dreams, whatever those dreams might be and wherever it might take them.

I have also been a homemaker for the past four years. I've balanced work with managing the household and I've had my ups and downs with it despite working from home--or perhaps even because I work from home. I have help with doing most things and to be honest, my greatest challenge is actually managing the household rather than accomplishing everything required to maintain a household.

My career goal is to eventually manage to be hands-on with everything.

I've chosen to call my 9 to 5 (figuratively as we all know a business is not simply "9 to 5") my "professional life" because that's what it is. If I get asked what I do, I will answer with "I'm an entrepreneur. I am working on building businesses that interest me and that I believe will be beneficial to the community and economy in general." Eventually I will write about other things I'm doing professionally. That's a very long list yet. But at the end of the day if I get asked what my career is, I will answer with "I'm a housewife." At the end of the day, that's the main thing I want out of my life.

Both sides have advantages and disadvantages and neither is better than the other. They each have very distinct rewards and challenges, plus the ability to balance both is another skill entirely. I know, I've had a taste of all three and I choose to learn that last skill and really, I believe that is what the whole argument boils down to: choice.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to have a 9 to 5 instead of staying at home. And there is nothing wrong with calling being a wife and mother a career instead of going out to take on the corporate world. Maybe it's too much to ask of some people but I really wish these women could actually stand to give each other the credit they deserve for choosing what they did.

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