Stay At Home Feminist

I hate the word housewife. I hate the word homemaker. These words are so loaded with patriarchal bullshit that I can barely utter them in any seriousness, much less use them to describe myself or what I do. Yet that’s the check-box that applies to me. And because of it, I get dismissed by the folks at the bank, the car dealership, and occasionally, other parents. It feels like a pretty limiting check box. But what else do I call myself? How can I encapsulate what I do, day in and day out, without sounding either overly-simplistic or self-denigrating?

I am educated, I love to read, I love to write, and researching is one of my strong points. I always thought I’d find myself in academia, and was always planning to further my educational career; however, life smacked me hard in the face and I had to learn to deal with it and put other selfish notions on hold.

Staying at home with my baby boy has been such a learning experience! Some days I am absolutely thrilled and filled with gratitude for being able to watch this little human being grow right before my eyes, second after second. And other days, I want to pull my hair out because I’m just so tired and frustrated with the behind-the-scenes tantrums, whining, and mess-load that I, ultimately, will have to fix/clean on my own until my partner comes home. These types of days (and often nights) sometimes make me think about returning to the paid workforce. Do I really want to return? Send my child to daycare? Pay for daycare, for what? To create a sense of sanity in my own selfish brain that I can “get away” from it all? Then as I circle back to my rational thoughts, I find that THIS IS MY WORKFORCE.

I find that my “title” as keeping the household running is a complete understatement. Like I said, I may be out of the PAID workforce, but nonetheless, I have not left the workforce all together. I don’t deal in the economies of paychecks and work politics, but I do deal in the economies of bumps and bruises, tantrums, play dates, trips to the park, and juice boxes. All the while, I’m still trying to implement a sense of humanity, creativity, and love for life into BOTH my own and my son’s world.

Primrose

There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I had more time on my own, more money to spend on my family, more positive feedback to nurture my own needs and to feel important in the world. But this I know for sure. Child raising is labor. A labor of love, most certainly, but labor nonetheless. Hard labor. The hours are crap, the pay is worse, and the acknowledgement from the world around us pretty non-existent.

I’m a teacher and a doctor and a therapist and a laundromat. I’m a playgroup leader, a chef, and a nutritionist. I’m a personal shopper, a cleaning lady, and a librarian. I’m a taxi driver and the occasional jailer. I’m the CEO of this operation, and I’m pretty good at it. I’m up to my eyeballs in laughter, tears, dirty diapers, and snotty kleenex. I’m on call 24/7.

Fit that in a check-box. Stop asking me when I’m going back to work. Because if this isn’t work, then I don’t know what is.

- Primrose Villena, AF3IRM South Bay-LA Coordinator

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About Primrose:

Stay at home moms are underrated, under appreciated, and misunderstood. I’ve been fighting with my own views versus society’s views of a stay at home mom; and frankly, I’m tired of having to defend my type of workforce, paid or unpaid. I’m tired of having to explain why this recently became my path. Do you always explain at the get go why you chose to be a doctor? Or a teacher? Or a mailman? In a nutshell, my son needed me. And I’ve learned that being a stay at home mom (let alone being a mom in general) is the most difficult task I’ve ever been handed. My name is Primrose, and I am a stay at home mom. Period.

4 comments for “Stay At Home Feminist

  1. Andrew
    October 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Hate to say it, no, I LOVE saying it. Your problem isn’t that the world won’t recognize your efforts of being a traditional mom, rather you care about the world says about you. As if it actually made a difference in your life. Well, it does now, now that all this time was spent venting instead of loving yourself, your baby, your life.

    Was this post of mine a waste of my time? No. If it helps anyone in any way then the intent has been fulfilled.

    P.S. I can count the things on one hand that I wouldn’t give to find a woman who wants to run a household.

    • Dustin
      October 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      I think you completely missed the point of this write up, Andrew. Good try though, little guy!

    • Primrose
      October 30, 2013 at 6:59 am

      First of all, your misogynist views of what YOU think I feel are not only incorrect, but they are what fuels me to continue preaching about my new role in life. I am a mother, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for everything that I have.

      Second, I am anything BUT a “woman who wants to run a household.” If you were to put your patriarchal views aside and asked why I NEEDED to do this, then your idiotic response would’ve been invalid from the beginning.

      So keep counting your fingers and keep trying to find a woman that would appreciate your point of view. SHE DOES NOT EXIST.

    • October 31, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Andrew, do you have a mother? Did she breast feed you or educate you on the detrimental side effects of a patriarchal mindset? No? I didn’t think so.

      While I don’t have a child, I absolutely care for Primrose’s voice on the matter of child care. I don’t believe she wasted any time. As a matter of fact, I’m almost certain she had her son on her lap while typing out her cogent thoughts out on all of the preconceived notions society and culture have placed on her on top of being a womyn of color (you probably don’t even like my spelling of womyn! Too bad. Read up on some post-structuralist theory, I can do whatever the hell I want with language). But back to the point…

      Primrose is raising her son to be literate about the socio-economics and culture of the western world that oppress her (and him and her partner). She is engaging in something radical that womyn of color ALL OVER THE WORLD are and have been unable to do and OWNING IT. She is taking her son’s child care into her own capable hands. I also wanted to point to your illogical claim that she has a problem. She doesn’t have a problem at all, actually. She is further adding/contributing to the narrative of womyn subjected to the hardships of child care. She also navigates the trappings of the very words “stay-at-home.” Her difficulties are not only in the home…she must contend with an entire economic structure that excludes and limits her to begin with!! Your comment further proved that the world has a LONG way to go. So, for that, thank you for proving that our work is MUCH needed. Look at all that we have to dismantle!

      So, Andrew, are you able to even comprehend the difficult task of motherhood in western society? Did you read her post at all? The premise of the entire piece is actually based on the limits of language to truly encapsulate what she does on a day-to-day basis?! Apparently, your comprehension skills are incredibly poor and you were hoping to deleteriously promote your own agenda! Take your diminutive trolling self somewhere else on the Internet!

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