Testimonials: “my job is a housewife”

They have decided to put their professional careers on hold in order to dedicate themselves completely to their home. Assumed deliberate choice or retention of a traditional pattern still well entrenched? Victims of a degrading patriarchal system or refugees from a shattering economic system?

Being a housewife would, according to Saint Wikipedia, mean this: “A woman who performs the majority of the tasks qualified as housewives, such as: maintaining the house, purchasing current consumption, preparing meals, supervising and educating children. Translation: a woman who does not have a professional activity pays her, women in the shadows who also work hard and ask for only one thing: a little recognition.

Housewife: reality VS received ideas

“I’ve been a housewife for almost five years,” says Audrey, 29, and the mother of three girls (4 years, 2.5 years and 2 months). his everyday life? Cleaning, laundry, dishwasher, bathing children, meals, doctor visits, bills, shopping … Pretty much everything. In the beginning of her first pregnancy, it was impossible for her to be productive at work. Nausea is to blame. The doctor’s advice was clear: she should take it easy. A fairly simple piece of advice, but impossible to follow when working in the hotel industry. By mutual agreement with her husband, it was decided that Audrey would stay home until she gave birth. “When my daughter was born, I got a telecommuting job that I thought would be perfect for my situation. After a few days, I unfortunately had to stop because it was impossible for me to take care of my baby, who was crying incessantly, and that translate medical consultations by telephone. “What also pushed her to become a” stay-at-home mom “was the lack of places in nurseries and guilt. “I did not want others to raise my child, so the solution was there. My husband has always been super understanding and has always supported me in my choices, even if it meant less pay. His family, meanwhile, did not respond as well as his partner. “My mother, who is a very independent woman, did not understand my choice. She found it degrading to be dependent on her husband. But when she realized all that was involved, she changed her mind. On the other hand, the other members of my entourage believe “That I do not do anything in my day, that I have it easy. They and they are lawyers, vets, engineers, pilots … And I feel that they and they do not consider me at their level.”

“It has often been insinuated that I was incompetent, stupid, lazy or even submissive …”, says Charline, 42 years old and “housewife” for 9 years. She adds: “But what I do today is much harder than all the jobs I’ve had. When people ask me what I do for a living, I’m afraid to say it. I’m ashamed, I see judgment in people’s eyes.But on the other hand, I feel so lucky to be there for my kids, to see them grow and not miss a step.It definitely does not mean that I criticize women who are not like me. “I just admire those who manage to reconcile work and family life. It’s just that I personally do not find my balance there.”

A renunciation that is accompanied by a momentary adjustment. “In the beginning, it was very difficult to spend my husband’s money. For example, I thought it was ridiculous to buy him a birthday present for his money. I felt guilty about going to a store to buy myself new trousers or going to the hairdresser … ”, adds Charline.

An anti-feminist role?

By 2020, there were around 300,000 householders under the age of 65 in Belgium, 95% of whom were women. In 1986, that number was nearly one million, according to a study by the Institute for Sustainable Development (IDD). If the general belief at the time tended to be that women were predisposed to take care of children and domestic duties, social and societal changes have motivated women to develop their careers.

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