Monday, January 17, 2011

Interview with the Housewives # 6: The Career Wife

As all good things must come to an end, so does the Interview with the Housewives series.  So let me bring you the last story about this noble profession of the so-called-life of a housewife. I think it is the best way to end my research – at least, for now or before I find another interesting topic.  Why – you’ll find out later.  But for now, without further ado, let me bring you, The Career Wife. 
Who wouldn't want to be a housewife with that beautiful brood!
I first heard of The Career Wife when hubby and I were still dating.  I vividly remember him asking me what I thought about having kids and how many (although hubby doesn’t remember asking this! haha!).  He was telling me about his cousin and his wife who are like a power couple in the corporate arena and despite of their high-powered careers are unfazed with the thought of having kids.  At that time, they had 2 boys with a baby girl on the way.  I was shocked and awed!  That was quite a handful to say the least!  And the strong career woman (her last full-time stint was as Regional Brand Director of Unilever) who was the other half of hubby’s cousin is Career Wife. 

Livin’ La Vida Lanka (LLVL):  What finally made you decide to become a housewife?

The Career Wife (TCW):  I've always contemplated shifting gears ever since we had our first baby, but I think, in hindsight I still had some things I had to achieve for myself. While I always yearned to stay home with the kids (2 at the time), I couldn't find myself taking the actual step yet. I still enjoyed the challenge and thrill in working for a high-powered corporation. But when I became pregnant with our 3rd baby, I just knew it was the right time.

LLVL:  You say you are the “housewife with part-time work” – how does that look like?

TCW: I am a Market Research consultant for a multinational in the Philippines and I also run a company with my sister. I started both roughly around the same time 3-4 months after giving birth to J.

Editor’s Note:  This is what I call you really can’t take the corporate out of the girl.    Haha!  Who says shifting gears means from 5 to 1???  Huh??? There are 3 other gears you can shift to!  Way to go TCW!  I am still shocked and awed!  It’s really amazing how you do that.

LLVL: How was the transition like for you shifting from your prior occupation to being a housewife?

TCW:  It was heaven at first. I had all the time take care of our newborn and 2 other boys. I relished every morning that I woke up without having to mentally prepare myself for the meetings I had to attend and presentations I had to make. But after a while, I started to feel like my intellectual growth was starting to slide. Having been used to constant pressure to 'up my game' for the past 10 years, the joys (and pains) of domesticity seemed not to be enough. I started to feel restless.

Editor’s Note:  I totally know what you mean TCW!  But I’m afraid in my case it was the other way around… noo ni noo ni noo… TV marathon anyone???  This is what I was afraid of! Haha!  Being a full-time housewife with all its hedonistic pleasures can be quite addicting without you noticing it...  But yeah, the level of intellectual stimulation is quite different. 

LLVL:  What made the transition easy?

TCW: It was easy because of all the upsides - time with the kids, time to run the household properly, literally enjoying the day (in contrast to working where I can only enjoy the 'nights' after work). I had time to shop, go to the gym, meet up for 'lunches' with friends!

LLVL:  What made it Difficult?

TCW:  Wasn't really difficult up until the time that I started to get restless. I needed to be mentally productive. While I greatly admire her and those like her, I am not a Martha Stewart who can spend endless hours doing creative and crafty wonders for the home. And while I love my kids dearly, I must be honest - talking to toddlers 24/7 can drive me crazy. I end up nagging my husband when he gets home in my need for adult conversation.

Editor’s Note: For me, in the absence of kids, talking to myself was driving me crazy! And I do end up nagging my husband (with much restraint on my part!) even BEFORE he gets home! Hihihihi!

LLVL:  So what do you enjoy best with being a housewife (with part-time work)?

TCW:  Having the flexibility and time to attend to the needs of my family while still being gainfully 'employed'. For me, this arrangement works best.

LLVL: What are the challenges?

TCW: Ensuring that my choices are always consistent with my priorities. It is still a constant balancing act… I still have to juggle meetings, date time with kids, pedia visits, dates with my hubby, going to the gym, and running the household.

LLVL:  What things you do that help you enjoy being a housewife (with part-time work)?

TCW:  My part-time work! It's the 'me' part in the whole arrangement. Being a wife and mom takes a lot from you because you always act on what's best for your family before yourself. And it can be so easy to lose yourself. Having part-time work is something that's mine, something that still allows me to grow as an individual. Plus, I still get to financially contribute to our 'nest egg' and have some extra for myself =)

Editor’s Note: Our housewives are onto something here which was just reiterated by TCW… in whatever you do, you must not lose yourself in the process.  And I can imagine how you can lose yourself with hubby, kids and everything else in between!  In TCW’s case, it was career. For other housewives it may be something else altogether but the trick is finding it and nurturing it – no matter what. 

LLVL: Any other tips to enjoy being a housewife?

TCW:  Look for something that you enjoy and are passionate about. It can't be all about being a 'housewife'. While it is something you should strive to be the best at, being a housewife is just one of the many roles you will play in your life. Really discern for yourself if it is the primary role you want to play in the long-term.

I thank God everyday for leading me to the place where I am now. I could not have asked for a better deal =)

LLVL: Any other words of wisdom?

-       Relish this special time with your hubby when it is still just the two of you. Cement your identity as husband and wife now, as it will go a long way once you face the challenges of marriage and parenthood.
-       Don't let labels define who you are. HR Manager, Housewife… those are roles you have, not the person you are.
-       Always keep something for yourself and yourself alone. Being in a marriage, and eventually, being a mom will make it so easy to just make everything about your hubby, kids, home. You have to nurture 'you' so you can be the best for them.

I have always believed that God gives us what we need – and after talking to six beautiful wives, I couldn’t have started the journey of married life in a new country in the best possible way had it not been for my housewife experience.  In as much as there was an initial struggle to the whole concept and it’s meaning to my being, being a housewife is a gift – for the time, cognitive and psychological resource to acclimatize to a new land, to focus on – as TCW said – cementing identity our as husband and wife and most importantly to focus on nurturing “me” for me.

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