I laugh because, since being laid off, I’ve ended up being the one who does more of the cleaning, cooking, and laundry these days. I’m actually terrible at it. Not that I can’t do it well–it’s just that I get wrapped up in other things. When I do laundry in our building’s basement, I come back upstairs, get involved writing a blog, sending out a resume, or doing some research, and I’m late getting back downstairs to put the load into the dryer. (Usually during the day it’s OK because I’m the only one doing laundry, but on occasion I’ve annoyed people who were waiting. Oops.)
I clean sporadically, and forget when we need milk, veggies, or cat food. I’ll look at the clock, realize how late it’s getting, and rush to the store before my husband gets home — or I’ll scrounge around in the cabinet hoping there is one more can of green beans. Generally, we eat fresh vegetables, but I try to keep a can or two around for emergencies … and feel embarrassed when I’ve neglected to replenish the stash. As I type this, I am supposed to be starting dinner. I will … in a minute or two … or three.
Merriam-Webster’s defines “housewife” as “a married woman in charge of a household,” and, since I’m not in charge of anything, I don’t think I’m really a housewife. Besides, I’m not doing anything different than what a single, unemployed woman does. I’m just working at home. And working at home can be a dream come true, for those of us who have dealt with long, crowded, too hot (or too cold) commutes; offices where you don’t fit in; offices where your cubicle gives you only an illusion of privacy; and, of course, lackadaisical, angry, passive-aggressive, clueless, not-being-team-player coworkers and/or bosses. And I set my own hours.
But as I attempt to either find full-time work or freelance jobs, working at home, for me at least, can also be a struggle. There are upside and downsides.
- I can get up whenever I want.
- I can work in my pajamas.
- I can listen to whatever music I want.
- I get to play with my cat.
- I’m saving money by not having to commute and not having to eat lunches out.
- My cat is a distraction.
- I can see more stuff on the internet than I could at work — and it, too, can be a distraction.
- It’s easier to procrastinate.
- It’s easier to overeat.
- I don’t have human interaction.
I was debating whether the last item on the list was a “pro” or a “con,” but I guess in general it is a con. I do need human interaction. I don’t know if I miss it every day, but I have to make time to go out with friends regularly.
The procrastination and overeating and distractions are just things I know are there and I need to work on them. I make lists for myself, I set a schedule of what should be done with reminders on Google calendar (thank you, Google gods), and I sit down to do the work, perhaps with the promise of a reward later.