I recently received my taxes back from the IRS. Upon review of my carefully crafted file, I noticed a discrepancy. Under employment, I had indicated domestic diva and they changed this to housewife. Ugh.
This simple word brings up images of Peg Bundy from Married with Children sitting on the couch all day eating bonbons watching soaps, while her husband slaves away at a job he despises to barely make enough money to support their family.
(image from Peg Bundy)
Or even worse, a stereotype wife of the 50’s staying home to cook & clean and take care of children like someone from the cast of The Stepford Wives.
(image from Stepford Wives)
Neither of these apply to me.
To be honest, I do actually like to cook and clean…
(image from Housework Rules)
But that’s as far as the comparison goes. My husband is the sole financial supporter of our family, but unlike Peg, I don’t really have a choice. When my husband was offered a job out in Northern California not quite a year and a half ago, we decided to move out here from Southwestern Ontario. He has a work permit, I have what I lovingly refer to as a “wife permit” – it’s exactly how it sounds, I’m allowed to live here as his wife. That’s about it.
As I only have my wife permit, I cannot obtain a Social Security Number. And they seem to use that thing for everything here! Without one, I can’t open a bank account or even apply for a store card. It’s like getting an allowance from my husband. It’s just weird.
And I’m not just a wife! I do all of the “wife” stuff (cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc), but I also organize, multi-task, pay bills and figure stuff out (like where to buy food, find a dentist & doctor, where to find anything we might need…). If that’s not enough as I realise some of you do this with full time jobs and children, I also give my time to those who need it more than me by spending a ton of time volunteering (more on this in a later post).
And if that’s still not enough, I find time for fun things too. I belong to a meetup group out here for a group of girls that get together and try to organize things to do during the day during the week for the other “housewives” in the group. And it’s not just a girls group – it’s a family, we help each other out when needed. It was the first group I felt comfortable with since moving here and am fortunate enough to have met some amazing ladies.
I also am a meetup organizer for a vegan girls group to try and promote the awesomeness of being vegan by way of potlucks, hikes, movies, book club and so much more.
And as a volunteer, I am constantly meeting other women who also get an embarrassed and frustrated look in their eye when they tell me what they do… “Oh, I’m a housewife. I moved here with my husband when he got a job.”
That’s what we’ve become. Housewives. But these women – they are so much more. They are engineers, nurses, teachers, massage therapists, social workers, artists, caterers, managers and more. They are bright and funny and intelligent and wise and thoughtful and interesting and beautiful inside and out. They have skills that were used in their country and would be useful in this one.
So, to my lovely IRS people, I’m sure you did not mean any disrespect when calling me a housewife – but just wanted to bring awareness to a sore point.