Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm going to be featured in Cosmopolitan magazine. WHAT?!

I never imagined that I’d be featured in a sexy, glossy magazine. I’ve never starred in a movie, dated a celebrity, or changed the world by founding an exciting nonprofit. I used to be a librarian, and now I’m a too-busy-to-be-bored housewife. What’s so exciting about that?

Plenty, apparently. Because Cosmo wants to run an article about it.

Obsessed with Waterloge, that is.
A few days after I told  my friends I was no longer at the library, a friend sent me this message: "Hey, Jen. My friend Rachel Bertsche is writing a piece, and she wants to talk to a woman with no kids who chooses not to work outside the home. Since I know you just made this choice, I'm wondering if you'd mind if I put the two of you in touch. She's a legit journalist. Any chance I could connect the two of you?" I'd just spent weeks carefully weighing the options and articulating the reasons why staying at home makes sense for me right now, so I felt uniquely prepared to be a part of Rachel's article. I said yes.

Rachel was preparing to submit an article proposal to her editor. The article was meant to profile a number of women, all of whom had made different career choices. We did a 10 minute phone interview, and Rachel told me she would be in touch if her editor wanted to move forward on the article.

A few weeks later, Rachel called me with good news and bad news. The bad news was that the editor said no to the article that had originally been proposed. The good news? She wanted Rachel to write a personal profile article about me. OMG WHAT?! The editor said I was, "Very likable and matter of fact, and they loved that." Was I willing to be featured in the May 2014 issue of Cosmo?
 I cycled through different emotions: Disbelief, pride, nervousness, and jubilant excitement. And then I said yes. 

The article will be written in first person, but Rachel is writing it. Soon after, Rachel and I did a longer interview. I don't want to tell you everything we talked about, because I want you to read the actual article. But I will tell you that I'm very excited to be featured. I hope the article will help reframe this choice as less of a passé 1950s thing and more of a valid option. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who is less interested in having it all, and more interested in having a simpler, less stressful life.

But I'm also nervous. Choosing not to work outside the home is a contentious topic. It carries a lot of baggage associated with things with which I do NOT identify: Conservative religions, anti-feminism, and the scary displays of drama and collagen injections you see on "Real Housewives" shows. And a lot of couples can't afford for one person to stay at home full time. I don't want to give off the out-of-touch impression that I believe everyone has this option. I'm lucky, and I don't take my fortunate situation for granted. 

Ultimately, I hope Rachel's article sparks some lively conversations about the myth of having it all, what constitutes work, the ways we feel entitled to judge other women, and the uncomfortable fact that some couples might save more money by having one hardworking but low-earning person stay home. 

Look for it on newsstands in mid-April!


  1. Congratulations! That's so cool you'll be featured! I don't subscribe to Cosmo anymore, but I hope you'll post a link to the article, or let us know to go pick up the issue if the article isn't online!

  2. How exciting!! May issue? I will buy it! Congratulations

  3. CONGRATS!!!! That is amazing! I think it is a good message to share. I am currently not traditionally employed and I get A LOT of shit for it from a lot of people. I say do what makes ya happy! Also, you never know who may be reading your blog :)

  4. I don't think that you need to worry so much about your personal choices or your choices as a couple - or what people will think about them. If you give it too much study then it takes control of your life. There have been housewives since the beginning of time and there always will be. Housewifery is not revolutionary - nor is the decision to be a part of it. The root of feminism is that women can do ANYTHING that they want and that includes staying home, whether to take care of children or just the home itself. I think that the stigma might be more imagined that in actually is. Things have changed. I'm a housewife and I can say that most thinking people never consider it to be associated with "conservative religions", "anti-feminism" or "Real Housewives". You're *always* going to have negative comments from people when you put your life out there in print or online media. That's just the way that it is. What you do with those comments is up to you. I vote that you don't give them a moment's thought and if you truly want to be a housewife, then do it and don't belabor it. I can promise you that nobody who matters in your life is doing so. More doing and less worrying about the doing is the way to go. If you put those ideas out there (that housewives might be looked down on for ANY reason) then you're just giving people license to do so.

    1. I just re-read my original post, because I'm not sure where this came from! Arrrgh. Perhaps I'm misrepresenting myself or my tone isn't coming across well. I'm not trying to belabor it, and I'm not especially upset by the reactions I'm getting from other people. I'm aware of the stereotypes, though, and I find them interesting. I do think they're worth discussing.

      Regardless of what "most thinking people" believe, since I left the library I've heard plenty of jokes about conservative religions, leaving feminism behind, and references to Real Housewives. Like, I heard, "So you quit your job to be a housewife. Are you joining the Baptist church next?" Or, "So now do you go to the gym and get your nails done all the time?" Ha ha. Or I don't take these comments too seriously (they're just jokes, after all). But I do think that jokes reveal a lot about the culture in which the jokers live. And I'm all for a lively discussion about women's (perceived and real) roles in a culture.

      While housewifery isn't revolutionary, it's certainly been revolutionary for ME. My life has completely changed since I left the library. And I'm sure there are plenty of other housewives out there... somewhere... it's lonely place for me. I'm literally the only housewife I know. And heck, when Niki asked me to talk to Rachel, she said, "You're like a unicorn. She can't find ANYONE out there who isn't working!" To me, that says a lot right there.

  5. Wow! This is AWESOME! Congrats! And I hope that this leads to people having a less negative view of women who do this! As I am mostly one too (I say mostly because I list on-line and work ONE day a week at a vintage shop, mainly as a favor to a friend!)


    1. *high five*

      Thanks, lady! I'm super excited... And hoping it has exactly the effect you described. :-)


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