Friday, April 11, 2014

"I'm a Stay At Home Wife."


Think fast! What does yours truly have in common with Kaley Cuoco and Enrique Iglesias? We were all featured in Cosmopolitan magazine this month. I feel like I'm joking when I say that, but it's true. An article about my current full-time homemaker situation (and a picture my sister snapped of me at my cousin's wedding) are on page 223. I'm right between "Your Guide to the Male Brain" and a Mother's Day feature called "When Your Mom's Not Perfect." It's hard to type that with a straight face! Can we talk? Let's talk.

Q: How did this happen? Did you write the article and submit it to Cosmo?
A: No, the article was written by Rachel Bertsche, a freelance writer. Rachel was looking for a full-time homemaker to provide quotes for a completely different article she wanted to pitch to her editor. Rachel is friends with my friend Niki, and Niki put us in touch. I chatted with Rachel on the phone, and she put together a pitch for her editor. Then we were both surprised: Her editor said, "Let's just do an article on Jen." Why? I don't know! But that's how it happened.

Q: But the article is in first person. You didn't write it?
A: Nope. Rachel and I had a long phone conversation, and then she wrote it submitted it and to her editors. They tweaked it further to give it, I don't know, some Cosmo sass. Or to make the article the right length. I'm not sure.

Q: What happened next?
A: I e-mailed Rachel a few pictures of myself, and her editor chose the one that you see in the magazine. And a Cosmo editor contacted me repeatedly to ask our annual income. She was very interested in money, but I didn't feel comfortable sharing Keith's salary or my former salary. She also sent me a list of questions, in order to fact-check a few items in the article.

Q: Are you happy with the article?
A: For the most part, yes.  I'm not embarrassed by my life, and it's kind of cool to see myself in a really famous magazine. It accurately describes why we decided it makes sense for me to stay home right now, and my daily routine. And I laughed and laughed when I read the part describing the awkward conversation I had with my friend who wasn't impressed at first with my new "job." Ryan, you're in Cosmo! *grin* Oh, and it's funny to pretend the sexy mile-long legs on the picture accompanying the article are mine.

Q: Is there anything you didn't like about the article?
A: The article made me sound MUCH less happy at the library than I was. Like I said before, the editor was very interested in our income, and the emphasis on money in the first paragraph doesn't represent how I feel. No one goes into library work to get rich! Low pay is why it made sense for me to leave the library, but I wasn't mad about it. So when they put a lot of emphasis on money and said my job wasn't "easy to stomach," I cried. Yeah. I literally sobbed, "I'll never be able to visit the library again!" I imagine that my colleagues might be offended by the article, and that makes me feel sick.  I was deeply devoted to the library. I still like the people I worked with, and I especially like and respect my former boss.

Q: Wow.
A: Yeah.

Q: So do you regret it?
A: No. My friend Kimmie told me a lot of people left comments on the online article, and most of them are supportive. I'm excited that it's opened up a dialogue! I hope it leads to some honest conversations about work/life balance. And how the work done by an at-home spouse can significantly cut living expenses (Holy shit, we spend so much less now! Do you know how much we used to spend on food because we were both too exhausted to cook? TOO MUCH!). And different ways that couples can balance the work that earns money and the rest of the work that keeps life going. As far as I'm concerned, all the ways to do it are valid. And I congratulate everyone who finds the balance that works for them.Our way of doing things is so old-fashioned that we don't know anyone else who does it this way. But it works for us.

Good talk, y'all. Good talk.

4 comments:

  1. I took a look at the comments and Kimmie was right, overwhelmingly positive even from people who would never want to be a SAHW. (Yeah, I just acronymed it.) The only commenters who dissented a bit were those who rely on two salaries to get by and feel it's not realistic for many, which I felt like you addressed.

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  2. Well, it's awesome that your article appeared in Cosmo!, millions of women read it!

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  3. Yeah...like you I knew that if I was in your shoes I could never be able to read comments without taking them super personally so I'm glad I reassured you that they were mostly really great and supportive. Since you probably won't read them for some time, I will tell you that there were a few weird supportive ones from people with really religious or strict upbringings who were like "Right on, a woman is supposed to be suboardrinate and take a back seat to her man! He should be the breadwinner and my place is in the home." They made me laugh because I kinda thought they missed the point a bit but at least they were on Team Jen!

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  4. It's a myth that you can have it all: the career, the clean house, the happy family, the social life,dinner on the table, and so on and so on.Something always suffers. I applaud you for an unconventional decision that is gratifying to you and improving your life and your husbands. And don't bother reading the comments of others. There is an element of people who like to tear down others, and the internet makes it so easy for them to do so anonymously. Celebrate your life that is working and enjoy the fact that you are able to follow this course.

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What do you think? Your comments always make my day.

P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.