Throughout history, women’s roles in society and the workplace have changed.
We’ve gone from doting housewives to becoming powerful entrepreneurs and presidential candidates, all in the name of gender equality.
Now the dust has settled and we’re finally starting to realise what equality looks like in practice — hint, it’s not a clear cut division between the sexes with concepts like the gender pay gap turning out to be more of an ideology than a realistic practice. It’s about time for us to realise that we don’t have to pick one or the other. We can, in fact, be both a housewife and a have a kickass career.
Let’s face it, no matter what we do to make women become legitimised figureheads; men are never going to bear children. While we should accept 21st-century changes in family units, we should also embrace our inbuilt abilities and natural inclinations to care for our families and our homes. Just because we’ve fought for the right to be taken seriously in an office, this transition doesn’t make us suddenly misplaced in motherhood or matrimony.
For those women who do want to be house proud and hands-on with their children all while managing to bring in their fair share of the household income, this blog post will give you some actionable advice on how to do what women are known to do best — multitask.
What’s more, we’ll show you how to deal with the common emotional repercussions of being a boss of your own company, your own life and your happiness.
You Need to Work at Home to Be a Housewife
Taking toddlers to the office is never going to become an accepted practice and if we’re honest, that’s for a good reason. While you might be able to handle your child’s crying while tackling a work project, the rest of the team will not. Plus, the whole point of being a housewife is to look after your home.
This means that if you want to have the best of both worlds (and why shouldn’t you?), you’ll need to work remotely.
So, your first port of call will be to find a role where you can work from a home environment or set up your own business (so that you can effectively always work on your terms).
- Want to work remotely? Check out Pangian for remote roles and Remote Work Podcast for some practical and friendly advice.
- Want to get your business off the ground? If you’re in the UK, like me, you should take advantage of the .gov website and get some free advice via business helplines and local growth hub specialists. Setting up your business has never been easier (or cheaper) with tools like virtual receptionists and office addresses.
The good news for outgoing females is that remote work is on the rise and is ever-more accepted by the workforce as a legitimate career move.
Some believe that remote working is the answer to all of our gender equality issues, removing the need for women to take on part-time work after childbirth or have extensive time away from the “office” hence, leaving both men and women on a level playing field when it comes to pay and progress.
Learn How to Wear Two Hats and Strike a Balance
So imagine that you’ve landed a dream remote role or you’ve got the ball rolling in terms of your business. Now it’s time to tackle your work-life balance.
Getting the kids ready like the traditional housewife and sitting in board meetings like the conventional entrepreneur are two very different lifestyles. So, how can you effectively do both?
The answer is to strike a balance between what is considered a housewife “role” and a business “task.”
There’s plenty of strategies to help you achieve this:
- Some people use a time blocking system which follows a strict schedule and a close-knit relationship with time.
- Others seek a more personal approach by gaining emotional reassurance and motivation through online outlets. They might join forums with like-minded people or keep up to date with entrepreneurs who promote balance.
One thing is for sure though — and it’s worth remembering: if you choose to be both a housewife and a career woman, you’ll always wear two hats and need to find some way to maintain your double life (with double the benefits on offer).
Make Your Boundaries Clear to Other People
Up until this point, all of the spotlight has been on you, your progress and your behaviour. But for this route to work, you must make sure you make your boundaries clear and set your expectations for other people.
When we talk about the word “housewife”, we’re not taking a literal or old-fashioned approach to the term. We’re definitely not saying that you should be shining your husband’s shoes and living to please someone else.
That said, it’s important that your other half (and others around you) are aware that you have other responsibilities.
If you’ve recently transitioned to work from home and find that your relatives tend to call you in the middle of the workday, act like you’re a full-time nanny or get judgmental about progress in the home when they return from the office, it’s time to set the record straight.
Here’s what you should do to handle those tricky and often “too close to home” situations:
- Making People Realise That You Work for a Living
If you’re receiving a call from your Mum “just to chat” in the middle of a workday, it’s time to make it clear that whatever isn’t acceptable in an office, also isn’t acceptable in the home.
The first mistake you’re making is probably by picking up the phone in the first place. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one who struggles balancing freelancing and family life.
Try to have an honest conversation with your family, friends and partner about what you’re doing. Explain that setting up shop at home is just as serious as putting on a suit to go to work. Having this initial conversation with those that haven’t experienced working from home will go a long way in gaining their respect and understanding.
If all else fails, you should switch your personal phone off — or only take calls on your virtual business number. After some time, your Mum (or whoever else tends to dial your digits at inappropriate hours) will soon get the message that you always seem to be busy on a Monday at 2 pm.
- Declining Distracting Offers like Looking after Kids or Waiting up for Deliveries
When people hear that you have the luxury of working from home, they may also see this as a huge advantage for them.
While you might have the convenience to wait in for an Amazon delivery or look after your child when they return home early from preschool, doing these jobs for others will grate on you after a while. So, how can you decline their often presumptuous requests without testing your relationship?
Again, it might be a good idea to simply not pick up the phone, but if the conversation is started on a Saturday while hanging out, you must develop a template excuse that puts the ball in your court.
An example scenario is if a friend asks to send a package to your house to get delivered. This is awkward, right? Because you want to do your friend a favour — but waiting in for a package restricts your purposely flexible lifestyle.
The solution? Instead of outright declining the proposition, you could say that while it might be delivered while you’re in the house, it’s likely to arrive when you’re in the middle of an important meeting with a client and so there’s no guarantee that it will make it through the front door. You’re not saying no to them, but you are politely advising them that they have the wrong idea about what “working from home” really means. In short, you get to be the nice guy without having to do something you’re not a fan of.
- Showing That Your Flatmate, Husband or Partner Still Has to Do Their Fair Share of the Housework
The truth is, if you build a lifestyle that’s often envied by others, they’re likely to paint you out in a bad light while comparing the two of you.
If your partner still has to crawl out of bed at six in the morning, while you get to set your own schedule, things could get a little heated when they return home from a bad day at the office.
For instance, if your partner makes accusations about the house being untidy (when you’ve both been doing an honest day’s work), you need to learn how to handle this situation carefully.
Again, this resolution all begins with opening an honest dialogue between the people involved. Rather than getting defensive about how you didn’t have time to do the washing up, try to relate to your partner and be real with them about how much workload you have.
Setting expectations about the distribution of housework before you migrate to a remote role might be the smoothest way to avoid conflict like this.