You just won the lottery! Really take in the moment. Imagine the lottery ticket in your hand. YOUR lottery ticket. WON. A few million. You have enough money so that you’d never have to work again if you didn’t want to — but not too much where you’ll take your private jet to your private yacht. What would your dream life be like then?? What would you do??? Would you travel the world? Spend more time with loved ones? Play golf? Or learn to play guitar? Eat the best foods? If you’re still reading this and haven’t stopped to think about what you’d do, you A) obviously don’t follow directions well, B) should probably see your doctor about getting ADHD medicine, and C) should think about it. I’ll wait.
Ok, so now you have your dream life in mind because you don’t have to worry about earning money. Were you embarrassed? Did you feel ashamed by how you would spend your time when money isn’t an object? Good, because neither do I! And when I say I don’t have a job and I’m “just” a housewife, I’m not embarrassed, either! Being fortunate enough to have a significant other who can provide for you is like winning the lottery… you magically have the opportunity to live the life you always dreamed of instead of the life you have to.
So then you can understand my confusion when I hear my expat friends tell story after story of their friends and family members who try to make them feel guilty for not finding a “real” job. Admit it now, did your fantasy involve you keeping your 9-5 (or more realistically, 8-6) job? I’m going to guess at least 98% of us quit the daily job grind in our fantasies. Why? Because when given the opportunity to pursue what you love, a desk job is not what we want out of life. I spend my time on things that are important to me instead of office politics, Lean Cuisine lunches, and waking up at the crack of dawn to sit in a little cubicle all day. I think the big misconception (and the reason for all the disapproving looks) about being a housewife is that people think we lead mindless, idle lives. Do I just sit around the house all day lazily? Does my mental activity consist of sorting the socks? And whoa whoa whoa, I don’t even have kids to watch?!
News Flash: I can’t speak for every other expat wife but I’m not lazy and I’m not wasting my Master’s Degree (nor, apparently, am I wasting my Bachelor’s in Philosophy, either!). In my case, I stay busy learning German, doing freelance writing, launching my sister’s novel, and volunteering to do work for non-profits. I just also have time to clean the house, cook for my husband, take tennis lessons, lunch with the ladies, walk the dog, and host dinner parties. I actually have balance – enough to keep me mentally stimulated but not too much so I’d be mentally overloaded and taking anti-anxiety pills. So for those who have watched one too many episodes of Desperate Housewives, please be open minded in understanding that we aren’t wasting our lives, we’re brave enough to be loving our lives.
And remember, you admitted earlier you’d probably do the same.