Monday, June 22, 2009

Is it wrong to want to be a housewife?

I work - well, I'm self-employed and don't earn much, but it beats setting the alarm for Oh-bugger-o'clock every morning, getting stuck in traffic or sardined in public transport, slogging away for at least nine hours being at one's boss's beck and call, and doing the same slow travel home every night. I did all that for years and it nearly burned me out. Being a passive/aggressive it's hard for me to stand up for myself and say no; I take crap for so long, do a slow burn inside and finally snap. 

But even being self-employed I'm suddenly tired of work. I'm not at the boss's beck and call any more...I'm at my clients' beck and  call. I'm tied to the computer at least five days a week but have the comfort of knowing I don't have to leave home to do it. I can just walk upstairs after breakfast to go to the office.

The trouble is I have a secret desire. I don't want to work. I never have, really. I've HAD to work, I've even been a career woman, back in the 90s, clawing my way through middle management and actually pretty satsified for a while. 

I would love to be 'just a housewife'. I wouldn't care about being financially dependent on someone else, or not having much money to spend - it's not that I can splash money around at the moment anyway! I like the idea of my 'job' being to keep the house looking good, to do the washing and cooking and so on. It's work I do anyway and get satisfaction out of.

Just think, no more having to arrange and attend business breakfasts and networking events, no more meetings, no more stress. The hardest decision would be what to cook for dinner. I'd have time during the day to visit my Mum, who is currently not in the greatest of health, without feeling guilty about keeping clients waiting. I'd have the mental freedom to explore my creativity and put time into hobbies that could turn serious - writing and drawing/painting. 

There was a song in the 1980s called Everybody Wants to Work; I can't remember who sang it. But the chorus was along the lines of "Everybody wants to work, oh no, not me." And that's exactly how I felt and still feel. 

I guess I wasn't smart enough, pretty enough, sexual enough and outgoing enough to catch the attention of a wealthy man in my youth and make all my housewifey dreams come true; that's not to say I have self-esteem issues, it's a measure of the person I was then and realistically still am. I married in my forties a couple of years ago to a lovely self-employed divorcee who's almost as cash-strapped as I am. 

Am I alone in my housewifey dreams? Are there other women out there who feel obliged to do the corporate thing because it's expected of them? Germaine Greer and the early feminists fought hard so that women who wanted careers could have them, and bless them for that. But what of those who want to be old-fashioned? Is it wrong to want to be a housewife?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is it just me or do other people feel uncomfortable networking?

First things first o kind reader. I arrange networking functions for a living. One of my clients is  a major Chamber of Commerce in my city. I love the behind the scenes stuff, designing the invitations, updating the website, capturing the RSVPs, but boy, after several years of it, I no longer look forward to the networking functions.

My problem is I've never been a party girl. During my childhood I could enjoy parties by taking a book and sitting in the corner reading it while the grownups chatted about boring stuff. Now I'm in my forties that's not an option. Sadly.

Even worse is that because I organise these things I'm obliged to work the room. Which is astonishingly hard for me as I'm shy and sociophobic. On the night I usually manage by chatting to folks I know or spending ages with the name tags welcoming people. Despite repeated training I can't get the hang of 'meeting people' and 'connecting' the way others can. I've met some serial networkers who are quite scary in their ambitious room-working. But I just can't do it that way myself. I get lots of invitations to networking events (other than the ones I organise) and turn 90% of them down. I just can't face it.

Now the big rule of having your own business is, these days, to get out there and network. This means (ugh) breakfast meetings - and in my view breakfast is a meal best eaten at home with or without your loved one and with the newspaper or a good novel, preferably the latter - and after hours meetings - which reek slightly of detention from the old school days; I'd much rather just be at home with that novel I didn't finish over breakfast. I deal with people non-stop over the phone and email all day; leaving my cosy home office for a face to face dose of the same can leave me depressed at the thought.

Surprisingly on the night I manage OK, provided I a) get enough to drink to see me through it and b) can nick outside for fag on my own to assist in the seeing-through process. Neither of which, shall we agree, is wonderful for one's health, but good for one's psyche.

So who else is out there who finds business life and networking a hard, hard slog? I can't be alone. There must be many of us who suffer for our business. Anyone? Or am I a lone nutter? :-)