There it is. In black and white.
I am officially a ‘housewife’.
A wife to a working husband.
The brutality of these three Spanish words hit home as I was filling out one of the many, many forms to open a Spanish bank account.
Right next to (un)employment: Ama de casa
I know brutality seems like a harsh description. I mean no disrespect to the housewives across the world whose contributions to society as whole are underrated, undervalued and most definitely underpaid. My personal concern is that this will be the first time in over a decade that I do not have an income. I have always valued the contributions I have made to my little family over the years (husband, cat & the occasional family member who needs a hand) and the thought of not working was never a consideration. Quite frankly, the thought of being unemployed and not ‘contributing’ monetarily makes me feel uncomfortable and insecure.
Being independent – both financially and personally is a huge part of who I am.
I looked at my bank card, realising that my last pay check would soon be spent and it would soon be a useless piece of plastic.
I ask hubs:
– So…… will I get an allowance?
He raises his eyebrows and we both laugh at the idea.
Neither of us can picture his stubborn proud wife (me) ever asking him for an allowance.
Hubs is not phased by the situation at all; on the contrary he is encouraging me to take the time and opportunity to do other things. Enjoy myself. His calculations, diligently laid out on a nerdy excel spreadsheets assure him that we will be fine without my income.
And so my feelings towards being an ama de casa are all being generated from me. My negative feeling towards the entire concept of being ‘just’ a housewife is apparently a ‘learned behaviour’ encouraged and propagated by society. Clinical psychologists explain (well the one in this article), that we are conditioned to believe that “housewives don’t have their own identity and are always dependent on their spouses, financially and emotionally”. This is undoubtedly a cultural construct that makes feminists cringe – and who can blame them!
The natural course for me has been to go to school, go to university and get a job.
I have interrupted my ‘natural’ course to go on this adventure in Spain. And part of this adventure is to embrace my role as ama de casa.
Despite what society would have me believe, it does not mean that I have lost my identity, that I am any less than who I was or that I am emotionally dependent on my husband.
On the contrary, it means I can use the time I would usually commit to work, to other endeavours. I am making a list – and it looks like fun!