I'll tell you exactly what it is.
I was born and bred to be a StayAtHomeMom. I was not bred expecting to go out and have a job and leave my (one) kid at the babysitter. I learned to cook by the time I was 8. By 10 I could cook a complete meal. By 12 I could do it over an open fire. I know how to separate laundry. I can wash clothes by hand if I have to, using a scrub brush to get the knees clean, although washing them in a machine is SO MUCH easier. I know how to run a household on a tight budget.
I enjoy being pregnant, breastfeeding and walking around with no shoes on. I like making dinner from scratch. I make a mean-ass chicken soup, cornbread stuffing, roast-anything. My greens are to die for. When I have the time my home is fairly neat. I enjoy redecorating. I love the Parents Association, volunteering in the school. I like running fundraisers (even though I bitch and complain). I like children. Especially my own.
Left to my own devices, I would have happily been barefoot and pregnant, making cookies and cooking dinner.
I don't even track my man when he's out... provided whatever he's doing "stays in Vegas" and he's smart enough not to bring anything--diseases, evidence, love letters--home. Cuz once they cross my doorstep, it's on. Provided I am respected and loved, I trust unconditionally.
When I'm by myself, I can easily entertain myself; I can draw or paint or plant herbs and flowers in the pots on the deck. I can write. When I'm not by myself, I can be fairly funny, I will keep up with current events (well, if I care about them), I look damn good for forty-almost-three, and let's put it this way... it was passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me "A man wants a lady in the home and a whore in the bedroom" and "Always look good in your own home--never let him see you in curlers or coldcream". Though sometimes I break that rule, I admit. But I try.
I don't really need expensive gifts. I mean they're nice and all, but I don't *need* it, and I certainly won't accept them in lieu of genuine affection and respect. You definitely can't buy me off, which is probably why a rich husband wouldn't work for me.
I don't *need* to be rich but I do need to be warm and comfortable, and when I'm cold and uncomfortable I'm a little cranky. (OK, downright evil.) If I'm sick I don't require A LOT of care, just some... and when you're sick or hurting I do everything in my power to make it better. Unless you whine too much and you piss me off.
The only catch to all this is I have an attitude problem and I don't like being bossed around. I wholeheartedly admit to having issues with authority. And if you tell me something like "I'll be home by 7" I hold you to it, and when you don't come home it's not that I care *where* you were, but I care that you broke your word. And if I catch you in a lie your ass is mine... but you have to be pretty stupid to leave yourself open cuz I really don't go snooping. Only if you give me a reason. But I definitely have a temper and if I can't fight you outright I will definitely do a slow burn. But usually I'll fight you outright. And I HATE being ignored. I also hate being questioned and feeling "owned". I also tend to be a night-owl, mainly because it's when the world is quiet and I can hear my Voices.
All-in-all though, I think I'd make a decent StayAtHomeMom. So it pisses me off no end that as a single parent, in order to live comfortably I have to work. And the only jobs I do well in are jobs that recognize and allow that my kid will always come first; I WILL leave early to take him to karate or violin or whatever if I can't find someone else to do it; I will NEVER work weekends and it's a rare night that I'll stay late to do anything. I'll take it home, though, but most companies would rather pay you to be "on location" and waste time, than trust that you'll finish whatever at home from the comfort of your couch.
Not having a job stresses me ONLY because the rent is high, and I have student loans and some credit card debt. Not an AWFUL lot, but enough to stress me. And it's not that I'm frivolous and HAVE to have that coat or those red pumps (though I want them really badly), it's just sometimes I run out of money and have to charge groceries or a winter coat for the Sun. And OK, my fancy Treo. But hey, it helps me keep track of the money I don't have and the things I have to do.
I filed for unemployment the other day. If I could cut down some of the debt I had, I could so live comfortably off of unemployment; when you're happy, you don't NEED to spend money.
Today, I went to the Sun's school to check for last-minute fundraiser orders, I did some personal stuff that I'd brought with me and the principal nicely let me use the fax machine, then I went and helped the Sun make a diorama of our kitchen in a shoebox in his classroom. Then I went to art class with him where they were drawing birds. Carlos the art teacher let me draw a Snow Ptarmigan on some watercolor paper, and if I'm still unemployed on Tuesday when they go back to art, I'm going to go and paint it. I stopped by Bigbear's and ate fish with her and TinyOne (who is SO MUCH LIKE his mother at that age, and I loved her so completely then that I've fallen in love with TinyOne all over again).
Then I came home. Shoefly will pick the boys up on her way home from work (and see, she LIKES to work) and so I'll start pasta in a minute.
So why is it, Mr. O, that I don't have a husband? Is it my attitude problem? Could I choke it back long enough to stay quiet and keep a husband? Could I tolerate "man-isms"?
Not bloody likely.