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The Trapped Housewife

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"The Trapped Housewife" is a phrase discussed in Betty Friedan's book, "The Feminine Mystique". She talks about the problem many women faced in the 1960's about being unhappy with their lives at home and after reading half of the book, I'm beginning to see parallels of these issues that still persists in present day. I know some women absolutely love being a stay at home mom. I also know that there are moms who would trade places with me in a heartbeat, but there are also those of us who find ourselves in this role because of circumstances beyond our control or because perhaps we thought that life as a stay at home mom would be different. Being a stay at home mom isn't something I ever saw myself doing. In fact, I would rather be working, but with a bachelors degree in Psychology and a half a decade gap on my resume already, I don't have any opportunities for employment that would justify the childcare for two kids. The devastating boredom I often feel wreaks havoc on my mental health. My hands are always moving, but my mind sits idol, constantly warding off the destructive monkey mind. I often envy my husband who has a job he takes great pride in and that he truly excels at. He makes a difference in the world. I miss that. In my heart, I love being here to raise them, but I can't help but also feel frustrated at my circumstances at times. Military.com irritatingly suggests that we sell crafts on ETSY, become a freelance writer, or even get a job with the government even though "those jobs are tough to land" (their words, not mine). I knew to a degree what I was getting into when I got married, but I didn't fully understand just how isolating and lonely it can be as a stay at home mom. I didn't think that I would lose such a large part of my identity. It's one of those things that people don't often talk about. I do know though, that I would rather live this life with Joe than a different life without him, but a really big piece of me feels empty without a career...a piece of me feels unfulfilled.

I wish I would have known in college that in five years I would be marrying into the military. I would have instead tried to find a career that better suits our situation...or maybe I should have gone back to school before we decided to have kids. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? I spend so much time thinking about how to make a life for myself...what classes I should go back and take...what direction makes sense? I agonize over this pressure I feel to figure things out and as soon as I get close to something I panic and feel my heart bringing me back home. I often just wish it was easier. I wish I had chosen a better career path. I wish I would have been born with a motherly instinct that loves and embraces being home every day with her kids. I feel like the confusion adds so much anxiety to my life but, until I know for certain what I want to do and what makes sense, I can't help but just stay the course. I feel like I am more at peace with being here at home than I ever have been, but this book is just making my head spin. I see so much of myself in her words and I am fascinated by our roles as women and how similar things are even all these years later...

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