My mom used to run a flourishing flower shop business at the same time as my dad’s photography studio during my early childhood. But when my parents decided (with the consent of my late grandma) to have the place rented out to a bank, my mom seized the opportunity to become a full-time housewife.

I remember resenting my mom a bit for this decision—I felt we became poorer because of it. We had to let go of my mom’s workers (who have always made me feel like a princess) when the shop closed up, and moved to a smaller home (or “cozier,” as my mom used to describe it). We still had our two housemaids, but the loss of the flower shop workers who used to be all over our house (my mom’s flower shop used to be part of our house) was a huge change for me that I really felt that we were already very poor.

What I also could not understand was why my mom had to be the one doing our laundry when we already had two maids to do the housework. That actually “confirmed” my conclusions that we became poor (I even got to the point of telling my mom that maybe we should borrow money from my grandma). I was so afraid I would have to stop my schooling. Since then, I vowed to myself that I would never be dependent on my future husband and have my own business so our children won’t ever feel poor. I would never be a housewife—I’ll just hire a maid.

But when I look back now, I can see that it was just childish paranoia. That event wasn’t our “hardest time,” it was only transitional. Comparing it to the time my dad and I had to find ways to pay for my sister’s hospitalization (psychiatric treatment here in the Philippines is very, very expensive if you want the best), I would have to say that we were still pretty well off then. I guess I just didn’t want to accept the fact that my mom was no longer a “business owner,” but “just a housewife” doing housework instead of managing a business.

I guess that’s also the same reason why it irritated me when somebody calls me “Mrs.” during the first few weeks of my marriage. I always had the notion that a “Mrs.” is attached to the concept of being “just a housewife.” I didn’t want to be just somebody’s wife, doing “wife things.” I wanted to be my own person, a person who has her own career or flourishing business.

It’s been more than a month already since Marc and I got married. I think I can say that being called “Mrs.” doesn’t bother me anymore. It still feels a tad bit weird, but I’m getting used to it. And it’s only now that I’m finally beginning to understand why my mom gave up her flower shop business to become a full-time housewife and mother. I also now know why she did the laundry herself instead of delegating it to the housemaids.

I guess one must have first-hand experience being a housewife in order to fully understand what it means—and the work involved. Maybe I’m still in the adjustment period, but really, it’s not easy. I need to wake up earlier than I used to in order to prepare food for me and Marc before I get to work. I need to leave something in the fridge for us to heat up whenever we felt like eating, else, we’ll both go hungry. I made that mistake once (it was the day of the Christmas blogging meet, to be exact). I forgot to prepare food for us before I did work-related stuff on my PC. Since we were running late already, we left the house without grabbing a bite, thinking that we would just have a very late lunch/dinner at the Mall of Asia. But the traffic was terrible. By the time Marc and I reached the Mall of Asia for the Christmas Blogging Meet, we were nearly blinded with hunger.

This is one of those times that you realize there are household-related things dependent on you. Like laundry. If I forget to do the laundry, Marc will have to go to work using the same jeans for an entire week (hehehe). You’d also want to do the laundry yourself if your housemaid isn’t very good at it (ie. The clothes aren’t rinsed well)—or everyone in your family would be wearing stinky clothes (believe me, clothes that aren’t rinsed well really stinks). And since I can’t just waste my time watching the clothes spin in the washing machine, I had to run back to my PC to work while it’s washing (of course, I had to run back to the laundry room too in order to check the spin cycle—so yeah, I had to run back and forth).

Being a housewife isn’t simple, I know that now. It’s a real job. On top of my web design job, is housewife-hood—I still want to have my own career. It isn’t easy, but it’s not as difficult as what my mom had been doing before she gave up her business. Running a flower shop is more difficult that having a web design business—there’s a tangible product involved, and that needs more than just mere talent. I have the luxury of just sitting in front of my PC and bleed my brains out for design ideas. But my mom? She had to purchase raw materials, do the initial flower arrangements, and manage workers at the same time. When you add running a household and being a mom in the mix, I myself can’t imagine how difficult it was for my mom to balance them all.

My first few months of being a wife taught me something: housewives don’t have it easy.