Once upon a time, I knew how to starch shirts that were not mine, because I did so on a regular basis. Without touching on my personal life anymore than I have already done in this wild, exciting bit of oversharing, let’s discuss how being a Stay At Home Girlfriend will eat up your soul and spit it out like some vomitous cookie monster.
In Quiana Stokes article How To Survive As A SAHG (Stay-At-Home-Girlfriend) she describes what she does all day as a Stay At Home Girlfriend. Namely:
1) Makes her boyfriend breakfast
3) Cooks or orders in dinner
4) Waxes herself, does her nails
5) Prepares cocktails for her boyfriend when he comes home
6) Has sex with her boyfriend
Now, this seems really appealing if you hate your job. If you dislike going to work every day, then yeah, hanging out around the house painting your own nails seems like a lot more fun. But, look. This is not a sign you should be a stay-at-home-girlfriend. This is a sign you need to find a job you love and do it. Quit. If you hate your job, quit. It’s not going anywhere anyway. You will never get ahead if you’re miserable. People who love what they’re doing get ahead. If you need the money, stick it out as long as you can, but make sure you’re sending out resumes every day. You should not be aspiring to a four hour work-week, because you think work is for chumps. You should be aspiring to a zero hour workweek by virtue of loving everything you’re working on so much that it doesn’t feel like work.
Because if we rank things on a fun scale, going to a job you hate is a 0. Staying at home, painting your own nails, waiting for your man to return is maybe a 5. Working on something you’re great at, that utilizes your creative energies to the fullest, that challenges you and excites you? That’s a good 8.5. And if you get validation from other people for doing it well? 9.6. (10 is riding a unicorn across a field of rainbows).
Because relying on one person for validation simply isn’t enough. I was going along thinking, “well, maybe Quiana does love her life, lots of people read Ibsen and think “that is rad” maybe diffrn’t strokes, you know, Jessica Wakeman makes a really good point” until I came upon this line:
“If there’s one thing I’m sure [my boyfriend would] like to change it is the way I cling to him when he gets home. After spending a large part of the week talking only to myself, having him walk through the door ready to talk about something other than toilet cleaner is really exciting to me.”
Oh. Yes. That’s right.
This is why it gets problematic. Because you can not rely only on one person for validation that what you are doing is good. In the first place, they won’t be able to give it to you. You’ll spend two hours making dinner, and they’ll come home, say “that looks good” and then, you know, eat it. They will take your two hours and put it in their belly because it’s just food, and then they’ll go watch television. You won’t know what you wanted them to say, but you’ll know you wanted it to be more, somehow. This will happen with everything. They won’t notice that you carefully dusted everything around the apartment. They won’t notice that you found beautiful new cushions for all the furniture. They will notice when you come up with a great new organizational system for all the cutlery, but only insofar as they will yell “why are the forks all weird?”
And they will be the only person who sees and values your work. If they don’t see it, it will be as though you might as well not have done it at all.
Which would be fine if their job was “admiring your work around the house” but it isn’t. Their job consists of “doing shit.” Out there. In the world. They don’t have time to admire the cushions you meticulously selected because they are thinking about the glory they’ll gain from doing deals or selling articles or whatever their particular job is.
In essence, they will be your North, your South, your East and West, your working week, your Sunday rest. In return, they will see you as a slightly high-strung woman who cries when you tell her the forks are all fucked up now.
Oh, and you’ll feel awful. You’ll be left with a slow, aching feeling in your gut. You’ll constantly be trying to pinpoint why no matter what they say, it never feels quite like enough. It’s not your partner’s fault. Your partner is behaving like a normal human being who has work and responsibilities and lots of things to do. It never feels like enough because directing all your accomplishments towards one person isn’t enough. You need more. You need the validation that comes from a romantic partner, maybe, but you also need validation from your peers. From colleagues. From friends. From – if you’re lucky – total strangers who like your work. You can’t make one single person – even if he is fantastic – your entire world. It’s not fun. It’s crushing. And it will drive you insane. Slowly, but very surely.
But if you disagree, then here’s a nice article on how to be “mysterious” for your man!