Courtney sent me the following question:
Since right out of highschool I have always worked full time. All I know is commuting, working, lunch, working, commuting, come home and make dinner, say hi to husband, crash, repeat. In a few days, my husband and I are moving to a place where his new job is. He landed an amazing position, and I will never have to work again. So I am wondering, since there are only so many dishes to do, and only so much laundry for 2 people, how do you fill the rest of the time up?? Am I going to be bored out of my mind? We wont have any family or friends around. How do you keep busy?
Congratulations on coming home! What a privilege it is, to be able to dedicate all your time to your home, making it a cozy nest for you and your husband. As you will soon find out, home life is both rewarding and challenging, and not at all like we have been taught by those who would want us to believe there is nothing more boring than a simple day at home.
Even as a single woman, I developed great liking for the domestic life, and didn't feel inclined to move out at all. I enjoyed planning and completing different household projects, I learned to cook and bake, and my mother taught me the basics of knitting and crocheting. In addition, I lived in a busy place, I could hop over and see my friends anytime, and there was my grandmother who lived with us and needed lots of care and attention (mostly in the way of keeping company - I still try to visit Grandma at least once a week or two).
A lot changed when I got married; my husband and I moved to a very remote little place where we didn't know anyone. I was very excited about the prospect of my own home, but like you, I was a bit apprehensive - how is it going to work out, being home alone all day? Won't I feel lonely and depressed? Will I be able to use my time productively?
Far from being bored or having to "fill up my time", I can't stress enough just how important these first few months at home had been so far - as a new, inexperienced wife with a lot to learn, I'm so very thankful for this opportunity to be home before our first baby joins us. This allowed developing and practicing important home-management skills, which I'm sure would be much more difficult to learn if I only came home after the birth of our baby (something pretty much everyone around me - except my husband, of course - expected me to do). Even with only two people in the household, there's still plenty to do!
Being home full-time allows you to dedicate more time and thought to tasks you have previously rushed through. For example, I don't just hurriedly make our bed in the mornings - I take extra time to make it prettily arranged, fluffed up and inviting. I don't take a pile of washed laundry and shove our clothes into their drawers as quickly as possible - I take time to look for stains, tears, and missing or loose buttons; I have time to neatly fold, iron, and mend our clothes. Also, because my attention is dedicated to my home, I notice all the little-but-important things that need to be done in the realm of home improvement, and put them on my to-do list or ask for my husband's help with them (depends on whose skills are best suited for the task).
You will have time to cook wholesome, varied, healthy meals from scratch, and even invest in making side-dishes and home-made desserts and baked goodies - something that is extremely hard to do when working full-time. You will also have more time to plan your meals and compile your shopping list accordingly, which will save you a lot of time and effort (and possibly some money as well).
Since it's only you and your husband, you will also have time to do all the lovely "extras" which often have to be put aside, at least for a while, if you have little ones - such as home decoration; putting up pretty curtains, centerpieces, cushions, paintings, and other items which will make your home lovely; gardening, if you have a garden, or growing potted plants; half-forgotten but very rewarding domestic arts such as canning, preserving and jam-making. If you're on the crafty side, or have always wanted to learn how to sew, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, paint watercolors, make soap or candles, or some or all of the above, now is the time. You will also have time for creative self-development in the form of writing, music, or learning a foreign language, if you are inclined to do that.
It's important to establish a healthy, efficient (though not too rigid or demanding) routine, which will enable you to use your time productively. After working outside the home and being confined to someone else's schedule, it's often difficult to practice self-discipline, and only too easy to lounge around and eventually feel frustrated with boredom. Your routine will vary according to your needs, and your husband's needs - what suits someone else won't necessarily suit you. Some ladies find home-management notebooks or journals very helpful; I have an outline of long-term projects in mine, but my daily routine is usually very simple. First, I complete my morning tasks (such as putting our bedroom in order, doing dishes, laundry and/or grocery shopping), and then go on to whatever project I planned for the day.
Very importantly, you will have time to relax and unwind before your husband comes home - and what man doesn't love to be welcomed by a cheerful, rested wife? I call my husband during the day to know when he plans to come home, and about an hour before his estimated homecoming, I take a shower, put on clean, neat clothes, and curl up with a good book or some crocheting until he arrives. If your husband likes to eat dinner right after he comes home, you can have the table nicely set for the two of you before he arrives, with pretty dishes, candles and a centerpiece.
Good luck to you, and may your coming home be rewarding and inspiring for both you and your husband!