I’ll be the 1st to admit I’m an introvert and not comfortable sharing personal information so I keep my newsletters, social media posts, etc. high-level. But today I am breaking that rule. Please be patience as the story unfolds of how 1 line in a fiction novel turned my world upside down (in a good way). I promise there will be plenty of book recommendations at the end for those looking for new stories to sink into and who want to add to their TBR piles before the holidays.
What line in a fiction novel could be responsible for the big lightbulb going off in my head alerting me to probably the biggest energetic block in my entire existence?
Just after the prologue and before Chapter 1 of “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” is a short definition that had me in tears:
Housewife (n)–a light, worthless woman or girl–Oxford English Dictionary, compact edition, 1971
Now, don’t go jumping down my throat for the offensive definition. That was 1971, after all. And I don’t want to start a war of stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) and working-moms. I’ve been on both sides and that IS NOT what my AHA moment was about.
Growing up, my mom and most of my friends’ moms were SAHMs. That’s just how it was and to be honest I see now that none of them got the respect they truly deserved. Problem is… it’s still rather true today but part of that problem is because we’ve been taught that it’s not a respectable, worthy endeavor and it is deeply engrained in our psyche.
I’ll admit that’s what I learned growing up. My parents were always on me to make great grades so I could go to college (1st in my family), get secure job with benefits, and to basically “color inside the lines, don’t rock the boat, don’t try to be different (unsafe path).” What I heard was “You have to work and be a financial contributor to your family in order to be worthy.”
Worthy of what, you may ask. Well, worthy of everything ~ love, wealth, happiness.
So I did all the things I was supposed to do. Instead of becoming a journalist and then an author, I got an undergrad degree in Accounting (something I had no interest in, but it was a “good” career starter). Then got a job with a small (3 person accounting firm counting me) CPA firm and cried every night because I hated it so much. But, hey… I was employed during a time where a lot of people weren’t (my parents said). Then I moved, took a “safe” government accounting job out of town, followed that to a bigger move to the nation’s capital for another “safe” government accounting job, then on to grad school for an MBA, and there were a few other employer changes but the same basic concept — I had succeeded! I had a safe, secure, job with benefits! That I hated.
Then marriage and kids came along. Still working. For a time, the primary bread winner and I was proud of that fact. Actually, working so much that I left for work before the kids were awake and got home usually after they went to bed. So… still miserable. Something had to change. Fast.
One day hubby says, “Hey, if you’re on board I’d like to apply for a job in North Carolina. I’ll be able to make enough where you can stay home with the kids.” And I said, “Heck, yeah!” thinking of leaving the monotony and boredom of my so-called career behind to spend time with the loves of my life – my kids!
All was well for a while. I did all the SAHM things — volunteered at the school, taxi’ed kids to and from multiple sports practices and events, team mom, read to them every night, made home-cooked meals,… the list is endless (if you’re a mom, you know the list really is ENDLESS).
Come to find out… I despise cleaning the house, cooking, laundry, and all the other things (except being with my kids and husband). Didn’t think that much about it until all the kids were in school and I had some “free” time on my hands. I joined boot camps to get in shape. Probably best shape of my life in my early to mid 40s. But something was still missing.
A purpose outside of being a SAHM.
Finally, one day I had an epiphany! Hey, you (yes, I talk to myself)… remember you always wanted to be an author! Write a book!
And I did! Now, a few books later, I’m not bringing in the book royalties of Stephen King or Sarah J Maas and that’s fine. Actually, according to my income statement–see that accounting did come in handy–my expenses for running this author business far exceed incoming book royalties. I’m still writing and don’t plan to stop.
But I’m still wasn’t HAPPY!
Not depressed, per se. But not happy. And feeling guilty for not being 1000% happy and joyful all the time. After all… I have it all! Loving husband; healthy, happy awesome children; adorable fur baby; the perfect house that I always dreamed about with the large porch; etc. What wasn’t to be happy about?
Here’s a bit more insight than you asked for (truly you didn’t ask for any of this but I’m on a roll). I recognized I wasn’t happy quite a while back and have been working with life coaches and reading all the self-help books, listening to podcasts, etc. Things have greatly improved as far as my attitude and viewpoint. I do the affirmations daily, meditate daily, eat healthy (okay, healthier than before). I’ve done forgiveness work, mindset work, all of it! I’ve come a long way, baby!
But that one line from that book I picked up by sheer chance a couple weeks ago (I didn’t even read the blurb or anything, just thought the title was super cool) threw me for a loop and my big AHA moment smacked me in the forehead with a mental 2×4… hard.
I wasn’t happy because it was engrained in my psyche that I wasn’t WORTHY because I was “just a housewife.” That was the one thing holding me back from accepting my own happiness. I didn’t think I was worthy because I was a housewife with the mindset in that definition from above.
Sadly, I think a lot of SAHMs may feel this way too and not recognize where it comes from. Same with working moms, too. I was a working mom for many years and I felt guilty every time I left in the morning to go to my job. I was unhappy because I missed precious time with my kids. I was too dang tired to enjoy and appreciate my time with my husband, so then I considered myself “unworthy” as a wife and mom.
It’s a freaking catch-22! Rock… meet hard place!
Now, I want to make one thing clear. This was all MY mindset whether I knew it then or not. My husband has been nothing but supportive of whatever I’ve wanted in life – working, staying home with the kids, striking out on my own book business. And he has always considered my staying home with the kids to be incredible and noble. In that old mindset, I felt he was being condescending, but he wasn’t… at all. He doesn’t judge me as lesser because I’m at home. He doesn’t judge me that I’m a terrible housewife–my house is nowhere near spotless, laundry hampers are piled up waiting for clothes to be folded, and dinner… well, if I’m busy writing, editing, or whatever… the kids are old enough to cook for themselves and my son is definitely the better cook anyway. Just ask him!
I was judging myself harshly based on a negative thought that was so deeply engrained I didn’t even know it was there after years of mindset work. It was a splinter embedded so far into my skin that it had to fester for years before piercing through the surface so I could yank it out with tweezers.
All it took for that break-through was one little line in a random novel (excellent book by the way, I highly recommend it) to realize that I was the one blocking my own complete happiness because I hadn’t thought myself worthy–stay at home or working mom.
When the 100% truth is… WE ARE ALL WORTHY!
Don’t forget to check out Renegade Angel and 34 more incredible fantasy & paranormal romance full-length novels in the USA Today Bestselling boxset Realm of Darkness. The sequel to Renegade Angel is in the works as I type this!
Until December, my friends! Love to all!
Be on the lookout for my new super-steamy fantasy romance, Falling for the Devil, due out January 24, 2023!