Having grown up in South Africa, in a house full of woman and my outnumbered father, I was taught at a young age that if I don’t learn to stand on my own two feet I will fall because the only person you can truly rely on is yourself. Fast forward 10 years after I left home and I’m in Fiji, my third rock, having moved from three island homes in the past year, the most notable one was the last. My feet were pulled from under me with the thought of being in a housewife role for the first time and to put it lightly, it was a hard pill to swallow.
Initially there was excitement after working my rear end off for the last 8 years inspiring, teaching and leading 85 woman to be independent and successful in the spa industry, an island holiday with no work responsibilities would be a welcome change, right? WRONG!
I am obviously not cut out to fit into the desperate housewife mould – picture this, no kids, no will to clean up several times a day, a severe dislike to ironing and a strong work ethic (for real work that pays me), for this I have my upbringing to thank, our wonderful helper Maria would clean up our house day in day out raising three very pampered girls who shudder at the thought of Sundays when we had to clean the dishes after breakfast. I love her to bits for this because only a strong woman can do this for 25 years for the same family of pampered princess who empty their whole cupboard on the floor to find one t-shirt.
The first week of the pampered resort life was good, no question about it, mornings at the pool, cocktails for lunch, sunsets over the ocean, no responsibilities or expectations and lots of me time. By the second week, we had to move into a place of our own which was very exciting because we were setting foundations for a new life to settle down after a year of instability. We found a beautiful place on the water, with the best sunset views and a pool three steps from our front door. Day 5-10 of being in this home was the hardest, constant thoughts of do I deserve to live like this and what actually are housewives expected to do? Luckily for me my partner is very understanding and has very low expectations of me being at home, we are both just happy we can live together and have a normal-ish life. He has been to work twice with a dirty shirt – due to my “Dory forgetful brain”, the clean washing is in the washing basket waiting for days to be folded (never ironed), our floor has paw prints and hair all over from our rescue pup, Juni, and the dishes are found in the drawer under the counter often called a dishwasher.
Two months on, I am working for a company based in South Africa, consulting in training and business development projects online through my Australian Business which gives my “Dory brain” a workout, satisfies my independent urges and fills my bank account. Fiji is a very hard place to find work even for an experienced hotelier due to the strict rules, especially in the spa industry, to promote local workers which I fully support however still believe my experience would be invaluable to any business.
My advice for those unexpected housewives is to anticipate that the first month is going to be hard, the second probably even harder but what makes your life yours is that you have the ability and the drive to make your own way, to wake up in the morning and choose to be happy. Find something that occupies your time that you enjoy and are passionate about. I do yoga three times a week, go to the gym, have afternoons in the pool and regular walks with our pup, Juni, on top of working a five day week. Change is good if you make it a positive and happy experience.