I consider this my Life Lesson #1: Never say never.
My mind flashes back to so many moments in my life in which I uttered sentences that began with “I will never…..” Oh, the many blog posts I could write on all the examples of when I so confidently announced what I would never do!
(There’s a thought!: A blog devoted to all the the things I said I would never do and how it all came back to bite me in the butt. Because there’s nothing more that Karma loves than the meaty challenge of a fool proclaiming “Never!!”)
(I never thought I would actually start a blog for one, but I digress…)
I never wanted, nor planned, to be a Housewife. A Hausfrau. Oh, you should have heard me as a teenager! “Never!” Yet, here I am.
If I had known that that is indeed what I would end up doing, perhaps I would have elected to partake in those Home Economics classes in high school. Do they still teach those classes? Are they still called “Home Economics?” I didn’t take them because running a household and cooking and cleaning and budgeting and sewing and mending clothes were things I was not interested in. Certainly not things that I imagined at the time were going to factor greatly in my future. I apparently did not go so far as to wonder who was going to be responsible for those things in my adult life. That was a bit fuzzier. All I knew is that it wasn’t going to be all up to me.
When I got married I still didn’t picture it all being up to me. I was working (in the “outside world”) at the time and I had these strange visions in my head of my husband and I making the bed together, doing the laundry together, cooking together, washing the dishes together, one of us dusting while the other one vacuumed. A day or two a week set aside in which both of us cleaned house as a team and then in the evening afterwards relaxing together. I don’t think we actually ever discussed this wonderful, romantic, plan of mine in the mandatory, but very brief, “couples counseling” sessions requested by the pastor who married us. In fact, I think the session involved us turning in questionnaires that were given to us to fill out at home and then listening as the pastor tallied up the score and said that though it looked like there were “things we probably needed to work on”, in general, it seemed we were compatible. No. We didn’t really delve into how we planned on managing our household “together”. I think we just figured it would evolve organically. Do couples ever plan out these things? Looking back, I probably should have mentioned to my bridegroom that I really didn’t love to clean (are there really people who do?) despite the fact that in our very first long distance conversation over the phone, that first call after I’d given him my number, he caught me meticulously dusting and Lysol-ing my parents’ books and bookcase. What can I say? I don’t love to clean, but when I do, I want it really, really, clean.
I don’t enjoy cooking either. I wish I did. But, in truth, I don’t.
When I found out I was pregnant, there was never a doubt that I wanted to stay at home with our baby. I had been a latch-key kid from the time I was 11 and for me it wasn’t such a great thing. I knew that I didn’t want that for my own child. Not particularly enjoying my job history, and the costs of daycare and commuting, certainly factored into the decision to stay home as well. We weren’t sure how long I would do it, but we were willing to try. Again, I had very romantic, hazy, sorts of ideas about how this plan would go.
Excuse me while I take a moment to laugh somewhat hysterically to myself. Oooooo, hoooo….yeah.
Again, there was that whole not really thinking through who would be “responsible” for this or that or the other. It just wasn’t going to be all on my shoulders. Because, after all, especially as a child of the “Free to Be, You and Me” era, this (cleaning), that (cooking) and the other (everything else involved in maintaining a house) was never anything I had seriously considered as a “vocation”. As a life’s “work”. As “my job”. As an identity.
And here I am.
The thing is, as a somewhat introverted person, I love being at home. I love being able to operate on my own schedule. I love not having to answer to a boss. I love not having to deal with the general public and the lousy days that they may be having. I love not being chained to a desk in an office. I love being here 24-7 for my kids (I really do!).
I just really don’t like the whole “housekeeping” bit. It is, and has been, a huge struggle for me. I guess because I still don’t see myself as a Housewife. I was never going to be a Housewife. A wife – yes. A mom – yes. An artist who worked from home? – a dream, but yes, please!! A Housewife?
Karmic lesson gained: I realize now just how judgmental, how snobbish, how ignorant I was about housewives.