Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keeping the sanity amidst the housework

Although we value these [career] opportunities for women, motherhood and homemaking suffer. Mothering and creating homes are knitted tightly together, but in recent years they have disappeared from American society as natural and valued pathways for women. Instead the message seems to be that if mothers have access to modern conveniences to care for their homes and families, then they should be free to seek their own fulfillment. Women and men often end up in conflict over the seemingly burdensome work in the home because they want to pursue personal interests and activities. Home is often erroneously considered a place from which women need to break free. Some ideologies would have women think that home duties limit their full potential, and women and men are tempted to disregard the important, everyday aspects of homelife—thus the loss of our rolling pins and brooms.

With the more kids I have, the more difficult it is to keep a clean house.  I think most of us feel saner when the house is clean, but we feel insane having to clean up after everyone all the time!  Didn't I just do this not even an hour ago?

In addition to the above quote, I've heard it said that women can be free to go out of the home and get a job because of our so many modern conveniences.  I read something recently, can't remember where, that said, sure, we have all these great inventions, but someone still has to do the laundry, unload the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, drive the kids wherever, etc. 

I also read somewhere else that women are tired of trying to take on both roles of homemaker and breadwinner, so if they can make it on one income, they are trying because it's easier not to take on multiple roles.

For the past 6 weeks or so, I've been following my own chore chart.  I do two or three chores each day, Monday through Saturday.  Dishes, sweeping, and laundry are not on the list because they have to be done so frequently.  So now, rather than trying to clean the house in a one or two day period, I just do about 20 minutes a day (in addition to sweeping, laundry, or dishes), and I can tell you the house is cleaner than it has been in years.  I love it!

Another thing I've started recently is watching TV or a movie while I clean up the kitchen at night.  We're not big TV/movie people around here, so this is big for me.  I do usually listen to books while I exercise, but I haven't really done it for anything else.  The book I was listening to was boring, so I borrowed a few movies from my parents.  The housework is so much more enjoyable!  In fact, I've tried to find more things to clean just so I can watch my movie!

I have a friend who cleans for about 15 minutes each night, and her house is nearly always spic and span.

What do you do? How do you keep your sanity amidst the housework?

Career Goals vs. Homemaking

In 2005 it is normal to hear young women describe their goals for the future in terms of exciting careers they plan to pursue. These girls most likely also desire to be wives and mothers, but today it seems more appropriate to announce career goals first.

I remember when I was young and at some point it became inappropriate to answer, "I want to be a mom" when asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  

I think that is a big part of why I pushed mothering waaay ahead into my future -- so far away that when I got to the point that I probably should have started having children, I was really afraid to.  Why would I want to do something hard like have children?  Then I can't do what I want anymore.

As I raise my girls, I hope I can give them a good impression of mothering where they will want to put it first.  Of course, I want them to have the legal freedom to have a career (and be paid the same as a man), but I hope they choose first to raise a family.

America's Women

I really loved this book by Gail Collins.  I braced myself for some extreme feminism bias, but it never came.  Collins gave, what I thought was, a very moderate and complete history of women in our country.

It was so interesting to me to see the trends regarding women that have occurred throughout the last 400 years in our country. I have to agree with 95 - 99% of the feminist movement up until the 1970s when the women's libbers and ERA and men-haters came about (then, of course, I think things got way out of control).

I would recommend EVERYONE read this book. Women have been through so much in this country and have helped make it what it is.

The Perceptions We Give

A few months ago I got together with some old Ricks' roommates.  One roommate commented, "Emily, I'm sure surprised you're a stay-at-home mom. You were so career driven!"

I just about choked!  How could it have been that I sent out that kind of message -- and to those I knew best?

I always knew I'd be a wife and a mom someday, but that was way off in the future.  At that point in my life, though, I was extremely academically driven and felt that grades were the only way I could compete successfully with the boys.  (I'm not sure why I wanted to compete with them.  Perhaps it was for the attention.  Back then, I mostly dressed like the boys, thinking they'd like me for being like them -- not realizing the boys liked girls who were girly.)

I really didn't have a career in mind, and never did come up with one; I guess I just wanted success in something.

Now where am I going with this?  I guess it's just interesting the impressions we leave with people.  Hopefully we leave impressions that truly reflect who we are and what we stand for.  Hopefully we understand ourselves enough to give a true representation (which does sometimes change).  Hopefully this blog can leave a good impression of womanhood and some of the good in it.