Thursday, October 11, 2012
In the past month I've found myself in a new situation: I'm a stay-at-home housewife. I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it could be said that until I find new employment I'm essentially living the life of an old-fashioned housewife.
It makes me appreciate the women's movement that flourished while I was still in diapers. I can ironically call myself a housewife without really meaning it. Yes, in the absence of new accomplishments at a job I am priding myself on my skills with a toothbrush putting a new shine on the bottom of the bathtub. I'm cooking Mike dinner almost every night AND a made-from-scratch dessert. I greet him at the door in an apron, and I usually have on lipstick because I'm one of those women who finds it difficult to get motivated until I have my lipstick on.
But for me it's all about making lemonade out of lemons. Once I get a new job things will go back to the way they were--simple but adequate dinners at home during the week with some take-out thrown in, essential but cursory house cleaning, etc. And I can credit the generation before mine for making it possible to choose what role I play in my marriage. I'm not expected to keep house and serve my husband a cocktail at the end of the day. But if I want to, it can be fun. And right now I have to admit--it's kind of fun.
I start my day the way I always have--with a cup of coffee and my bowl of Kashi cereal. I make Mike lunch, which is usually a peanut butter sandwich because he's a creature of habit. Lately it's been Peanut Butter & Co's Dark Chocolate Dreams. The radio is tuned in to NPR, and I'm able to catch all the morning talk shows while I'm doing the dishes. We don't have a dishwasher (well, one that works, anyway) so I wash all the dishes by hand--something that Mike used to do while we were both working. This way he can (ideally) get to work on time, since it's time-consuming to hand wash all the dishes from my cooking and baking adventures the day before.
About an hour or so is spent on the computer before I take a leisurely shower and get the the dog out for a walk. When I return, I eat lunch (usually leftovers from the previous night's dinner) and take an hour nap. I've read about studies that say a short nap around 2PM is good for your health, and at home I'm actually able to do that--making me a more awake and happier person when the nap is over. Then I clean something and get dinner started. In between I check my email or Pinterest.
Speaking of Pinterest--that siren--I've been doing simple but absorbing projects I pinned on my DIY board. Nothing Etsy-worthy, but fun stuff that uses up some clutter in a way that won't offend my "reduce-reuse-recycle" partner. I made the letter "C" out of corks ("C" for our last names, not for "cork" as Mike suggested), a candle holder made from a cleaned-out cat food can and clothespins, and an autumn centerpiece with real acorns as a filler.
This is where I start to sound a little out-of-my-head. Am I at summer camp? Have I gone over to the dark side and become something out of The Stepford Wives? What happened to my career aspirations? My desire to make a mark in the world?
Rest assured, those longings and ambitions are still very much a part of me. But this is a tough economic time in a volatile job market. I've been working in the same industry almost non-stop for the last sixteen years. I could pull my hair out at the roots with worry about my unemployment, or I could take this opportunity to clear my head and do something different for a little while. You should try a piece of my/Martha's Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake. It's to-die-for good.