Monday, February 23, 2009
My dear friend Kel was writing here, about the issues surrounding expectations of the 'stay-at-home' parent when the breadwinning partner must go out into the world during the day to earn a living. [Usually, yes, this stay-at-home person is the women, but in her case, at this stage in her life, it is her loving man]. Bizarrely, her tables are turned, and she finds herself in the position of returning home after a hard day at the office, and writes about how confronting this is to find a series of loaded emotions about the domestic duties (perhaps not always?) being performed. And yes, she acknowledges all the attendant variables of small children needing attention, and how hard it is to get much done with littles about.
What Kel's post brings up for me is that I now am that person at home, the "non-bread-winner", and my youngest child (now 4) is growing up fast. For the first time in my life, I dont have a great deal of paid, proper 'work' to do (only about a day a week which I squeeze in around my home-based life). So I can do more stuff about the house now. And I do. Theres lots to do too: washing, cooking, cleaning shopping, etc . The question is how much do you do?
I hate the tyranny of expecting the kids to put every toy away, making sure benches are clean, tidying surfaces. Its appallingly trivial in the scheme of things to get het up about this shit. And yet, this feminist mum finds herself at 5pm racing about the house, asking the kids to pick up toys, tidying piles of books, maybe even vacuuming before daddy comes home. I can almost feel myself wanting to find a highball glass for the G&T, slippers, and cigar as hubby pulls up the drive. WHY are these 1950's ideals of domesticity lurking in the recesses of the brain of a women who was spent years at university educating myself, and further years professionally deploying these skills??? DO these thoughts feed osmotically from some bygone cultural ether, cosmically, quantamly perhaps from another less liberated universe? [And before you think it, yes my mum probably did show me how to do this, as she was the 50's housewife reinvested in the 70's, and my dad kinda expected the "treatment" of wifely servitude, but now she is quite a different kind of woman, openly resisting this kind of attitude, and she certainly doesnt expect it of me. My hubby kind of thinks its funny that I do this...he probably thinks its quaint. Archaic, but quaint!
So time to change the record, this brain-tune is not working for me anymore! I'm going to try not to do the crazy-mad 'run-around' tonight. I will do some yoga instead! The house is (mostly) OK, dinner is easy tonight (salad and fritata) and well. If I do wipe a bench down, I will do it beacuse I want to, not because I feel I aught.