Tag: housework

In Defense of REAL Housewives

So clearly I’m single but I’d like to use my blog for a second to defend what most of my friends do as their careers- be a housewife or a stay at home Mom.  In recent years the term housewife has gotten more media coverage but not in a good way.

In fact, it has kind of gotten dragged through the mud. I’m afraid most people today think of prima donna’s who throw lavish parties and have cosmetic surgery.  Between Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise and Desperate Housewives the term almost has no meaning any more.

Housewives...hmmm. This was the most modest photo I could find.

When I was growing up I was fed a different impression.  Women like Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show had 5 children and yet were lawyers with perfect bodies of course.  Seemingly a woman could do it all (Growing Pains and Family Ties are other examples).

The admittedly charming movie Baby Boom showcases the 80’s version of the perfect woman. In the movie Diane Keaton is a powerful executive with no interest in a baby but she is bequeathed an infant by her distant cousin.  Eventually she finds a job as a baby food maker that blends the powerful work life with motherhood perfectly. (It is a stream on netflix right now)

This was the illusion of the 80s- that you can find a super meaningful career and raise a family at the same time. The idea of being a stay at home seemed dull and unimportant.

Here’s the thing I wish the young me understood- Adult life is mostly boring, most of the time.  I don’t care if you have the most exciting job in the world it still involves a huge amount of routine with the dull repetition of tasks.  (Ask me about the days I spend entering data into a 27,000 item spreadsheet for hours at a time and I have a masters degree!)

I can’t think of a job where you don’t do the same thing every day.  Think of someone like Angelina Jolie.  She seems like a real glamorous person living an exciting life.  Have you ever heard about how a movie is made?  It is taping the same shot over and over again from different angles until it is perfect.

I am not saying you have to stay at home to be a good mother.  How would I know about any of that? I’m a single woman. Every woman must make choices with how they want to live the life God gives them.  Just understand that whatever you decide will be boring and repetitive a lot of the time.

Any time in your life you can have a career you believe in despite all the tedium and fatigue than you have it made. Most of the housewives I know can say, even with all the stress, they believe what they are doing has value and matters to the future of the country.  Most people can’t say that about their jobs. Why do you think there are so many shows like The Office about the stupefying tedium of the corporate workplace? Its what a lot of people live.  I lived it for 3 years and it was awful.

In this economy people are lucky to have any job without worrying about a dream job and indeed many women can not chose to be a stay at home Mom and must make other career choices. Regardless, most jobs are 80-100% boring, repetitious, hard work, so if you can find something you believe in and can do you as your career, you are a very fortunate.

the old idea of a housewife

Maybe the problem is most women in the past didn’t have a choice to be a housewife or not.  The customs of the era insisted they stay at home and with rare exceptions most followed.  I don’t think this is the case any more or it shouldn’t be.  Most women today chose to stay at home and raise their children a certain way.  And like I said to have a job that you believe in and have chosen is a very lucky thing.

In the past there may have also been a stereotype of a housewife as an indentured servant instead of a mother/wife. Hopefully this isn’t as common any more (although I’m certainly aware domestic abuse and violence still exists). At least nobody I know is treated so badly or forced to stay at home.

I love this article on Slate.com called Why I Can’t Stop Reading Mormon Housewife Blogs.  Its really funny.  The atheist, feminist author talks about how she is inspired by the Mormon Mommy blogs:

“the basic messages expressed in these blogs —family is wonderful, life is meant to be enjoyed, celebrate the small things — are still lovely. And if they help women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap”.

I don’t have my dream job.  I’d love to get involved in politics and make a difference in some small way to my community,and it may happen someday.  However, my job allows me to fulfill my other more important dreams such as the open water swims. It allows me to work despite my pain (a HUGE blessing!) and to have the lifestyle I love.  I consider myself very lucky and watched over in my career.

I think anyone is lucky when they can lead a life of their choosing that fulfills them most of the time.

Go housewives!



Blissful Days of Nothingness

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” Ovid

Today is what Saturdays are made for- cleaning a messy home, organizing one’s life and resting from a long week.  It honestly has felt like a month packed into a weeks time.  As I have no doubt many of you are tired of hearing, my work-life has been exhausting lately.  Every day, including weekends, has been jammed packed with vacation rentals, long-term tenants, new homes to manage, sales tax to work on, events to coordinate and more.  I may be exaggerating a bit but it feels months ago in Hawaii that I last enjoyed a  relaxing Saturday. I am not even going out with friends tonight- and to be honest I am kind of glad.  I love my friends but today all I needed was time to myself.

I used to take Saturday’s for granted but lately I have realized it is an essential day for a stress-free happy life.  As much as I am uplifted by a Sunday, in some ways Saturday is more restful (less meetings and things to do!).  The perfect Saturday consists of three essential things:

1. Organizing/Cleaning Home- My parents will probably sit mouth agape once they read this because I hated “Saturday work” growing up.  Every week we had assignments for Saturday that were above our normal daily jobs such as scrubbing all the wood floors, cleaning the car, organizing the pantry, cleaning all the bathrooms etc.  These jobs usually took the majority of the morning to complete and sometimes went into the entire day.  My least favorite task was tending for my mother’s garden.  Even now, I would rather do just about anything over gardening (I detest weeding, planting, pruning, mowing).  I’ve always been a bit of a princess and gardening is just too dirty, smelly, sweaty and miserable! It’s funny because my parents love it.  Even when my mom was pregnant in bed my dad kept up our massive garden at the  Maryland house.  He decided that we were going to set up a farm stand for selling tomatoes (clearly he didn’t understand his own children.  No way we were selling tomatoes on some stand!).  We ended up with 36 tomato plants and hundreds of pieces of fruit.  A friend helped us to can a good chunk of it but the rest Megan put on a red wagon and wheeled around the neighborhood giving them away!

Nevertheless, I still appreciate a Saturday that is free enough for me to clean the kitchen, vacuum, organize my room, and make my life feel organized.  With the flexibility of my schedule I can often get such projects done during the week but it is less stressful to have a large block of time to devote.  Maybe it is being raised on “Saturday work” but nothing seems as productive as a Saturday morning that I can dedicate to cleaning and organizing.  For instance, this morning I scrubbed the kitchen down including the floor and stove, did the dishes and vacuumed throughout the apartment.  It only took me an hour or two but it made such a difference in the feel and vibes of the apartment.  It feels less cluttered and stressful. I love that feeling!

Other tasks are often done on Saturday’s such as laundry, buying groceries, and other shopping.  These are fine, but I am glad to be inside today with nothing to do.   Especially laundry- I hate doing laundry.  I avoid ironing like a disease.  I find it the most tedious of tasks.  I would much rather be scrubbing floors or cleaning bathrooms. I guess laundry and gardening are my least favorite jobs.

2.  Relaxing- There is something about relax time on Saturday’s that makes such a difference.  I swear if I do not get a restful Saturday the entire week suffers.  Even if I take time off on Monday it doesn’t seem to have the same effect.  Sometimes relaxation includes my friends and family but other times it is just me.  I love days like today where I get to exercise, nap, write my blog, watch some tv, and read.  I love all of it! I need it to be happy.  If I do not get a restful Saturday than my Sunday’s particularly suffer- it is so hard to stay alert and attentive at church and in my other meetings.  My dad has always had a hard time staying awake at church and I understand why- he was always working hard on Saturday.

I have felt so tired lately.  I even worried I might have mono but the doctor said it was just a combination of stress, allergies and asthma.  It is so great to be rejuvenated and alive!

3. Entertainment- As is clear from this blog I appreciate many different kinds of entertainment- movies, books, television, theater etc.  A Saturday just doesn’t feel complete without a tiny taste of something entertaining- something to smile and laugh at.  I love going to the movies with friends, seeing a play, going to a good restaurant, or lounging at home with blanket and popcorn while watching TV.  It’s all great and essential to feeling ready for the upcoming week.

It’s not really entertainment but I also love doing service on Saturdays including attending the temple whenever I can.  Next week I am scheduled to help clean our church and in the Winter I plan on volunteering for Festival of Trees again.  Today I thought long and hard about going to the tea party in Salt Lake, but I decided I just couldn’t do it.  I needed the relaxation time more urgently than the political activism.  Next time I will attend!  I am so glad to see the crowds in Washington DC!  Woohoo!

So, that is my defense of my lazy Saturday.  It has been a joyous, lovely day.  I hope you all enjoy similar days and weekends.  Life is good…