Saturday, May 4, 2013

On Domesticity.

I'm not very domestic. I nest. I have a nice home, with nice things where people feel comfortable hanging out. I'm a reasonably good cook and I can make a table look really beautiful. But I'm not really domestic.

I'm a terrible cleaner. (So I've hired someone to come in twice a month.) There are many times when a visit to my fridge produces less than mouth-watering results - condiments, milk, cooking wine. In the last three weeks, I've had to wear mismatched socks at least three times because I haven't done the laundry. I never iron. 

But, today, I was domestic and it was great. I worked in the yard, cleaned the kitchen, did some grocery shopping and washed and folded all the laundry. I have blisters from the yard work, and a giant bruise on my shin from an errant cart at PetCo, but all in all it was a really productive day.

Growing up, and particularly in college, I judged women who didn't seem to want a career. (To be honest, I basically judged everyone about everything when I was 20.) I thought, how pathetic - why don't these smart, capable women want more out of life? Why even bother with a college education if all you want to do is get married and stay at home? There's got to be a less expensive way to guarantee that future. 

The older I get, I see just how wrong I was. And how right.

I work. Every day. Have since I was 16. I have two master's and a fantastic undergraduate education. I worked hard in school, because I always knew a career would be A) not optional and B) really important. I was right on both counts - it is a huge part of how I define myself, the only way I could support myself, and how I structure my days and weeks and months and years. 

Work, however, is really stressful. I work for an incredible organization with really skilled people, but it's hard. There's never enough money, time or resources to do the work that we really want to be doing.  I tend to, foolishly, bring that stress home. How do you leave it at work? Particularly when work is texting and emailing all weekend long.

But today, I was domestic. I wasn't stressed out. I accomplished all the goals on my list, and I'm happy. Content. Hell, I was so productive that I started this blog. Making our home beautiful is fun and endlessly rewarding for me. My boyfriend loves it - he's never been more proud of his house since I moved in. It's peaceful here. And it's ours. And it reminds me I'm grown-up.

Being domestic makes me feel good, and accomplished and in control. I like feeling all those things. That's where I was wrong.

Here's where I was right. I think I'd become really boring really fast if I was just "domestic" every day. It was so easy! No conflict. No struggle. No conversation. What would I talk about? Aerating? Fertilizer? Ways to fold socks? Ugh.

I think I need a little bit of work-work in my life, but having a few more domestic days wouldn't be so bad either.


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