This borrowed home, all cozy and academic, arouses sentimental feelings. It is the house of my ideals: organized, clean, healthy food, good use of a small space, real art, literature, quality music and movies, a learning environment and close relationships between family members. The angst it also stirs comes from memories of guilt and shame driven attempts to live up to a romanticized ideal.
The fairy tale romance I had with being a homemaker has ended. I read Edith Schaeffer’s book “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” when I was a teen and again in my early 20’s. My heart leapt within me. This was my destiny! I envisioned a life full of spiritual purpose, connectedness, and creative output being a career homemaker.
Reality is that being a homemaker on a small single income really sucks sometimes. It is isolating, boring, repetitive and, add pregnancy and children, exhausting. I don’t care how you frost it. That is reality.
For me, the bonding of spiritual ideals with a romanticized version of creative home keeping led to frequent bouts of zombie state depression and self loathing. Pragmatism has served me better.
For example: at one time I actually stopped doing most housework. Only the most insistent things got taken care of, like clearing a spot and washing a dish to feed the toddler who is pulling on your leg asking for food. After a while though I realized that I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen and so I started cleaning it before bed.
Instead of living by a debilitating unreachable standard I live by the empowerment of choice and responsibility. I don’t flog myself if things aren’t right, I decide what I want to do to fix it, if I want to fix it. I care for our home because were all in this together. When the house gets gross we all suffer. I chose what to do and when based on what is good for us not guilt over trying to live up to an ideology.
The fairy tale romance has ended, my home and I are better for it.