Thursday, June 12, 2008

Homemakers unite

So I am a little slow in getting a second post here at this fabulous blog. Tonight, even though I am tired, I decided it was do or die. Write or fall asleep, but no more delays. Since my last post I jumped into the conflicted world of full-time-outside-the-home working mommy...and I have to say I don't feel so successful. It's with a bit of mixed emotion that I send my two and half year old daughter to school everyday. Before this job she went only half day in the afternoon (and before that it was me or daddy or grammie watching her). We used to have a leisurely morning together and I greatly miss our time with each other. Of course, the second piece of that idyllic picture is that I got very little done in the way of personal work and spent much of my day cleaning and handling details that created a lifestyle that my family enjoyed. But, I felt a great discomfort about not having any earned income. Homemaker, though essential, is an invisible job that ranks pretty low in our business-centered society. Personally, I am enamored with the word "homemaker" and would really like to bring it back in vogue. I wonder if I have actually met a real homemaker from the old school tradition. Maybe my great Aunt Charlie, who after fifty years of cooking for my uncle, told me once in private that she was kind of tired of it...something to consider when thinking about the burnout factor for homemakers.

My husband's sister sends us the paper from the small town where they grew up. It could be anywhere in middle America. In a recent issue the editor wrote about the passing of a woman from the community...a homemaker. His description of that profession is what I try to attain and what Martha Stewart is marketing. A sense of purpose for the small details that make a lifestyle. The editor described one component of a homemaker as someone who invited a guest to dinner, then remembered to served that guest his or her favorite meal. What nicety...what a level of thoughtfulness...and yet who has time for such detail, because at this point, as a society, this kind of detail is no longer valued in the market place. And yet we crave it. If we didn't, the Martha Stewarts of the world would be out of business. Herein lies the conflict. I want both: bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. This is an impossible task. So instead, I join the ranks of modern working mothers, women attempting to juggle everything: self, family, work, career development, child rearing and homemaking. Has feminism really gotten us, me what I want? Inside my conflicted self it doesn't feel like it.

What is the next wave and how can I ride it?


Blogger Mary Ellen Walsh said...

Bravo. Nicely said. I admire your going back to work outside of the home. It must be impossible. I'm a freelance writer at home most days when not on assignment and I agree about wanting to make everything nice and to have the time to be thoughtful.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Marianne said...

The Second Wave would require quality affordable childcare--even in cities that are already expensive to live and work in, like NY!

9:52 PM  

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