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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Housewives ...

This morning as I drove myself to work, I spent some time daydreaming about what my day would be like if I were a stay-at-home-wife. For starters I’d get to the many things I have not gotten done around the house because I have no time. I’d schedule for the work on our master bathroom to get started and I’d call for the installation of our water softener unit. I’d get started on putting away the two huge baskets of laundry at the foot of our bed. I’d prune our lavender and rose bushes and re-plant our empty flowerboxes with autumn-hued blooms. I’d make my hubby a healthy, well-balanced, home-cooked meal. It’s been ages since we’ve had a meal that was not take-out, frozen or from a can.

I’d do my errands like visit the bank, drop off stuff at the post office and the cleaners, handle the bills online. I’d visit Mrs. Chong and get Jojo’s pants hemmed and have the zipper on one of my jackets replaced. It would leave my hubby and I time for more luxurious weekends. I’d browse the aisles of Costco, Trader Joe’s and Albertsons just to see what’s new and what’s fresh. Take my time instead of my usual rushing in and out of the supermarket with a grocery list in my hand and a mental map guiding me as I zigzag thru the aisles getting only what we need. I’d take some time to shop for new sheets, matching towels for the guest bathroom and throwpillows for our family room couch.

I’d clear out our overflowing closets and donate to Goodwill. I’d help out in our parish by joining the committee that collects children’s toys and books and brings them over to homes and shelters. I’ve always wanted to but can’t since they meet Wednesday mornings. I’d restart my bookclub and find time to meet with smart women and have intelligent conversations about good books. Hmm … speaking of books … I’d read a lot more, visit local libraries and volunteer in one of those after-school “storytelling for kids” programs. I’d take cooking classes – something exotic like Thai cooking – at our local community center. I’d take beading classes at Michaels and maybe a literature or child psychology class at the Torrance Community College.

I would have family and friends over – maybe a barbecue or even a dinner party. We haven’t had that in a while since just the thought of preparing for a party, cooking and after-party clean up is exhausting. I’d invite a girlfriend over for an afternoon of tea and gossip. Or prepare an “inuman” night for my hubby and his colleagues. I’d visit people I haven’t seen in a while, like my grad school classmates and professors. Or I’d spend the afternoon babysitting my nieces and nephews and make them Ghirardelli brownies. I’d spend time sitting on the porch with June (our elderly neighbor) who always has a warm smile and wave for me when I drive up.

It does sound idyllic … and I think it would totally work for me … at least for some time. I know myself and I have to admit that if I had this kind of lifestyle, it would be nice for a while and then it would drive me crazy. I’d have to have a part-time job … maybe something half day or three full days a week. Something to balance the “domesticity” of my idyllic life. No offense to housewives – but I need to have some sort of career where I interact with my peers, am challenged by projects and deadlines, and am still part of the working world. Not to say that housewives have none of that – since in their own way they work hard, smart and under lots of pressure too. Both my grandmothers, my mom and even my mother-in-law are examples of successful but very accomplished housewives. They are the perfect examples of domesticated divas who managed to have rich, busy and fulfilling lives.

Take my mom - she always has an impeccable home, good food on the table, is the perfect hostess, and is the personification of grace and charm. She is just as comfortable in a table surrounded by girlfriends gabbing about recipes and raising kids as she is in the company of my dad’s colleagues talking about finances and state of world affairs. But she also works on community livelihood projects, started a local school for the hearing impaired, was on every parent council committee in our schools, is on our company’s board of directors, and manages to raise 5 kids all at the same time. That’s the kind of “housewife” I want to be – and even more. Not just some lady of leisure who spends the day in country clubs, lunching with friends, shopping, getting massages and manicures. I want to be one that runs a happy household but still have purpose and meaning in my life. I still want to earn my own money and share in our household budget. I don’t want to be my husband’s servant – but I do want to take care of him. And sometimes, I want to be taken care of as well. I want to be a good mom – not by being a maid to my children – but by being there for them and being someone they can be proud of too. It’s a tall order. It’s idyllic. But possible … definitely possible.


jol said...

A journey of a thousand miles start with one small step. You can begin by looking for a part time job. Once you have this, you can slowly schedule the activites of a housewife that you want to indulge in. But let me tell you that it is not as easy as it seem as you got to be a jack of all trades and a master of everything!

Sareet said...

I think you'd be a great mom/housewife! When I was reading your post I thought - yep, that's exactly what I'd rather be doing than sitting here at work! Especially the "beading class" at Michael's and cleaning out the closets!