Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Liberation through housework

Check out a new video of Dan. I just learned how to use movie making software.

One of my least favorite mass media mom stereotypes is that of the woman who eschews the domestic arts and invokes Martha Stewarts' name to insult women who do (somewhat) enjoy domesticity. No, I'm not a Martha Stewart fan and cleaning isn't my favorite activity, but I like the results enough to sweep, vacuum and clean with a smile. Okay, a half-smile. As for the decorating, well, I'm aesthetically challenged and slightly color blind so I leave that up to Jim, oddly enough. And cooking ... I'm the biggest foodie you'll ever meet. I subscribe to a gardening and two food magazines, plan meals for two weeks out and wake up thinking about that evening's meal.

Now, I know that men can keep house just as well as women. My husband does more around the house than most men I know -- sorry to the men I know. But when it comes to creating that safe haven, that restful place we call home, well, that will always be "women's work."

And why shouldn't it be? When women liberated themselves from domesticity, it left no one home to create that soft place to land. We seem to have gone from pride in a clean home and well-nourished family to competing for the title of least domestically competent. I do not aspire to mediocrity just so I can participate in a game of one-downmanship with other women. I really don't need to fit so badly that I'll brag about how much laundry I have piled up, how little time I have to feed myself and my family and how tired and busy I am. There's nothing wrong with being proud of the work I do to ensure that my family is fed and our life is not hurried. (Jim does most of the laundry, by the way. And I've even learned to just let him mix whites and colors, since he doesn't mess with some of my finer clothes.)

Money isn't the only currency and the workplace isn't the only place women can garner respect. Actually, the only people I want or need respect from are the people who matter most - me, my husband and my son.

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