I am embracing my inner housewife…But first, some background.
Whether it is because I was educated at an all girls school, or studied gender studies at Melbourne University, or simply because I am a product of my generation, the thought of being a housewife has never appealed to me. To spend the day at home, cleaning, hanging out with a baby, day after day, for me is not do-able. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly admire those who can do it…I think you have to have remarkable patience, and a very grounded nature to be able to enjoy it. But I am way too edgy…like a racehorse ready to race, I wake in the morning, make my cup of tea, and from there it’s go go go. I have various projects in motion, and relish the opportunity to be able to sit down at a computer for 10 minutes to nut away at one. When Elka was first born, I sat on the gym ball with her in the hug-a-bub and wrote a manual on Foot Skin and Nail Care for TAFE (yes, I am an expert in that field, apparently!) And the rest of the time, I was walking into town to see Greg, or visiting a friend, or going to my mum’s group, or going to the beach, or driving to see my mum, etc etc etc. I think my average was one whole day at home a fortnight, and that is probably a generous average.
The other thing, and I have mentioned this before, is that I don’t like cleaning. Who does, I suppose. But I am generally unbothered by mess, which clean people generally aren’t. My grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law, my adopted Spanish grandma…these ladies know how to keep a house clean. And me…as hard as I try (not very hard), it just never seems to stay tidy.
But apparently, all this was the old me. The new me is wearing an apron, washing up directly after every meal, sweeping the floor twice a day, carpet sweeping at least once, putting on a load of washing first thing in the morning, folding and putting it away before bed…Greg still does the cooking because he enjoys it so much, but seriously, I think I am developing the clean gene! And not only that, I am developing the wonderful capacity to be able to stay at home all (ok, most) of the day with my darling daughter and enjoy every minute. Yes, I have the occasional peak at Facebook on the Blackberry, but mostly my little girl is entertainment enough! Actually, the trick is, just getting on and doing things. Like this morning, when I first woke up, after my cup of tea, I made Elka a sweet little fabric hat. She has reached the wonderful age of being able to sit and play on her own, so happily, for a long time. She tootles around with dollies and books and fake phones. Occasionally she comes to see what I am doing, but then goes back to her little world. Frankly, I love it. I love the little creative world she is inventing, and I love the freedom we both have.
I diverge slightly here from the original topic, to tell you about a day on the beach with a friend and her child. My friend played with great enthusiasm with her gorgeous boy all afternoon – stimulating his imagination and his play with wonderful little stories and images. I stood by Elka, feet in the water, while she played in the sand. I just let her go, and she seemed happy enough. It’s hard to say if there is a right or wrong way of doing things, but I definitely recognised my mother and my grandmother in me that afternoon. The type to stand aside, as the children play and invent a world of their own. As a child, I spent hours sitting in the hollow of a giant olive tree at the base of our property where the king and the family of bears and others lived. Of my early childhood memories, I can only remember the ones where I played alone in my imaginary world. Some parents are highly stimulating, and some are are less so. I am certainly the latter. Whilst I love sitting down with Elka for some quality time in the garden or with a book, I sleep next to her every night, and I sit with her for every meal, I also love the space we both have to do our own thing.
So the crux is, my inner housewife has found her groove. I can happily spend a lot of time at home these days. There is no urgency to jet out and stay busy. And the other fabulous outcome is that on the whole, my house is pretty tidy. And strangely I am wishing more and more for it to stay that way.