Sunday, October 31, 2010

Herky Jerky Turkey Lurkey

There's something to be said for the inane, humdrum tasks of housewifery when done in solitude.  Think sweeping, washing dishes, or in tonight's case, de-boning a turkey (Betty Crocker herself claims "Turkey  isn't just for Thanksgiving.  It's an any-meal, any-day, any-time-of-the-year kind of bird!"  And for 88 cents a pound, I'll take her up on the offer!).  Boring and annoying as these tasks may be, when done in solitude, they offer the woman a chance to ruminate.  A chance she doesn't get much any other time of the day, as she's constantly plagued by the desire (or demand) to meet the needs of those around her.  Mindless tasks give her the opportunity to fulfill both the needs of others--we all need clean floors and dishes, and someone's got to pick those little savory pieces of meat off the bones--and her need for peace.  Perhaps this opinion stems from my own introversion, but I do believe that everyone at sometime needs a chance to chew the cud.  So women, put the children to bed, let your husband watch the game, and get to picking.  After all, those morsels of meat are highly versatile and nutritious.

My, my, won't you be tasty in a sandwich!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I know I'm fakin' it

In pondering the question of motherhood loneliness, I have come to realize two things.

1.)  If I want to find other mothers with young children, I have to go to them.  They won't come to me.  Many stay-at-home-mothers are busy running their toddlers to activities such as Kindermusic, swim lessons, story hour, and tumble camp.  They have carefully arranged schedules, and plan play-dates with like-minded mothers. I do not.  I do pack the bags and head for the library each week for story time, and check out a week's supply of new books to entertain the kiddo, but my life doesn't revolve around him.  Not entirely, anyway.  Most women today stay home to take care of their kids.  I stay home to take care of my home--the bathrooms, the laundry, the dishes, the floors, the dinners, the husband, and the child.  I feel just as much obligation to scrub my toilet and wash the windows as I do the change the diapers and put my son down for a nap.  Therefore, I need to spend the majority of my time at my home.

2.)  Friendships will be difficult for me, because I'm becoming increasingly weird.  On top of my uber-conservative Lutheran values, I've been influenced by the Wendell Berry school of thought.  I dream of raising chickens and pigs, and canning the vegetables I've grown in our garden.  I intend to homeschool my children, and am skeptical of current trends in higher-education and women wearing pants.  I've planned to teach my daughters the womanly art of housekeeping, sewing, and cooking, and my sons to be wood-chopping, door-holding gentlemen. Add to that my opposition to feminism and birth control, and you've got yourself a certified weirdo.  Well, at least a certified weirdo in the works.

But for right now, and probably for the next couple years, I can fake it.  We have no chickens, pigs, or garden.  My child is too young to swing an ax or go to school, and I only have one.  I attend story hour because I have time to do that and the dishes.  The inner weirdo is covered up by what appears to be your run-of-the-mill stay-at-home-mom, gallivanting off to toddler events, chit-chatting with other moms, and desperately wishing for a play date.  But soon enough that weirdo will come shining through- either in words or actions or number of children, and I won't be able to contain her.  Perhaps by then, she'll really be stuck at home dictating sentences and boiling jars for homemade jam so that she has no time to ponder her loneliness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Epitome of Oppression

The May issue of Parenting: Early Years  included a rather ironic article boasting a plethora of "guilt-free indulgences."  Some were fine, including "Make an evening phone date with a long-distance friend."  But most of them included spending money on something pretty, or getting someone else to take care the children while you indulged in day spas, exercise, or the recorded shows you've missed.  A couple advised getting someone else do your husband's work for you- either hiring a handyman for the day, or having a "celeb hottie" give you a phone call.  One particularly twisted bit of guilt-ridden pleasure suggested using a child's gift card to buy yourself something fun. (Oh let me count the commandments we've broken thus far!)

By far, my favorite, was this:  "Delegate one chore permanently and irrevocably to Dad, like signing up the kids for sports teams, or emptying the lint trap in the dryer.  Know that you will never, ever do it again (and let him know it, too.)"

Perhaps I don't do enough laundry, but I never thought emptying the lint trap was so difficult or oppressive that I ought to delegate it to my husband.  I fear it would cause more confusion and delay than anything.  I picture myself sitting on the couch with baskets of wet clothes strewn about the house when he walks in the door from work.  "Honey," I would ask, "would you please go empty the dryer vent so I finally get these clothes dry?"  Or maybe the idea is that by delegating the lint trap, I've also delegated the drying of the clothes.  "Honey, while you're down there cleaning out the trap, why don't you just start the clothes in the dryer? And how about throwing those towels in the wash as well? Use a hot cycle, please!"

No, no, no.  I fear the best solution to the dilemma is to just do it myself, with the rest of the laundry.  Who better to clean the clothes and prevent house-fires than the person who is here all day, every day, and is fully capable of running her finger across the little screen to remove the loathsome lint?

Despotic lint trap, you shall be defeated!