Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Domestic By Choice

Published at The Mirror Magazine on Monday

Yesterday, I set aside 30 minutes to write up a chore list for our townhouse. I had previously scoured Pintrest for hours, looking for one that would give me an idea of even how to go about setting up a chore list. And yet, nothing compared with my very own list that encapsulated our very own cleaning needs.

My first kitchen, on the even of destruction
When I lived with my family, my parents split up the house into sections. Between six kids, we could usually keep it tolerable. When I lived by myself, the apartment was so tiny that anything out of place would cause a cleaning frenzy to ensue. Now, I live with my husband and I waddle around at 33 weeks pregnant, cleaning sporadically because I forget what I was doing once I leave the room to put something away. Not always, but it can certainly feel that way. I needed a list, and I'm a happier lady today to have it.

Are women born domestic? Or do they have domesticity thrust upon them? I used to think I wasn't domestic, because people told me so. In a similar thread, I thought my mom wasn't domestic either. And so the quote from Albert Einstein now floats through my head: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." The same with domesticity.

Last night, I made burgers and fries (from little red potatoes), with a side of avocado, tomato and cucumber salad  (slice and dice, and add olive oil, salt and pepper!). It was all as delicious as it sounds, and I got two thumbs up from our dinner guest and my husband. I was very content as well. For dessert, we had a peach and blueberry pie that I made on Saturday. It was much less complicated than I've ever been led to believe about making pies, especially if you're willing to use store-bought crust.

I called my mom to remind me how long to cook the burgers and potatoes, and at what temperature. She said it off the top of her head, out of her brilliant mind. My mom is a nurse and a cancer specialist, and works for one of the best hospitals in Cincinnati and is at the top of her field. I may be the writer of the family, but she's written more articles and book chapters, and edited for science journals and books. My mom may not be a sous chef, but she always keeps us fed and happy; she kept order; she kept the house decorated for various holidays. And I realize how unfair I've been to my mom about not teaching me how to properly iron, or make a bed more neat, or even cook more so I wouldn't fly into a panic every time someone suggested I fix a dish. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and we shouldn't see women as less domestic because theirs happens to fall into the household category. She always made due, at the very least.

My mom and her holiday vest on my sister's birthday!
What my mom did teach me was how to edit correctly, and how to edit your own work ruthlessly; how to multi-task; the necessity of keeping a calendar; how to be gracious and open to inviting people over to your home, whether it be for dinner or the weekend; how to be a strong woman with strong values.

And perhaps the greatest thing she taught me is to not sweat the small stuff, make due with what you have, if you have a problem then-figure-it-out, value the time you have with family and friends, and say "I love you" often. We're also a hugging family, so the more hugs the better.

When I have my first baby, my mom is going to come 13 hours south to be with us for two weeks. She'll help cook and clean, run laundry, hold the baby, let me sleep and make us all laugh. She may not be overly-domestic, but she's domestic enough, and by choice, and that makes all the difference.

1 comment:

  1. It is true that no matter your "natural giftings", oftentimes you have to choose those things in which it is important to excel.