Thursday, April 23, 2009
on being domestic
I'm reading the most fabulous book right now! The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I've been wanting to purchase it for forever and a little Easter money from Grandma sealed the deal. The book is even better than I imagined. I am roaring through it an alarming pace, and feeling very afraid that it will be over all too soon. But it is a book that I will pick up over and over again-whether it's to refer to a recipe or to look up Jane's list of domestic movies and books, or even just to look at the pictures. It's like having a favorite blog in book form that I can carry anywhere.
In reading the essays, I've had a lot of time to think on the very idea of domesticity as it applies to my life. My long time blog readers know that I was tossed (pushed, really) into the world of motherhood. It's a path I never in a million years thought I would take. If, six years ago, you would have told me that I would have a child and that I would leave my career and spend my days taking care of that child, I would have laughed in your face. And yet, here I am. And I wouldn't change a thing. My daughter's entrance into my life has resulted in a rediscovery of my creativity and my love of being domestic. Do I love to clean toilets? No! Do I love to putter around, playing with my daughter, baking, etc.? Yes. Some days more than others, but yes. And, after reading Jane's book, I'm realizing that it's okay for me to like this new life that has found me. That being a feminist isn't always about going to "work". It's about being able to chose my path in life. Whether it's a childless career woman, a working mother, or a stay-at-home mom, they all count. We are all making a difference and we should all be very happy that the generations of woman before us fought for us to have this choice. Too often, I see women taking sides. We judge each other for the decisions we have made. I will admit that I certainly judged stay-at-home moms when I was childless and working. And then I took a big dose of the humility pill and adopted the very lifestyle I once judged. It was a hard pill to swallow. In fact, it's taken me about 4 years to swallow it. To stop judging myself and thinking I'm wasting my life. You know the saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes? I've lived it and I can now embrace any choice a woman makes. I count my lucky stars that I have a husband who supports my choice both financially and emotionally. These days, spent raising my daughter, painting, cooking, and going on adventures will be the days I will treasure as an old woman.
As I step off my soapbox, I do want to say that the reason I like Jane's book so much is because the message isn't just for woman who stay at home. It's about finding ways to bring small domestic joys into your life in anyway you feel you can. It's about finding joy in the small, simple moments.