But I’m Not a Housewife!

Domestic Bliss, Eventually

Archive for Housework

Blog Confession Number Three: Someday I Hope to Cook Again

I’ve really fallen off the cooking wagon. I guess I’m just incredibly overwhelmed. I’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and I’m having chronic tension headaches. My headaches are confined to the muscles of my scalp – for those of you who aren’t sure if there really are muscles up there, I assure you – they’re there! I suppose this is an improvement over the excruciating jaw that pain I used to get when I let stress overtake me, but it’s still no fun. I think I need a new pillow.

Moving on, I was up in the night again tossing and turning and I felt really overwhelmed by life.

Wait, before I regale you with the thoughts that press on me in the night, let me continue with the original purpose of this post: I want to start cooking again. I’ve found a couple of recipes on new blogs (new to me) that I’m interested in trying. 

Tico Tilapia with Gallo Pinto, by My Sphere of Domesticity ~This one is nice because fish is the only meat I eat, but I need courage to buy it and cook it. It helps to know that others are doing it too.

Cake aux Olives et au Jambon, by Dedene of Soyez le Bienenvenue Chez Moi, in yesterday’s post: How much do I hate housework?, ~ I like this because it’s a quick bread and has olives in it. I’ve been craving olive bread. Don’t eat ham though….

So I’ll be sure and let you know if I ever, ever make these dishes. (Let’s hope so.)

Back to my insomniac worries. It’s always something you know? We’ve gotten two tickets in the past two days because I didn’t realize that my car registration was expired. ARGH! (Now we are cleverly parking the car in back of our house where the cops can’t see it, take that! – We used to park there all the time until we realized that we would rather park on the street and avoid our crummy neighbors, than park in our shared lot.) We already have stupid bills that we shouldn’t even owe, because try as I might, I just can’t NOT get screwed over by phone and cable companies! They hate me! The bills are just growing and growing and I’m not working full time….

But then I decided I’m not going to let this defeated feeling drag me down. One thing I’ve learned in life, that I find hard to remember, is that life is equally horrible and wonderful at the same time all the time. It’s really your choice which side of it to see. 

So I choose to bring my self back up! I choose to believe that life is really very easy! I mean, I get to wake up most days and choose what to do with my day. The whole bill thing is simple, really – start paying them off! Spending money on bills doesn’t have to feel this terrible. I can apply myself and work out a budget, I do have a master’s degree for goodness sake!

And on that note. I don’t have to feel dragged down about the state of my kitchen, or the fact that I don’t cook anymore. I choose to be positive. I’m going to clean and I’m going to cook….someday.

Another Reason to Avoid Doing Housework

Yikes! I’m sure you’re all familiar with the studies which show that women are still earning less than men, or the studies which demonstrate the supposed monetary value of a housewife, but a Vanderbilt professor of law and economics, Joni Hersch, has found that housework decreases the earnings of both men and women. That is, the more hours a woman spends on housework, the lower her hourly wage will be, regardless of her profession outside the home.

You can read the story here:

Women’s and Men’s Earnings Hurt by Housework

I suppose that’s why such successful career-holding mothers as Caitlin Flanagan, and Penelope Trunk have – or have had – nannies, cleaning services, and “House Managers.” (And by the way, when Penelope Trunk announced that she hired a House Manager, her reader response was off the charts. People do NOT like a working mom who can afford such luxuries. Surprisingly, of her 175 commentors, it was the men and fathers who were most supportive of her decision.)

I think the moral of the story is that you cannot have it all – there will always be a trade-off.

Family Friendly Workplace Measures

Here is an article from the LifeAndStyle section of the Sunday Morning Herald (an Australian newspaper) about housework divisions between men and women. It’s related to an issue that I worry a lot about – and it’s not the fact that men are doing less housework that bothers me. These days households often require two incomes to survive and workplaces simply do not have modifications that allow women to work in ways that don’t take away from their families and children.

Mothers Still bearing the brunt of housework

“If there’s been a big push in family friendly measures in the workforce, it’s not showing up in the workloads of families,” Dr Craig said.

One More Thing Tonight…

Another quote from a respondent to this query on Ask MetaFilter:

Have a look at Flylady’s site. Remember, cleaning is Flylady’s life (at least professionally), so of course she’s more into it than anyone you ever met. You’re not going to want to do everything she suggests. However, she’s comfortable (as you and I are not) with an immutable truth: A reasonably tidy home requires that certain things be done periodically. You don’t have to follow her schedule, but see if you can come up with one of your own. If you can pay your bills or get yourself to a gym on a regular basis, you can do the same for laundry. (Red emphasis mine.)
posted by MollyNYC at 6:55 PM on October 24, 2006

But you see MollyNYC, I can’t manage those things! That’s precisely the problem!!!

I’ll address this more tomorrow.

The State of My Kitchen Today

 Okay, here we go. I went back and forth for quite a while about whether I could bear to actually post pictures of my dirty house. But then I read this paragraph by Rebecca Blood in The Weblog Handbook:

Weblogs Build Self-Awareness

It is impossible to write down your thoughts every day without noticing what you are thinking.

A blogger who complains weekly that she is tired of her job will begin, eventually, to enumerate the particular circumstances that make her so miserable. Writing the same thing over and over, she will confront the problems she is not addressing and be moved to make a change. Looking back, she will find a recorded, however informal, of the progress of her life.

And I realized, that’s exactly why I started this blog in the first place. To become more aware of my cleaning problem and to make changes. After all I stated in Day One that this was a self-intervention. Well interventions cause you to face your demons truthfully and to allow others to see them too. And the final reason: What do we blog readers often value about blogs? Honesty!

So here we go – My Kitchen!

Not so terrible at first sight, I think.

And now, a closer up of the sink (I’m not ready yet for full zoom). So full to the brim with dishes that we can’t even reach the faucet. The towels hanging willy-nilly from the cupboard and the oven are so not clean and fresh. That white thing is an up-turned colander in the the too-tiny dish drainer that we erroneously bought because our counter is so small. Next to it is the food processor, which doesn’t really fit in the cupboard. There are dirty pans on the stove, and you don’t even want to see the surface of it up close. I promise you.

Next, Let’s take a closer look at that little table that serves as counter space in our cute but tiny little Victorian house:

Dirty coffee cups, the paper towel roll which has no home, an empty can of soda and two empty bottles of beer. Several used coffee mugs. The Tupperware container from lunch. A bag of coffee, Nutella, peanut butter, bread, and a plate and spoon from my husbands breakfasts throughout the week. A bottle opener. Packets of soy sauce from the take-out the night before. And some dirty towels.


And in the final photo you can see our espresso machine is perched on top of the toaster oven for lack of a better place. It used to rest on those two collapsing boxes full of dishes that we have no room for that have been sitting there since we moved in because they served as counter space. On top is a wooden bread bowl that used to sit atop the toaster oven until making espresso became to difficult when the boxes started sagging.

After deciding to post these photos, I read Joy in housework? on MetaFilter. It was excellent and made me laught because that’s precisely my problem right now. I hate, dread, and fear housework. I don’t know how to do it right/well and hence, I find it incredibly overwhelming.

One of the respondents to the query posted this:

Certain behaviours can encourage more mess. Don’t put dirty crockery into the sink, it means that the sink is now mostly unavailable for other washing, and that pot you may have rinsed out now sits to the side and goes unwashed. posted by tomble at 8:00 PM on October 23, 2006

How true! Just look at my sink!

The funny thing is, I am pretty sure that I will clean up this mess tomorrow after having catalogued it in this way. I won’t clean it perfectly, but I’ll take a stab at it.