Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whither Housewifery

I am a housewife? I cringe as I type because the term makes me think of submissive women, patriarchal families, cooking in heels and pearls and some sort of implied and unattainable household order that could drive one to the cooking wine. If one was gauche enough to buy "cooking wine."

Homemaker seems too passé and just a wee bit frumpy. Most people would call me a stay-at-home mom or, even worse, a soccer mom. Those titles suggest, however, that my life revolves exclusively around my child and my days are spent in a minivan shuttling from school to class to play date to grocery store without a thought about anything else.

I do not have a minivan.

I do have a child, a husband, a home and two part-time, paying jobs in addition to my roles as cook, maid, laundress, gardener, teacher, and whatever else comes my way. This does not make me a hero, but a dynamic woman very similar to many other interesting, educated women I know who also juggle their children, marriages, hobbies, housework, and sometimes careers with an eye to keeping it all together and making a home.

Thus, I wonder if it's time to bring back the concept of housewifery: the work or function of a housewife; housekeeping. Maybe it's time for some word that captures the many roles and jobs held by the many women I know. And the time and talent it takes to keep house and make it a home, which I do embrace as my main job.

These are my musings on the balance between being me, keeping house and the life of a modern mom in Northern Virginia.

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