A Little House-Wife’ng on the Prairie

Oil painting of a scullery maid by Jean-Simèon...

Image via Wikipedia

There is a reason why women abandoned the kitchen in droves once the combined effects of modern conveniences and access to the workplace kicked in. And that reason?

Kitchens are the equivalent of salt mines. Backache inducing, mind-mushing and mostly unappreciated work.

Subtracting the last bit for myself personally because my husband appreciates enormously and often, the aching back and low-level of intellectual stimulation will not induce many of my gender back to the scullery no matter how Home Depot dresses it up.

Today I baked, laundered, raked and tidied.

For hours.

And I am not a pioneer homemaker or even my Grandmother. Despite my personal fetish of mixing up foodstuff from scratch, my wifely arsenal includes an industrial mixer, an oven that doesn’t require the need to stoke it with wood (that would need to be chopped), a microwave, a blender, a food processor and a dishwasher (which praise be to my husband is installed and in service again). And still, the morning and a goodly chunk of afternoon later saw me just finishing and not even close to cleaning or yard-work.

Here’s where the feminists – married some, but mostly single – chime in, “Where is your husband? Division of labor violation alert!”

But he was mixing cement and applying scratch coat to the sides of the house, and seriously, labor division is an illusion. Always was and continues to be this fantasy that ruins more relationships than it should.

Reality is that Rob tends to the big house things – like siding, roofing, knocking out walls, installing hardwood and all things mechanical, electrical and plumbing related. I make the trains run on time, which isn’t glamorous or easy to point a finger directly at most days but necessary none the less.

And I teach yoga. Which is fun and good for me besides while Rob girds up to head back to literally dig a salt mine at a nearby chemical plant. It is neither fun nor good for him – as his recent heart attack attests to.

The point then? There isn’t one aside from the obvious, which is that fair is an ebb/flow thing, and when one gets all bean-counterish about it – joy is naturally sucked right out of one’s  existence.

There is nothing overwhelmingly odious about modern life that probably isn’t self-inflicted by unrealistic expectations that are imposed on us from the outside.

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