Carlos finally finished a construction project, leaving him free to work in the garden, leaving me free to do all the domestic stuff I used to hate doing.
When he was working construction, I had to hire a babysitter and work in the garden. At first, it seemed perfect. I was pursuing my passion for organic farming and building our business. My kids were being taken care of by their sweet half-sister, forming a loving relationship.
But having grimy floors and dirty dishes in the sink started to get me. When my husband got home from construction, hungry, all I could offer was a quesadilla before sending him out to the fields. When I got done with my long day, there was nothing to eat, so we ended up getting tacos, or super burros, or more quesadillas. We had to buy more and more disposable diapers because I hadn’t washed the cloth diapers.
Worst of all, many times I’d be washing the dishes and a child would arrive, whining, hungry, needing me. And because I had a giant to-do list that I wanted to finish before the babysitter arrived and I left for the garden, I’d be short with him. “Grrrr, what to do you WANT?! I’m busy, I need to finish this. Go outside, leave me alone. NO!” And I’d hoist him up, set him outside, and slam the door.
So when he finished his project last Friday, I made a mental decision. I was going to be a stay at home mom and wife.
I started wearing skirts and dresses, everyday, even while mopping floors and hoeing weeds. I fashioned an apron out of an underused tablecloth. My new uniform felt totally disingenuous, but I was trying to send a clear signal, mostly to myself.
The strangest part is that dressing the part really made me act like the sweet, cheerful, industrious housewife I never wanted to be. I began asking my loved ones, in a singsong voice, if there was anything else I could get them.
When my babies approached me, needing something, I dropped whatever I was doing and tended to them. After their needs were filled, they would head back outside to play, and I could finish the task I had been doing, without the stress of whining children in the background.
The biggest change was that I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t have to finish domestic stuff quickly so that I could get to the “real” garden work. And that made me a happier person, which means I wasn’t short with my family. Wearing a dress seemed to slow me down as well. It changed my movements and attitudes to be more gentle and less aggressive, which is a good thing when my primary work is taking care of my children and my husband.
I realized that I don’t hate domestic duties. They’re actually enjoyable, and the repetitiveness of washing dishes and hanging laundry, when I’m not rushed, is just another way of meditating.
It’s been one great week. However, Carlos has a meeting with potential clients today, so I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep up my housewife act. At least we’ve started a conversation about it, and I’ve learned about what it means to really be a housewife, and we will see where life takes us!