Thursday, 25 April 2013

Undomestic goddess

I eat choclate...I don't cook it!
Along life’s journey and particularly in my middle years, I’ve finally given myself the permission to be myself. This means conducting lengthy self-analysis sessions in the quiet moments also known as relaxation or emptying my mind.

You can’t hide from your true self or pretend to be something you’re not forever and  being what we’re not is what tends to happen in our active life as we conform to social and professional expectations.. I’ve been a big time people pleaser which has led to the false impression that I enjoy domesticity.

That’s a  misconception. That said, I do like to be organised, clean, creative, eat healthily, cook up a storm (now and then) and keep a budget. Where I fall short is that I cannot do those things in their entirety. Parts of my home are organised and clean, parts of me are creative,  I endeavour to eat consciously (except when apple pie and custard’s on the menu!), cooking is a forced mundane and budgeting  a challenge. I’m imperfect and domesticity doesn’t particularly thrill me.

Of course stability is still attractive……and a white, picket fence with roses around the door with a loving partner to share the good and bad times remains on my wish list.  But I’m not ungrateful for the place that life has brought me as I know myself a lot better than I used to.

Post divorce, I have undomesticated myself enough to not feel guilty for:


·         Staying in my pj’s on Sunday morning through to the afternoon

·         Saying “no”

·         Watching silly movies

·         Chatting to friends on the phone

·         Uncontrollable laughter

·         Relaxing in the garden with a cute bunny for company

·         having a healthy social life

·         Watching the sky at night

In the undomesticated state, the only “have to” is breathing; the rest is second-hand flotsam and jetsam. What other people think and say doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

Domesticity is  anathema to spontaneity. When you’re fully house trained, you buy into routines:

Washing, dusting, folding, scrubbing, polishing, chopping, peeling, boiling, bowing and scraping and stirring yourself into a heap of tedium and ennui. Yes, you might as well jump into the casserole and languish in the greasy juice!

Okay, it’s dull…but someone’s got to do it…..but why you?!

In a partnership of two, equal distribution of labour is necessary if harmonious relations are to be maintained. If chores are loaded on to just one person – the responsible one – then a divide occurs.

“Love me and leave the dishes dirty” is not a recipe for success.

I’m not domestic and yet I’m not inactive. I just prefer not to invest too much of my time in the kitchen. In fact, I’d like to the kitchen to be re-named as the social zone. Food is social and clearing up afterwards  more sociable. Life becomes more fluid when you don’t get stuck in the rut of clearing up, tidying and putting supper on for the ingrates, known as family!

Cath Kidston, the successful interior designer, has said that she would hate to be “a housewife” and I agree. Ms Kidston saw, in her own mother’s experience, that a woman is vulnerable if she doesn’t earn her own money. This I don’t dispute since I also was reliant on a man to “take care of business” for 22 years.  My mother also landed herself in the hapless situation known as marriage. The paradox is that Ms Kidston has earned a fortune by selling a range of polka-dotted and pretty floral homewares. The designs invoke nostalgia and hark back to a more innocent age when a woman’s worth was tied into her domestic abilities. Thank goodness I’ve broken the mould and I’ll work hard to prevent my daughter being chained to the kitchen sink.

In some relationships,  women (and some men) are little above a decorative object. Naturally, some objets d’art are valued and polished, some are unloved and left to gather dust and my experience was much like a Cath Kidston floral tea towel. I looked good, had some practical uses and spent a lot of time in the kitchen feeling lousy. If tea towels could speak they’d complain about being tossed aside after someone’s wiped their hands on them, I’m sure!

I don’t like kitchens. They’re functional spaces no doubt but I only like to look – not touch – them.
I'm allergic to kitchens

I enjoy a home cooked meal but the taste is always better when you haven’t spent time slaving over a hot stove yourself. I’m a prima donna girl – yes!-  and I want the world – far from the madding kitchen!





At 1 June 2013 at 00:18 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The domestic thing was never going to be my forte!


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