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A Job ... Done

Mother holding child (21-24 months) whilst ironing in laundry room, mid section
Photograph by ThinkStock

Time to face facts: I’m a housewife. I know the term has come to sound vaguely derogatory, but are the modern euphemisms any better? Stay-at-home mom? Hardly: I spend my days running from one school to the next to the market to the park to the play date. My husband’s the one at home (albeit running his marketing business). Homemaker? I’m not crazy about that label either; I feel that it sets too high of a standard.

The truth is I feel like Sisyphus when it comes to “keeping house.” It seems that the majority of my time at home is spent cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, recovering misplaced objects, packing lunches and then cleaning some more. Yet I don’t feel as if I do any of it particularly well: My cooking isn’t that great. My house isn’t that clean.

As far as housekeeping goes, I’ll admit that I’m more of a “straighten up” kind of gal.

It’s not that I’m a bad cook; I just have the special privilege of cooking for two especially picky eaters, so I sometimes end up preparing three completely different meals for lunch and/or dinner. Not surprisingly, they all often end up being pretty mediocre. It’s hard to be invested in making any dish that you know your family isn’t going to sit down and enjoy together.

As far as housekeeping goes, I’ll admit that I’m more of a “straighten up” kind of gal. If it looks cleanish and we don’t have a bug problem, I figure it’s good enough. Because honestly, between the sporadically incontinent dog, the free-roaming toddler, the kindergartner with a stuffed-daily backpack, and the well-meaning but not-especially-fastidious husband, I would drive myself insane trying to keep the house spotless. But even the seemingly simple tasks of clearing dishes, picking up toys and keeping “stuff” from accumulating on various surfaces sometimes feels like a Herculean effort. (Am I being too liberal with my references to mythological figures?) The mess just NEVER STOPS.

Still, pretty much every day I can say that I prefer this job to the one I left after my first child was born. And that’s because of the other meaning of the word “homemaker”: I’m creating the most nurturing and stimulating environment possible for my children. Unswept floors and bland meals aside, this home is a safe and loving place for our family. And in that sense, we certainly have it made.

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