I am not a perfect homemaker! There I have said it! I don’t mean it in a demeaning manner in which many people look down upon housekeeping as lowly. On the contrary, I believe that it is continuous toil and perseverance that keep your home looking sparkling and organized. More often than not I have struggled with it. It is another issue that I have made peace with my own abilities and disinterest . There have been times in the past especially when I was a new homemaker when I felt positively small because my skills were no match to some other superwomen I saw. I have never ever been interested in arranging things, cleaning up, doing dishes or folding clothes. My only redeeming homemaking skill is cooking. I genuinely enjoy it and prefer to do it myself. But tell me to dust, clean, organize and mop and I feel a deep malaise coming on. Now in another Universe, it would be perfectly fine not to enjoy these chores or be good at them. But in this life, of a woman and a wife, I am supposed to be effortless at them when in fact, I have no interest in them.
Especially for other women. I have rarely come across a man unless it is your husband to care about your housekeeping skills. In the initial year or two of marriage, I actually learned housekeeping from my husband. Yes, you can close your mouth, dear! True. Blame it to lack of interest and practice in my own home. While mom handled the home with the househelp, we kids actively engaged in keeping up the clutter. Cut to marriage and USA.
The first thing that hit me was the lack of maid. This was a complete nightmare. But having a new husband helped a lot. You know how very patient we are when we are in the throes of young love. So he with the most observant eyes that my younger son has inherited helped me spot dust and clean correctly looking for dirt and grime in hidden places. Slowly, I started handling things better and was able to manage the chores even though I loathed them. The two of us helped each other in cooking, cleaning and doing chores.
But what used to instil fear in me was having people over especially women. They have laser eyes and can spot sometimes a speck of dirt from a mile. Some of them kept their homes so clean that you could almost eat off their kitchen platform while poor me huffed and puffed and somehow kept it clean. A thing or two out of place did not make me go into a mini heart attack and that is the honest truth. I wonder why some people stress so much over that and drive everyone around them nuts.
So, I was nervous around women especially the adept homemakers which were in an overwhelming large number. Back in India and with maids again, I realized that there is still a lot of housekeeping that I had to do. How does so much dust come into our homes every day? Add to it, I have two kids now who love to strew things around. That makes me so mad. I hate picking up after people and as the husband would vouch for, the looks I give could kill! Yet they continue to test me and my patience.
But then as years passed I witnessed a change in myself. I actually became more comfortable in my skin and less needy to fit in. I somehow mingled with women for whom a lived-in house was not a mirror about a woman’s existential skills. A stray woman or two with a random blunt comment was ignored or replied to niftily. The husband and kids were not overwhelmingly fussy. I know of women whose husbands while not lifting a finger around the house are very ‘particular’ about how the house should be kept. This baffles me utterly because the house belongs to everyone in the family. If you find something amiss, just correct it, wouldn’t you say? Why yell at the top of the house till the wife scrambles in and does it? Such is the conditioning of some folks!
Anyhow, so yes, with the help of maids, I do a pretty decent job of keeping the house. The kids help me too. But still sometimes I struggle with clutter or keeping up with all the organizing. I no longer think of myself as a poor homemaker though but nothing earthshattering either.
Even though my idea of detoxing is not washing dishes or cleaning the house, it does not make me a lesser woman. Period!