Thursday, March 12, 2009

Generation X Homemakers: We're NOT Your Mother's Mother

This week is the one year anniversary of my first blog post: Save the Homemakers. It's cool to look back on a full year, 258 posts, and see how I've grown as a parent and a writer. When I got married I wanted to be a super wife, and eventually a perfect mom. I had idealistic notions of what I could achieve. I planned to be the living, liberated embodiment of the 1950's stereotype.

When I was focusing on my career I was completely independent and I savored that freedom. The sacrifices I made were my choice. Then, when children came along I was tested to follow through on my lifelong personal promise to put that life aside and dedicate myself to them. This sacrifice was harder than I thought it would be, and it required some redefining and readjusting of perspective.

When I left work to stay at home, I got two reactions from others: envy or distaste. Some people would say, "Isn't it great to be at home with your children? Cherish it!" While others would frown and comment something like this: "What do you do all day? Aren't you bored?"


At first I resented the second comment, but over time I realized that in a sense, both ideas held some truth in the reality of the homemaker's life. Of course a person with an active brain, although she cherishes her children more than life, can not focus solely on raising them. It just is not healthy. One needs creative outlets, and other roles that enrich her life, or else she feels shriveled up and finally, invisible.


Thank God society has finally acknowledged the fact that women are intellectually equal to men. This is why today's homemaker looks nothing like your mother's mother. I'd like to brag that I have all of the qualities of my grandmother, but I think I'd be lying. There is something I lack as a homemaker in the 21st century: patience and submission.


I acknowledge that I need help, I need breaks, I need showers more than once a week, nice shoes and clothing sans drool stains to wear once in a while when I make a guest appearance in my role as my old self: Independent Well-Dressed Career Woman. I may stay at home, but my husband is expected to help me raise the children and it is not a societal faux pas, as it was for grandma.

Yes, I submit to my role as a mother and a wife happily, but I haven't put aside my creative dreams, passions, my personality. I am not a silly little housewife who gets into mischief, like the main character of I Love Lucy. I am a strong-willed person who needs to keep her brain busy. If I want to sing in the show, I'll do it, even if I don't get a chance to brush my teeth and arrive on stage with baby snot on my shirt.

Grandma ironed grandpa's tee shirts. This fact is a reminder that I will never be her. The truth is, I hate to iron. My husband accepts that and presses his own shirts. That's true love in the 21st century, my friends.

Picture is from annetaintor.com

9 comments:

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Amen! And, I don't iron either!

Putz said...

AND I DON'T IRON EITHER, EVEN WHEN KARMALEE MAKES ME

Kimberly Zook said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I kept saying this and nodding my head as I read your post today. This is exactly what I feel and have experienced, too (especially the shower part unfortunately).

For my daughter's first year of life we were living in British Columbia, and in Canada moms can take (and they almost all do) a one year maternity leave. So for the first 12 months I never knew any better.

Then we moved to VA and everywhere my daughter and I went I experienced either the envy or the "I'm glad it's not me stuck inside" type of mentality. And the stay-at-home moms I do meet usually ask me very quietly, very hesitantly if I stay at home with my daughter. I am proud that I do as well as very grateful. It's not always easy, but I treasure this opportunity.

I'm so thrilled to find your blog! Thanks for posting on mine. I'll be sure to add yours to my blogroll!

Loren Christie said...

Thank you Kimberly!

Angela said...

love, love, love your blog. In this post you put into words exactly how I feel and have felt the past 2 1/2 years. I have not wanted to lose myself and haven't thanks to a supportive husband, but at first after my son was born I felt I might. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

Milk Man said...

I wish it was 1955, Honey I have got the big bowling match tonight!

BPOTW said...

Thank goodness they make clothes out of fabric now that doesn't need ironing. There are so many more conveniences today that allow us, as homemakers, to be more productive than our grandmothers. We can cook a meal and publish a post at the same time. My goal is to learn how to cook like a grandma while being a 21st century technomom.

Wild Child said...

Enjoyed your gen X post. So much, I am sharing an award. Check it out, here.

Loren Christie said...

Thank you Wild Child! I'll post it this week coming up.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

Fondly,

Loren Christie

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