When the subject of your blog is you, I think you have to bring something new every now and then to keep people interested. That’s right YOU. Get on it. You’re boring me.
This is one of the writing pet peeves I get on my students about. We use the pronoun “you” to mean “one” or “people in general.” As a writing teacher, I will often write in the margin, “But we’re not talking about me, so leave me out of it.”
My blog is about me and my life. I’m a teacher, wife, mother, sister and friend. My life is pretty typical for a middle-aged mother of two: tedious. So, new this season on “Mrs. Odie 2 -Like You, Only Funnier”: Flourish, The Housewife Project.
Today was the first day of school for teachers at my workplace. Naturally, I showed up, cleaned out my room and turned in my keys. You see, I’m on leave. From August 25-January 27, I will be a stay-at-home-mom. A SAHM, if you will. I did this once before when Viva was an infant. And I kind of blew it.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a good mother. I nursed my daughter exclusively from the breast (mostly the right one which was freakish and giant) for 20 months, and quickly met her needs for love, stimulation, play, socialization, warmth and cheap clothing from Target. I joined on-line and real-life mommy groups and read books about sleep.
What I sucked at was being a housewife. I’m a feminist, but there are traditional bones in my body as well. As a working woman, I expect to be responsible for half of the chores and half of the child-rearing while Odie picks up the remainder. As a SAHM, on the other hand, I expect to take on much more housework including shopping, cooking and yardwork. I didn’t do a good job of this last time. I longed for a second chance. Fate (in the form of a supportive husband and boss and a year of saving money) has given it to me.
There is only a 35% chance I will screw it up again. 45%? Let’s call it 40.
I have approximately 20 weeks of housewife-ness and many plans for how to spend it. There will be cleaning. There will be organizing. There will be dinners cooked and desserts baked. I’m not going to lie. Cakes may be frosted. You may see a before and after photo spread or two.
I want to be realistic. I have a high needs baby. She cannot stand to be put down. She mostly cannot stand to be held still. She barely makes it through bouncing on my hip while I make coffee in the morning. Not interesting enough! She wails. There are some naps during the day, though, and that’s when I must make my move. Errands will be a challenge. She hates the car. Viva hated the car too, but this is different. On the way home from my work site today, Pringles screamed like I have never heard a baby scream. It was the kind of sound that makes you check the back seat to make sure she isn’t being questioned by the Spanish Inquisition.
I’m planning to have both daily chores and daily projects. Tidying and deeper cleaning. My obstacles will be equal parts inertia and filth. We are not housekeepers. This is a big job. Often in a relationship, the partners balance each other. One is clean and the other is sloppy. Odie and I are both sloppy.
And there are so many wonderful things to watch on tv. This 20 weeks may be my only chance to be a SAHM with my infant daughter, the last baby I’ll ever have, but it’s also my only time to sit on the couch and snuggle the last baby I’ll ever have! Even while I am determined to make this baby a crib sleeper instead of a co-sleeper, I am dreaming of in-arms naps where I gaze lovingly at her perfect little face (and watch new episodes of “The Good Wife,” “Parenthood,” “Survivor,” “Dexter” … you get the idea).
I will balance my home projects with baby outings and fitness. I live near the Rose Bowl and I want to put Pringles in the Ergo and walk around it with the other pedestrians, cyclists, and dog enthusiasts. Southern California weather is another thing I don’t want to take for granted during this time.
Making these plans is easy. Following through is hard, a theme in my life for decades. This will be an adventure in following through for me. It is my last year in my thirties. I’m not overly sad about that (yet), but I don’t want to spend another decade not living up to my own ideals. I want to FLOURISH in my skin and in my life. I hope you join me for the journey.
And hope it’s not just a journey to my couch with the remote control.