That’s right. I said it! I’m a housewife. No frills, no excuses. The strange thing is, I’m proud to have that title attached to my name. In a world where we women work so hard to define ourselves by what we do, or are capable of, or better yet, what we’ve achieved, we have lost the splendid realization that creating and maintaining a home is an incredible feat. One to rejoice about, not shy away from.
I spent most of the last ten years doing just that. Defining myself through self-perceived successes. Now don’t misunderstand, I’m proud of my achievements-I’m just broken-hearted that until recently I devalued my status as housewife. I thought that when people heard me say that I stay at home with my daughter, they silently judged. Mainly because I am a nurse, with a license I have yet to use. But that is only one of the things that makes me whole; not the sum total of parts.
As my husband so simply put it the other day, “women are nesters”. In this mashup of DNA, we all seem to have inherited the brooding instinct. Yes, like the hens, we are so condescendingly compared to, we are broody. We nest. We lovingly await our child to “hatch” and come forth into the world. And ladies, we cackle. It’s no secret that we cluck and coo with one another over our husbands, our children, our jobs-but we never cackle over the home. It’s no laughing matter. And although I’m serious about my nest building, I’m discovering the joy in doing so and of sharing my misadventures with the other hens in the henhouse.
There is nothing more astounding to me than my ability to become a “jack of all trades”. In the past year I’ve learned to can and preserve fruits and vegetables, change cloth diapers, split and chop firewood, and fo some rudimentary hemming on a sewing machine. In the past six months I’ve created a successful sourdough starter that yielded delightful loaves from flour & water, taken up knitting, and cooked with whole grains I never thought I’d learn to pronounce. I only hope to make cheese by the year’s end! I’m on to bigger and better things. I want to know everything and there is freedom in that- more independence than being alone and successful while giving to noone! I only hope to acquire the knowledge to be a master gardener, food dehydrator, sweater knitting machine, chicken tender (not the snack food), and beekeeper. I’ve surpassed my own expectations. In my moment of death I hope to be surprised.
And the best part is, I gave so many phenomenal examples to learn from. There are ladies so selfless I cannot imagine. Women teaching daughters to sew and make handmade bagels. I have an old high school friend who has transformed her mountain home into a cave of wonders for her “husband” and son. A woman I met here has mastered the art of baking in a toaster oven. My sister inspires me daily in her seemingly seamless relationship with her daughter that rides the line between disciplinarian and friend while awaiting a husband deployed in the military. And there are countless others. I’m joining the ranks unashamedly and imploring, no, encouraging you to do the same. Raise those knitting needles, hatchets, spatulas, diaper pins highand sing ladies. Let’s sing!