Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Laundry's in the Crock Pot and Dinner's in the Dryer - Can I Write Now?

It's been nine months since I retired and I still haven't morphed into the domestic goddess I envisioned becoming when I was home full-time. A rather large part of the problem is that I'm not home full-time, but an even bigger part of the problem has to do with my predisposition.

Since I spent nearly thirty years as a school counselor, you'd think that I'd be smart enough to have come up with this on my own, but that's not the case. I was reading the section on character development in Eddie Jones' book, A Novel Idea and running my character through the four areas he discusses when I realized I'd better throw in a load of laundry and toss dinner in the crock pot. As I stood at the kitchen counter chopping carrots and thinking of all of the more interesting things I could be doing with my time, the information about character creation flew through my mind again.

Of course I'm not a domestic goddess. I'm just not wired that way.

Embarrassed as I am to be seeing this as a revelation midway through my life, I do have a few things to say in my defense (you knew I would). I'll take a page out of Eddie's book (so to speak) and give it to you in snippets:
  • caretaker
  • mom
  • chief cook
  • overachiever with perfectionistic tendencies

No, that's not my character I'm describing - that's me. The first one and the second one are inextricably linked - at least in my world - and so the third bullet flows from the first two. When you mix those personality ingredients with the inevitable nesting periods that arise in the life of a family (first-time homeowner, pregnant lady), it's easy to see that there are plenty of times when I've played the role of a domestic something - a role that bullet #4 longs to elevate to goddess status.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

Much as I'm tempted some days to throw in the (clean) towel and ignore things like cooking and cleaning, I accept that they are part of the responsibilities I've undertaken as a wife and mother. But, since I'd much rather write books and blogs and articles (oh my!), those creative pursuits will always rise to the top, trumping what I see as the mundane tasks of chopping vegetables and sorting laundry.

Sometimes, I feel as though I should apologize for not wanting to do those things, and that feeling, combined with the bursts of nesting that insert themselves into family life from time to time, have clouded the picture for me, making it hard to accept that I will forever be only average in the domestic goddess wars.

But since I'm not going to change bullets one, two or three, I need to choose some areas in my life where I can let go of bullet #4. And since seeing me in an apron happily wielding a cookbook and a dust rag would be as jarring as one of those all these wires are worse than the apocalypse commercials, I think this is one of those areas. Just like the people in my books, I need to be true to who I am, and I am not a domestic goddess.

Thanks, Eddie (I think) for pointing that out.

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