The Reluctantly Domesticated

March 3, 2010 at 2:40 PM 7 comments

Here’s the thing – “domestic” used to be a four-letter word to me. Stay home? Clean? Not WORK? Kill me slowly, just not as slowly as the domesticated life.

And after months and months of a lifestyle that bears absolutely no similarities to the one I lived prior, I finally get it. It’s not the domesticity that kills me – it’s not the staying home, or the cleaning, or the not working – it’s the fact that I feel like I am helping no one. That’s my hang-up; that’s what has been making it hard to call myself a Stay-at-Homer.

I have always felt an enormous sense of pride when I’ve helped someone. No matter how small the gesture, how unappreciated it may have been; it was important to me. Even at my ho-hum jobs that I knew were never going to go anywhere, that didn’t do much for me except give me a paycheck, I found I could enjoy the job as long as I could feel like I was helping someone.

You don’t know where the sprinkler timers are? Well right this way. or The invoice is missing a part number? Let me get that for you. or Just a straight deposit? I would love to help you.

I felt like I was a part of something bigger; like I was a part of the axis of the earth and I was helping this big, crazy, sometimes totally messed up world spin a little smoother. And that made me feel good. It made me feel worthwhile. It made me feel like I was doing something. And that is all I’ve ever wanted.

To make the world a better place – that’s the only thing I’ve ever been sure of when it comes to what I want to do with my life. And from the confines of my walls, and responsibilities, and lack of people that can seek my help, I’ve felt like I’m falling so short of the only thing I was so sure about; so passionate about. And that dims the sparkles in my eyes and muffles the songs in my heart. That’s what makes it so hard for me to be a woman domesticated.

So maybe I need a bigger picture, a reality check, or some reassuring words to help me understand that despite my domesticated lifestyle, I am making the world spin a little smoother. That this, right now, will only lead to bigger and better, grander and greater ways to make a difference, to help, to give what I have and want to give.

And while I’ll never truly enjoy not always being out and about or washing dishes or clothes or the fact that my job doesn’t come with a paycheck for the time being, maybe I can feel a little better about this whole staying home thing…

And stop feeling like an animal in a cage.


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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Molly  |  March 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    A) You’re helping your husband; every dish you wash, meal you cook and shirt you fold makes his life easier. Never forget that. (How 1950s of me!)

    B) You might want to consider offering your services as an English tutor, as it is one arena in which limited knowledge of Italian won’t necessarily hurt you (you’ll just have to start with higher level English learners, so the immersion won’t be an issue). If you’re lucky, you can find someone who would also like to teach you Italian. 🙂

  • 2. Courtney  |  March 3, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Here’s what I know about being a homemaker: The world, without any doubt, runs smoother around those that have someone making their home more comfortable. The benefactors are able to work harder, eat better, sleep more soundly and relax knowing all their basic needs are met.

    I do not doubt that we could all feel a little better with a housewife. Everyone needs one & everyone deserves one. You are helping a LOT! Ask your husband, he ought to be able to affirm this notion.

  • 3. Amy --- Just A Titch  |  March 3, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    I’m with these ladies above — you undoubtedly help Eric have a much smoother existence.

    Have you considered maybe volunteering? Writing letters? I don’t know. I’m not trying to detract from your responsibilities, because obviously, you’re doing a great thing, but I feel your pain—even during the summer as a teacher, I feel a little…less-than because I’m not constantly “doing.”

    Just a thought!

  • 4. cescogar321  |  March 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Thank you ladies 🙂

    It’s just a tough mental balance for me – I’ve never not worked in my adult life with the exception of a couple of months when I was 21, so it’s weird to think that this home maintenance thing is my job for now. I know Eric appreciates what I do, and that it does make his life smoother – I think because I’ve never considered myself a homemaker, nor did I ever dream of it, it’s just a tough pill to swallow.

    Your words do make a difference though – thank you so much!


  • 5. hannahjustbreathe  |  March 4, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    We, as a society, are so defined by what we do, for better or worse. So, I think it’s perfectly natural/normal that you’d be feeling such confliction—because you don’t want to be defined as a housewife. Thing is, I think we always have the power to change our definitions of ANYTHING. Perhaps not societies, but at least ours.

    Finding balance with anything is tough. But, you’ll get there. 🙂

  • 6. Larry D.  |  March 5, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    You mention dishes and clothes and cleaning but you’ve left out the most important contribution of all. You and your husband are building a life together. Every plan you make, every dream you discuss, is contributing to what you’re going to build during your journey through life together. You’re taking care of mundane things so the time you have together can be of the utmost quality. What could be more important than that? Don’t sell yourself short kid. You’re one of the key players on that team

  • […] Thanks to everyone who responded to my recent post, The Reluctantly Domesticated. Your words felt like warm hugs and it was just what I needed. I feel so much better […]


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