Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Reluctant Homemaker

Note: I found this in my drafts folder. I had written this when I was newly married , around 2.5 years ago and was quite overwhelmed with the sudden increase in responsibilities. This is one of my fav. pieces. Thought it was time to publish it.

This title has been there in my mind for some time now. It keeps coming and it says to me "write lady, write about me."

She was not always a reluctant homemaker you know. She loved to play house house. When she got married and moved to her first house(admittedly rented), she lovingly set up everything, had wonderful routines, cooked up meals every day - 2 times, made snacks in the evening when she came back from office. She had specific plans, the laundry was always done in its assigned day, and clothes were folded as soon as they were dried. Yup, her house was up to her mark. The utensils were arranged in their specific places.

Her husband was not the couch potato type. No sir he was not. But Organization irked him as much as disorganization irked her. Now here is something you need to know about her. Her family will tell you she was not very organized as a child. So it took an extra effort on her part to stay true to her routines. A husband who not only did not care, but was positively against it, made things a little difficult for them both. Disagreements led to discontent. Now her husband was not a male chauvinist. In fact he did not care. What if there are clothes in the chair. No big deal he would say. The clothes are not folded, so what we can take it from the laundry basket. "Why don't you just hire a cook and ask the maid to do everything????" he would ask and the loving homemaker would frown. "A cook????? In her house.????? Never. "This is a home not a hotel" she would say. "If things happen like clockwork, it's no longer a home" he would argue.

10 - 20 disagreements later, both decided to meet halfway. He became a bit more accepting of incorporating something in their lives as long as it did not feel like a chore (rolling eyes) and she became a bit more relaxed. Both were happy but here is where the problem starts.

The Husband was organized even in his disorganized state.  But now slowly the loving homemaker began to turn to the reluctant homemaker. You see, when she let go, she did not know how much to let go off. Slowly she left her routines; she left all her organizing helps or tools. The laundry began piling up. The clothes were rarely folded. Meals became less planned which resulted in wastage of food and money. Grocery shopping was more random than ever. The house was relatively clean because of the maid service they had but it was more like a random rubble masonry. Outside you think it has order but inside, it was just chaos.

The reluctant Homemaker began to feel more and more demotivated. It would have helped if her husband was one of those typical Indian Husbands who expect their wives to take care of their house come what may . But what do you know, he was a feminist. What he would not do he would not ask his wife to do too. He did not consider homemaking the wife's job. It's good, she thought. But there were times she wished her husband was a little of the demanding type at-least sometimes as at-least that would give her some motivation. Any motivation would do...Even negative motivation.

Inner Motivation being depleted, external motivation being extremely less due to lack of girl friends of the same state in this far off place where even relatives visit rarely. Guests almost being a Non entity except husband's friends all being bachelors and they didn't care as the dining area where they were confined to when they visited always looked OK.

The reluctant homemaker began to feel the difference in her life. She was more depressed, crankier even though apparently more 'relaxed', and more numbber than ever about where stuff was in her own house. She started browsing online for self-help. Now there were many people who wrote about this. Many had excellent tips. Fly lady was her favorite. But there was a problem with every single one of them. The motivation factor was internal. Nothing would work unless you were inherently motivated. These sites helped those who had no idea about organizing. Not those who were reluctant to do anything. Tough call huh! No one can do anything about it. True. But, you know what that is the condition of many of the reluctant homemakers.

There was another slight problem. Most of the motivational sites were for mothers or for people who wanted to be a good mother, or wife or who were fulfilling the purpose of their life as their Lord intended them to do. Unfortunately nothing of these sorts worked for her. She would be briefly motivated but then she would fall back. Lists, schedules, nightly reminders in her mobile phones would beep at times, but that's it. Nothing would remain for long. What she wanted was a self-help group. Some group with people just like her. Not those who think that having a good home was the most important thing in the world or who were inclined to keep routines every single day. People like her for whom this was not easy.

The reluctant homemaker sits alone...


  1. Interesting. I think it's great that your husband is easy-going. In my house, my husband and I have settled into routines that are pretty traditional, but they are the chores that each of us doesn't mind doing. I do the grocery shopping and cooking, and he does the yard work and things like that. He does the laundry as well, which isn't really traditional, but there it is. I probably have more chores each day, but it balances out. The kids are now old enough to do the cleaning like vacuuming and dusting (with some pay), and we all pitch in with tidying.

    1. Someday, i hope we too settle into our assigned chores. But i really doubt it as we both kinda do everything right now. Though of course the situation is so much better than 2 years ago. I no longer make him do stuff he doesnot like and he no longer objects to my wanting things in a certain way.I guess it takes time. We are still learning :)


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