Monday, August 15, 2011

Domestic Engineer

I wish I had 10 arms, 5 heads, 12 ears and that I really did have eyes in the back of my head. I already look like a monster most of the time (who has time to shower or remove makeup with two kids and a baby?) so a few extra limbs wouldn't hurt. I mean, even as I've been sitting here working on this blog, my son came into the office and dumped out all the paper clips in the cabinet behind me. If I had eyes in the back of my head (don't tell my kids that I don't though, because right now, they think I really do) and extra arms, that wouldn't have happened.

My biggest struggle as a wife and mother is wanting to make every one happy all at the same time. The baby wants to be held, my oldest wants me to help her feed her stuffed animals, my son wants me to feed him and the hubby... well, all of the above (only his stuffed animals are real dogs). Most days, in the rush to get up and get every one taken care of before the munchkins start a riot, I forget to brush my teeth and put deodorant on. Its no wonder that the other mom's at the kids' school stand back 8 feet or so when they're talking to me. I look like Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons" because I'm so tired that when I actually do get to shower, I enjoy my 5 minutes of peace and quiet so much that my mind goes blank and I forget to shave anything. Shoot, maybe the hairy legs and armpits will serve as an effective form of birth control. Ha ha ha. Not with my luck ;)

I go to H&R Block to file our taxes. I'd rather leave it to a professional when its comes to stuff like that because I don't trust myself to do it properly. This last time, I got an older gentleman who was extremely friendly and sociable to file for us. When it came to the part of filing that required my job description, he asked what I did. I responded that I was a "home maker" (when I lived in Pittsburgh and was in the hospital to give birth to my daughter, the staff had to keep asking my occupation for paperwork and anytime I replied "stay at home mom", each and every person corrected me by saying "home maker").  The gentleman then told me that I should start telling people that I was a Domestic Engineer because it implies that a lot more work is being done than just "home making". The more I thought about this, the more I agreed with him. Many people think its almost lazy to be a stay at home mom. Just because some days I end up staying in my pj's, its because I'm too busy to change out of them, not because I'm too lazy to take them off and make myself presentable. I'm not going out earning a pay check but I promise that I do more work now than I ever did in any other job position I've held. One night, my husband and I were arguing and the argument led me to write down all the jobs I did and what the average income was for people who were actually employed to do those jobs. I would have made close to $300,000 a year if I was getting paid in money to do what I do. I get paid with love and as cheesy as it sounds, that's the best part of what I do. However, Domestic Engineer sounds good to me.

My sister sent me an email that I'd seen before but still love. It was "How to be a Good Wife" An Excerpt from a 1950's Textbook. Call me old fashioned but I love this because I really do believe that this is how it should be. I don't think its always practical but I also think that things are a lot different than they were in the 50's.

How To Be A Good Wife
An Excerpt from a 1950's Textbook

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all the noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Take a few minutes to wash the childrens' hands and faces (if the are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures, and he will enjoy seeing them play the part.
  • Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first- remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: To try and make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in bod and spirit.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

The only point I don't agree with is the second to the last one and I only conditionally disagree with it. I think that if your husband's actions are going to cause harm to the family, especially the children, its OK to question and speak up. Just try not to do it in a manner that will make him feel threatened. Like the mom in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" said. "A man may be the head of the house but the wife is the neck and she can turn the head any way she wants."

Proverbs 31:10-31

New International Version (NIV)
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
The Proverbs 31 woman stirs up so many emotions in me. I want to kick her and be her all at the same time. She sets such a high standard that many days I feel is almost impossible to reach. Then on the other hand, I respect and admire her for being such a hardworking, virtuous, strong woman. I am glad that there are women out there like her.

Domestic Engineer and Wannabe Supermom. I'm a woman of many names :)

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