At my birthday dinner this year, I mentioned to Ms. M that for gift giving purposes, all she had to do was think of what a 1950’s housewife would like.
Ever since I said it, I realized there was even more truth to it than I had intended.
The infamous “they” ask, “What would do if money were no object?”
After that, “they” say to do that thing. It is not the best career advice, but it got me thinking. For years I had no answer to this question, and I got frustrated and a little angry whenever that meme would go around. In light of my birthday conversation, however, it dawned on me that if I didn’t have to worry about making a living, I would can, clean, finally finish my rag rug, perfect making my own pectin, learn to knit … and the list goes on. None of these activities would I want to do exclusively, and I’m sure they would lose their charm if I was making huge quantities to sell.
There would be one other component in my happy life: I would write. While things aren’t straightened out in my head as to exactly what I would want the end product to be, I know that my productivity need would definitely be filled that way.
It’s all about trade offs. With finite hours in the day, do I want to get in 10,000 steps or give myself one hour of uninterrupted time to write? Do I continue on my reading spree or start working on my craft so others might read me someday? Or do I take that hour and tackle the pig sty that our small space can so easily become with two people working full time?
Without a job (even one I enjoy) getting in the way, I would gladly keep up the house, work out, learn new skills and still have time for writing.
So how do I go about becoming a self-supporting, non-Valium taking housewife? It did dawn on me that my era was wrong. By the 1950s all of the modern “convenience” foods were a major industry. It would have to be earlier than that!
This is probably not what “they” were thinking, and feminists are probably horrified that “Leaning Out” is my ideal. Then again, if I called myself a homesteader or pioneer woman (like Ma Ingalls), I’d be doing their same activities only with power and the internet. It’s amazing what different connotations those words have!
Am I the only one who would find this ideal? Can you tell that I’ve never done it?