Friday, August 21, 2009
My mother was a first generation superwoman who worked throughout my childhood. She realized early on that we, as women, can not do it all. Thus she hired a bi-weekly housecleaner and was smitten with easy prep meals such as Hamburger Helper. The invention of the microwave greatly expanded her nightly repertoire and quick, yet soggy, fish sticks with a side of peas became a staple. To this day my mother owns two microwaves and does most of her cooking with them.
I obediently followed in her footsteps and also became a working woman. Only neither my husband or myself chose careers based on income production. As a brewer and veterinarian we work hard. We get by but are far from wealthy. Accordingly I do not have a housekeeper or cook. And, oddly, I’m not fond of frozen food.
I want my children to have delicious home-cooked meals, milk and cookies after school, clean clothes in the closet and someone to help with their homework. I also want them to have a roof over their heads, indoor plumbing and some mode of transport to and fro. As such I find myself in the precarious position of being a working woman by night and a domestic goddess by day.
Only here’s the thing. After eight-years of formal schooling I am well-versed in veterinary matters. My domestic skills, however, are faulty at best. As a child I did my own laundry and was forced to pick up my room (cleaning for house cleaners ... who ever heard of such a thing!). I also took a few cooking lessons. End of story. I never truly learned cook or bake. Knitting was passe as was any mode of sewing. I was not trained to clean a floor or, according to my husband, load a dishwasher. It seems I am self-taught in all home matters.
I tend to pick and choose my domestic pursuits. I lean towards the crafty ... knitting, baking, cooking, sewing and gardening. My husband would be ecstatic if I would, say, become heavily involved in the fine art of toilet scrubbing. But alas this does not hold my interest (though I have tried my hand at plumbing). Accordingly my house sits in disarray as I feign ability.
This week in lieu of laundry and dishes and general tidiness I dabbled in canning and embroidery. I dare say I have two new hobbies to add to my cache. First I made an Apricot-Basil-Riesling Jam. You see we have an apricot tree (well really it belongs to our neighbors but I lay claim to the generous portion that falls over our fence). In years past the fruit has shamefully gone to waste. This year I decided to make jam. I loosely followed this recipe and added the basil on the advice of a friend. The thrift store had an inexpensive canning pot and I found the jars at our local market. The resulting jam was/is delicious. I may have to buy more fruit and make another batch.
As for embroidery ... I fell in love with a set of “vintage” tea towels at JoAnns. They were just begging to be embroidered. Once again the thrift store had what I needed - embroidery hoops and floss. I traced a pattern in pencil and, in honor of my soon to laying hens, fashioned a Wyandotte.
It looks like I may have a theme for Christmas care packages. Now if I could only find someone to scrub the floors ...
Please tell my I'm not the only one struggling to "do it all". I'd love to hear how do you manage house, hobbies and all that life demands.