Alright, alright, so the tools and materials are mops and brooms, and my ceremonial garb is my sweatpants (I'm pretty sure they're "holey"). The oaths will figure themselves out as I go along. But no one can argue that spring cleaning is a ritual. It is categorized among the many things we like the idea of but seldom do. This list includes (but is not limited to "Christmas Cards" "Home Preserving" and of course "_______________ Cleaning (insert season/event of your choice). All of these things are of course wonderful if you can achieve them, but often they make people feel guilty if they cannot.
We all know that in days gone by, a number of factors combined to explain why our ancestors did all these lovely little rituals, year after year. Gender inequality, stale tradition, and societal expectation combined to form a household to do list that was an exercise in failure for many. And so, homespun activities that we embrace today as charming and retro were the cause of many, many people (namely housewives) feeling that they were falling short. While there are many women who no doubt enjoyed their role as domestic goddesses (thanks to Nigella Lawson for that fabulous term!) my heart goes out to the ones who were meant for something different. Note I don't say better. I have a personal beef with anyone who criticizes people who follow their hearts and dreams, and for many that means staying at home.
These days, busy and or unique lifestyles have contributed to many of these housekeeping rituals being put out to pasture. In most homes both adults work, but it's perfectly acceptable as a lifestyle choice if one doesn't. In my case, circumstance and geography have combined to put us in a place where I can't work in my field, and so I am taking some time to decide where I'm going next. I'm currently a unique hybrid, a feminist domestic engineer with her eye on other prizes. And I'm thrilled that we have evolved to a point where:
- No one blinks at the concept of a stay at home dad.
- We cheerfully compare the size of our dust bunnies instead of how frequently we scrub our floors.
- Recipes that can be prepared in a matter of minutes with a handful of ingredients are shared and celebrated!
- We are just as happy to hear that our gal pals have received a promotion as we would be over the news they were engaged or pregnant.
Till next time, celebrate who you are, what you've done, and where you've come from!