Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home Wreck

When I attended Notre Dame Belmont it was transitioning from a high school to a "college preparatory institution."  To combat dwindling enrollment at this all-girls school — there were 88 girls in my class, only 54 in the class 2 years below us — the staff had put a sharp focus on education. Gone away were the Home Ec classes. Women of tomorrow don’t need to cook and sew! They need top-notch academics to compete in a man’s world!  The retooling did the trick. Enrollment rose and the school thrives today.

Only now, as a mother, do I see what a disservice it was to cut out those Home Ec classes. We were brought up to be super women. To have it all. To balance with a career and a family. To bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan. And that’s all great until we become mothers without a clue of the basics of running a home.

Turns out the home arts come in pretty handy. Would it really have been so bad to teach a little household management to women who, while destined to be the leaders of tomorrow, will still have to make sure the kids are fed, the laundry folded and the house clean for company? The stresses of caring for a family are huge, and those expectations don’t diminish for a working woman. Or for someone like me, who has a career on hold and finds herself drowning as a homemaker.

This is fresh on my mind as I taste the white plum jam I made this week. It was a valiant effort that jelled well but turned out way too sugary. Most of what I try to do around the house ends up like that. Folded sheets are lumpy, hems are crooked, floors never quiet come clean. It works out, but not well.  I read up and try to improve but I’m missing that basic experience of how to do all this. I’m just clueless.  I don’t really beat myself up that much —  life is too short to worry about dust bunnies. But I imagine how much easier this job could be if I had few basic skills under my belt. Because at this stage of my life I don’t have time to go back to Home Ec.

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