Monday, April 25, 2011

BOOK TWO (12) candles, acid wash jeans

We don't exactly need our advanced degrees to realize how quickly all things disappear over time...

...not only the perkiness of our "girls" caused by gravity and breastfeeding, but eventually even our memory of the feedings, themselves.

We should reflect on the nature of stuff that appeals to our senses. Particularly those items that seduce us as pleasures to come:

a) intriguing shops

...give us the willies,

a). clowns

...or cause us to brag:

skiied here

baked these

--they're all relatively contemptible if you think about it... and may fade more quickly than the popularity of "acid wash" jeans.

We should keep in perspective the degree to which someone "liking" your comment on Facebook means something.

And think about the day we will finally fold up our ironing board for good. By "think about it", I mean concentrate on it with a mother's "look me in the eyes" kind of steely steadiness, draining away the useless aspects from the simple truth (as you might do with green beans and salted water). You'll soon agree it's a natural and inevitable process...(like getting wrinkles, which only children and that-woman-with-the-Audi fears), and that the awareness of the "end of ironing" in fact enriches all of the ironing which should pass before it.

Finally, consider Oprah's advice and "remember your spirit". Consider the degree to which lighting a (Diptyque?) candle beside the bath (after a huge day of raking) will help you do so, or not. Perhaps the raking itself was spiritual. Just think about it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BOOK TWO (11) Mr. Clean, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Every time you mop, or stress over dinner, or dream of planting a larger garden...remember: you could just scrap it all, and head for the big chaise longue in the sky.

If the domestic gods exist, you have nothing to fear in taking leave of your household. For these gods will step in. Aunt Jemima will cradle your kids in her slightly sticky gingham apron of love before sorting out breakfast...

Mr. Clean will wash up afterwards,

and the Energizer Bunny will walk them to school.

But if there are no actual Tetley Tea Folk...or if these gods aren't interested in letting you permanently put up your feet...then, well, it's not worth considering! What a terrible magic-less world!

Fortunately, they DO exist (according to TV), and will happily scrub your soapscum,

or weed the garden...

and achieve everything a housewife needs done so that she doesn't feel swamped. Their presence empowers housewives and keeps them from the absolute no-nos of staying in pjs all day or resorting to eating a whole row of packaged cookies. And if there were real evil lurking (like ring around the collar) in life outside the house, the domestic gods would have packed Oxi Clean so that you could easily avoid being stained by it. (If your character remains unstained, how could your reputation for baking the best muffins be damaged?)

The gods cannot have been so distracted by "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ads as to overlook domestic pitfalls of these kinds, nor leave a housewife without any clean stockings on Meet the Teacher night. These gods are powerful and skilled! They don't just let loose 'good' and 'evil' willy nilly on the virtuous (you with your clean tiles) and the skanky (you know who they are) in the same way.

All that being said: going back to school to finish your degree or retreating into your shell; your child winning the science fair or being picked up by the police; cutting your fingertip while chopping tomatoes or having a toe-curling shag; paycheques which get you googling Tiffany& Co. or days where you fit right in at Walmart, and so forth, are equally the lot of good housewives and bad. Things like these neither make you better nor worse, and therefore they are no more good than they are evil.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BOOK TWO (10) tulips, "sins", the inner she-demon

When Lila compares domestic "sins"--if they're comparable --she figures that splurging on hundreds of tulip bulbs because she really really wanted them (ignoring that her kids' summer camp registration was past due) stacks up pretty unfavourably against writing excessively hostile notes in her child's agenda.

Think about it: An angry housewife throws her "Maria" aspirations under the bus, if she's compelled to respond insultingly to a teacher's remarks (even to those teachers who wear ugly sweaters.)

While the housewife driven to goosebumps by 30% off at the nursery, seems rather more self-indulgent, and less motherly in her error.

Yet Lila might have a point, when she says that the mistake of being motivated by wanting to improve the view from the kitchen (cost be damned) deserves a harsher rebuke than the clawed written response of a mama bear.

After all, the housewife who writes a zinger of a note is a victim of her own inner she-demon, provoked by feeling pain on behalf of her child. While the other housewife, who rushes out in Birkenstock clogs to plant, will probably wind up with her kids underfoot this summer, since she spent on the bulbs, and missed the registration.

Friday, April 8, 2011

BOOK TWO (9) soccer, Greek Mountain tea

Always remember the way these soccer tournaments are. And how you can nurse your rebellion from being a total soccer mom by sipping from a thermos of Greek mountain tea & honey, instead of having a coke. And that you are but one speck of ironic plaid pink and brown in an expanse of grass, jerseys, sweat and popsicle options. No one can hinder you from being here at the game, because you carried your own folding chair to the pitch (just like me) so we could both cheer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BOOK TWO (8) Kinder Surprise, meltdowns, daytime TV

If a woman's 2 year-old starts to have a meltdown over being denied a chocolatey Kinder Surprise at the checkout counter, you will not easily find a decent housewife who'd regret supporting that mother by either momentarily distracting the 2 year-old, or giving the mother a "been there-- ignored that" wink.

But the kind of housewife who sneers at such a meltdown, and the possibility of her own (perhaps triggered by many issues, including discovering she's spent a day with baby snot on her sleeve)....should be stuck with daytime TV for company as a "reward".

Monday, April 4, 2011

BOOK TWO (7) Frye boots, antiques

Are you frazzled by keeping track of your family's hectic schedule? Then allow yourself a small excursion. You can add to your knowledge of whether or not the Frye boots you coveted all winter are finally on sale, or simply brew yourself a chai latte and stroll outside to check if the garlic is sprouting.

Guard against the following error, (to which the housewife may be susceptible): the folly of those whose entire self-esteem is based on climbing the ranks of the Home and School Association, or who would go to a day-long teddy bear making workshop, and lack the will to pencil meaningful goals into their own planners.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

BOOK TWO (6) Flat Duo Jets, panties

You are wrong, so wrong to get crazy obsessed by your baby's developmental milestones as measured by What to Expect When You're Expecting. OMG girlfriend! Before you know it, "the baby" will be old enough to snicker at the sly innuendoes you pepper dinner with, and whether he could crawl at 6.5 months instead of 7 will feel as relevant as owning 8-Tracks.

A housewife has only one life. While your days of seeing The Flat Duo Jets play live in Athens have passed, don't forget how they still communicate with your panties. Rock your own passions, instead of depending on your baby's crawling to carry you through the day.