Friday, August 10, 2012

More Navel-Gazing Housewifery Angst

Several people pointed out that the Groundhog Day housewifery will eventually evolve.  This is true!  (Also an argument against spawning again.  We would have to do the whole thing again.)  It still feels like forever, right now.

I've been thinking (this is what I do while nursing) and really, I feel like I am just barely treading water, and also failing to get better in any way.  I'm not a better sewer or cook than I was two years ago.*  I'm definitely a better knitter, and a slightly better gardener.  I'm apparently still a kick-ass editor.** 

I am limited by material constraints. For example, a truckload of aged horse manure and a tiller would be favorite in March.  However, I have a Honda Civic, a plastic bin of Next City Over's compost, and a shovel.  Some things, I can't improve without more resources.

I've also devoted a lot of time and energy to living frugally.  Maybe that's what I've gotten better at.  If only it weren't so grinding and depressing.  Still, we're doing well: our income exceeds 200% FPL by precisely $107, but we still make extra mortgage payments, have college funds for the kids, and keep everyone shod, fed, and clothed.  However, it takes time to mend the clothing, wash the diapers, make the curtains, bake the bread, get the cheapest-on-sale wipes, and so on. 

The most annoying thing about having small children, of course, is the inability to do anything except in ten-minute intervals.  Please, someone, tell me that I will regain my ability to focus.  One day.  One of these years.

I don't want to not have children.  I don't want to not be a housewife.  But that doesn't actually make this any easier.  

* When I quit my job.

** Dr. S submitted a Big Fancy NIH Proposal and it was rejected ("You are too old and you are screwed"), but all four reviewers commented on how well-organized and clearly written it was.


  1. Anonymous8:17 AM

    All I can say to all of that is YES. Especially about how much work it is not to spend money.

    Also: you can think while nursing? Impressive. I can pine, but that's the extent of it.

  2. Taking care of small people is just exhausting and counter to getting anything done. Especially when said small child must be touching you at all times and will not allow daddy to hold him. Ahem. Not that I am annoyed by this at all.

    Not spending money is my problem, too. Dr. Man is now gainfully employed (as opposed to in-training employed) and I want to spend all the money. But! His student loans are more than our mortgage with a higher interest rate to boot. So, those most come first.

    (However, I have been saving money since Kiddo was born-- over a year-- for me to buy new clothes and I may actually do that soon.)

  3. It is a lot of energy to live frugally. You're doing much better than many that make double your income, having college funds and making mortgage payments plus extras. I like to think of it as a game, so it's not terribly depressing. Of course, frugality is much more fun when it's optional. Terribly depressing is my friend from high school, who has 3 kids, no college education, a common-law husband with severe health issues who currently can't work at Dairy Queen, and is selling their TV to make it through the month. I am happy for her that she got the job at one of the last factories around, but sad that she can't get more education and get out of the cycle she's in.

    I very much sympathize with the plastic bin of compost in the small car. I think I can fit two bins, and I worry my car will get stuck in the compost mud. You are quite an accomplished gardener, considering the lack of resources like time, energy, manure, and focus.

    You really will regain your ability to focus. Either that, or you'll become adept at ignoring the nearly 5 year old child, naked on the couch, repeating, "Mommy, I want you to get me dressed today." over and over. Maybe that's just me. Score one for me this morning, after only 10 minutes he has once again dressed himself! Where was I going with this? Damn, lost my focus. It must be at the bottom of my coffee cup. I apologize for posting so early in the morning.

  4. Yeah, I tell you, having had not nearly enough money and quite plenty enough, I can testify to the fact that money makes some things better. Not all things, but some. So I like to imagine that a day will come when you guys have more than one post doc salary to live on, and that you will have more freedom as a result. And my brother, who has a four and six year old, tells me that things are vastly better. As does his wife, who stayed at home with them and is now back part time. In the meantime, you get to endure! YAY!


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