More Thoughts

Housewife in Tygart Valley Removing Laundry from Clothesline, Her Young Daughter Stands Beside Her Photographic Print

I have a few extra thoughts that wouldn't fit on my comment on Simple Living. We are discussing the book Radical Homemakers.

I was up to here:

"I am not unhappy being at home, but admit to having new pressure to go back to work because my kids are getting older. So I have been thinking about the issue again obviously. Have lots of thoughts about it."

I was on Facebook as you know, mixing with people I went to school with. Most are a year older than me because I went to school early. Perhaps I was a determined child. We had no kindergarten and I was annoying lol and Mum at half year put me in school. By the end of the year I got put up. By the first year of high school (Form 1/Year 7) I was just 11. My the end of Year 9/Form 3 I was tested and found to be in the top group for Form 4 out of 370 kids.

Where am I leading with this, I can relate to the author Hayes' drive.

However, back then in rural Australia, you didn't see our Mum's with credit cards. I think Australia was 20 years behind in the middle class living stakes, but like I said that was possibly rural Australia. Despite the fact people had new cars, I don't think they racked up a huge amount of credit.

I feel that Hayes doesn't need to prove herself anymore. She got the PhD and is happy, she knows herself what she can do. I felt the same myself when I was younger. Even though I hadn't actually proven it.

So now at 47 when I don't live up to Little Jenny Wren's washing dishes by hand and other stuff that my Mum used to do when I was little I have been feeling a bit worthless actually. But I am slowly working my through it. Thank you Tina for your encouragement about this. I know you are right.

Another thing about Facebook is that having people to talk to in the mainstream, which they are because they are a group of people that you went to public school with, you have something to compare yourself to. I often heard that middle aged women can sometimes need extra help to get them through things. I didn't believe it really. I would hate to think I would go to the doctor for something and be dismissed as a middle aged woman and as a case.

Anyway it is true. Some people are still going along OK and some are finding things a bit hard.

At this stage it doesn't relate to staying at home during the day so I will move on.

You do notice though that your life is so much different to the mainstream that you talk to. You notice how they watch TV, go out a lot, lots and lots of lifestyle things. So many. You often have nothing to add, or the shows you watch are not mainstream. Like for example, the 2 million people that watched Packed To The Rafters the other night to watch a funeral, a made up one my husband added to me.

So they work. But they have lot and lots of relaxation time, and relaxation activities.

I am here feeling guilty that I haven't done the 50s housewife stuff. Over a period of time I have noticed things. My Mum (who belongs in the working camp) (and the billardtable lawn camp) will often say (she is in the same situation as Rhonda Jean) things about her washing, her cooking, and it always sounds like a lot of work.

So knowing Mum back in my childhood as a person who did lots of canning, vegetable gardening, sewing, washing floors, dishes, etc. etc. I accept this.

But what you realise after awhile is that, it was only a short period, but it seems longer for kids. You have to take your life as a whole. I have had 8 kids over the period of 27 years. But anyway, I said I wasn't going to justify myself.

Today instead of doing what my school friends are doing, I am babysitting, which to me is bludging, while my husband is painting our other house. Not normal stuff, having two houses by the way. Technically I am a property developer. This is not a label Australians would put on themselves. We think they are some tycoon or whatever. Our next door neighbours house was developed by a property developer before he bought it. It was all very glamorous at the time. But it isn't. And normal people can be one. I critic her work. Yes it was a woman. I walk into shops and I don't look at the merchandise, I look at their ceilings, their paint colours, the state of the other fittings, what they look like, should I buy them, how they have cut corners so as not to do a whole reno.

I digress. I suspect I am a horrible property developer, because the bottom line is never important to me. I enjoy the process more, even though it is horrible at times. I suspect Hayes is a very hard worker. She likes writing a book, it is like writing her PhD, she puts in the hours. Shore, she doesn't like other chained to the sink jobs. I know what it is like because I put in many hours writing my book too, and most people don't do that sort of thing.

When you stop doing this work, you feel funny not doing anything. On the other hand, you read her list of recreational activities and there are lots there. She really isn't a house person at all, more like a farming model. There is no one set house, with two people making sure that they both are fed and can get by.

At a reunion I went to, there was a woman a year older than me naturally, with the same amount of kids. She was very relaxed, very well dressed, her husband came too. All things that I wasn't. She stayed until the end, I had to leave early. Yes, she lived closer. For a bludger that is odd isn't it to have that much discipline on oneself?

Anyway, the difference. She apparently lives on a farm with extended family. I assume they were minding her three children that are still at home. Like me two are away at uni/work in the city. We grew up in the same place. Went to the same football etc.

In town here there are lots of single guys. Not sure what age group they are in, perhaps not late 40s like me, but more the age of the writer Shannon. They are country boys, not new age boys. They have sales/business jobs. They are good looking.

Apparently according to The Age Australia is different, people don't generally marry younger women. I am unusual like that. My husband is 11 years older than me. My husband thinks perhaps that is where I get some of my attitudes from, I am not sure, being married to an old fart lol (his words I think).

So, these guys are not chasing women their own age, or younger ones. Ones that are successful, work and all the things you are supposed to do. Yes, they think I am nice, at least I think so. (Don't judge me on that I hardly go out of the house, and I have pretty much fixed it.) Why. I don't do anything, I am a bludger.

It does show that despite my self loathing spell I have been in, that I am still a valid person, that is getting through to me. I get shocked that my house is worth talking about for example, that it really exists.

And I am not on pills to keep myself going. One of my professional doctor type people said once a few years ago that that was good. He would know.

So I have survived part of my life being a 50s housewife, 27 years married or together, actually we will be married 26 years in January. And I haven't gone on pills yet. Why am I mentioning that? Hayes says being a 50s housewife is a surefire way of getting mental health issues. The answer is in being mentally tough, and independent, but I take her point.

My point? I have nearly talked myself out, thank goodness. If I didn't write it down I think it would have gone around in my head for ages.

Apparently no one except those who have always done it, lives in an old style house that is not open plan these days. I asked someone who knows as my other house is not really open plan, though it does have a few doors off, well two. I moved kicking and screaming from a traditional house to open plan in 2000, as it makes childcare a nightmare without those pokey rooms with doors on lol.

So if older style homes are not an issue anymore in Australia, why is 50s housewife stuff. One would assume that if no one at all (except those who have lived in the same house for a very very long time) lives with a separate kitchen and a small lounge with the lounge chairs arranged a certain way, you know what I mean, that no one at all does the 50s housewife thing.

I know what you are thinking. I know lots of you still handwash dishes, I know lots of you still do all the washing, sweeping of floors, bathrooms etc. etc. It is the Aussie thing to do, like keeping on using a bank instead of a credit union etc. etc.

But still, there must be a difference or why the open plan house? Anyway I don't know the answer to that.

I do know that lots of people my age don't have kids at home anymore. Mum does do extra housework for guests on the weekend.

Interestingly, I came across a picture of an older kitchen or laundry from that time period recently. And it does look like drudgery, even coming from me. I think we all move along in time, even if we are aware of it or not.


tina said…
Another fantastic reason I don't have a Facebook acct. I don't care/want to sucumb to old 'school chum pressure' toots a certain way. I graduated in 1980. I left all those people behind.
Period. We were as different as day and night and that's fine by me.
Where I get off kilter is looking at websites/blogs that take my mind off what I am: you know that best as you have stated with me from blog move to blog move. I would get that horrifying feeling I needed to be someone 'else' (just like the above feeling I get from Facebook) and off I'd go, thinking that was 'me'.
When I enjoy doing my dishes by hand, I do them.
When I feel like shoving them in the dishwasher ( which I got free from my BIL) I put them in. I light my oil lights when it suits me and switch the on/off as wanted.
COULD I without tech/elec/car?
Yes m'am.
Not an issue. But right now it's MY choice.
God help the one who thinks he/she can take that away!
Regroup. Breathe. Let the comparisons go.
By the way, I found the authors website and another site... She says 'squatting' is a source of living with less?
Someone had to pay the property tax! And my guess is she doesn't advocate the 'squatter' doing this!?
This is where I draw the line and close the book.

Glad we had this chat...
been too long :)
Linda said…
I enjoyed your visits too Tina. Yep, done, what next.

And thanks everyone for your concern for me.

And I graduated in 1980 too Tina, and I have found that it true, I left all those people behind, and it was a good choice, I haven't found it different. Some I didn't get to know first time round and some I get a feeling of me from even though they are different, maybe one that I can think of at the moment. Someone who grew up in the country who lets me be pretty much.

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