September 9

Domesticity -Can I hack it?


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I had a fear (well, many but one that stood out stronger than the rest) when my husband and I weighed the pros and cons of me staying home with our son.  Among all the “what ifs” I was concerned most about; (ah-hem) my domestic skills.  That's right, I said it; domestic skills.  Not my domestic skills in the sense that generally speaking me and baking don't really go hand in hand ( I once showed up at a friend's house responsible for dessert which was later renamed as “poop soup” )or that every time I make grilled cheese sandwiches they seemingly turn into charred cheese sandwiches); but, my domestic skills in the sense that they would be a large chunk of my job description.
Who wants household laundress and chief executive dishwasher on the top of their resume?

No matter how I looked at it a huge fear rested in the fact that I would be (like it or not) responsible for the majority (if not all) of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household needs.  I'm not sure that this scared me for any reason other than the fact that I wasn't sure I wanted to have those expectations. Couldn't I just stay home and spend time with my baby living my life like I was on maternity leave and share in the household chores with my husband?  I was afraid that having to be the do-er of all things domestic would be degrading and may even cause tension in my marriage.  Deciding to stay home was a big decision but then to also take on sole responsibility for the chores was terrifying.  What if I was resentful of having to be the one to cook and clean? {Enter vision of 1950's housewife here…SCARY!!!}  It was a hard pill for me to swallow; could I really be that person? I have a degree, I'm smart, I worked hard to get where I was in my career; why did it all have to come crashing down just because I wanted to stay home to raise our son?

I look back now on my reluctance and hesitations at that time and smile.  Clearly I didn't let my fear stand in the way of my decision; I am now (proudly) in charge of all things domestic in our home.   I'm choosing to share about this not to tell you how wonderful doing dishes is or how excited I get when I fold laundry (because it's not, and I don't) but to share about the joy I've been able to find in being able to do these tasks because I see how it benefits our family.  During my time of heavy decision weighing I never would've imagined how simple remedial tasks around the house could create family time.  Having these things done when my husband gets home and before the weekend hits affords us the freedom to spend more time together enjoying one another. Seeing the benefits of my domestic chores to our family has truly changed my attitude, thoughts, and views on the work I do around the house as well as the job description I hold as a stay at home mom.
At one time in my career I brought home a healthy paycheck and was emotionally exhausted; I shared the domestic duties with my husband and we spent one day a week working around the house to get things taken care of for the week ahead.  It was something we both looked forward to with dread and resistance.  Now I take care of these same chores throughout the week (of course there's always more to do but I'm learning to go with the flow and not expect perfection) so that our weeknights and weekends can be spent together.  An attitude adjustment has completely changed my heart and the way I go about doing things and I take my job seriously.  Today I look to do these tasks with joy and when I'm lacking joy I take a break.
I want to serve my family with love rather than frustration and exhaustion and I want my husband and family time to be spent with a wife and mother who's present not constantly feeling irritated by the path I've chosen.  I want my husband and family to be able to look back on my time as a stay at home mom fondly and with satisfaction that I chose to stay home not with memories of me being burnt out, unsatisfied, complaining, and unhappy.  My hope is as I continue to grow into my role that I will be able to stick with this mentality.  Inevitably, our family and circumstances will change; we'll add more children, our lives will become more chaotic, and our schedules more demanding.  It's my goal now as I'm just beginning this journey to build a strong foundation in who I am as a stay at home mother and get to know myself in this new light.  It's been such an incredible experience to grow and be stretched in the ways I am currently being led; it's my hope to meet challenge and frustration with acceptance rather than resistance and in turn to encourage others along the way.  I never in a million years would've guessed I'd end up where I'm at now; if I can do it, anyone can.
How have you changed your thought process since becoming a parent? Has it been hard for you to find a balance? The biggest challenge for me has been coming to the realization that the work I do is still important; just because I don't work outside of the home my intelligence isn't compromised.  When I feel like I'm losing my sense of self, taking time to reflect on my choice and get back to the basics, brings me a reminder of the joy I can find in providing for my family in the way that I have chosen to.

Erin Medina Heins loves photography and is an amateur sewer , former substance abuse counselor and case manager turned professional baby snuggler. Each day she works to cherish her time with her rapidly growing sweet little baby man while balancing not letting life and it’s distractions get in the way! Visit her on her blog, Facebook, and twitter.


domestic, Erin Medina Heins, parenting

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