ME-TRADITIONAL GIRL

I used to dream of being a housewife and a mother, supported by an ideal, loving husband. Today I am a mother and I do have a loving husband, but I also have a career. And I totally reject the “ideal life” concept I once wished for. The only dream still left to come true is different proportion of time devoted to my family and to my career – in favour of the first one. My husband takes care of the laundry, we both cook. Some of the cleaning areas are my personal areas, completely unnoticed by B. – such as the bathroom, or the kitchen. Somehow it all came about naturally, without any pressure, without anyone feeling stressed.
There is though, one traditional female role, that I’m deeply attached to – it’s the role of Hestia – the guardian of domesticity. My understanding of this role is filling the house with emotional warmth. Creating such atmosphere, one would long for. In order to do that I need:
● time in the day, that is devoted solely to my family. I don’t need to do anything particular during that time (play, clean, discuss). All I need is to be there, fully present, available with all my attention and energy.
● the joy – simple joyful attitude. Being happy and grateful – for my life, for my loved ones being around me.  

THE STORY OF THE BEAST

It seems to me that too many partners have mistaken their role of Hestia with the role of a cleaner, cook and washerwoman. They bake brilliant eco-pies, iron lingerie and clean all the windows once a month. And everything is fine as long as they enjoy doing all that. Yet the scenario is usually quite different – at a certain point women get frustrated with all the chores and start to take it out on their family members. Instead of being Hestia they turn into a beast. From an attractive partner, a warm and loving mother they change into this difficult creature that hoovers around and spoils everyone’s mood. Have you ever gone through such a metamorphosis? I know I have few times. Luckily sobering remarks from my husband: “If you don’t feel like doing it – don’t do it!”, made me realise, that it’s not the right path to happiness. How many women have never realised that, continuously condemning themselves to misery only because they think there is no other solution? But there are other solutions, many of them in fact. For example – you can hire someone to do the most time-consuming stuff once a month. Then you are with the lighter duties on every day. You can officially make a written pact with your partner – who takes care of what and when. The cheapest and the least energy consuming way is to screw it, order food and leave the mess. Yes, there is such an option – mess doesn’t kill and it doesn’t make the world fall apart. I recommend it as an exercise in particular to all the girls who come from perfectly clean houses.
I don’t want to point any fingers where this tradition of sacrifice came from. That sacrifice that no one asked for and no one would properly appreciate. Which Ideology brought into the western culture this harmful idea to love others more than yourself. To value satisfaction of your children, of your partner more than your own well being. It makes no sense to look for the guilty ones now. It’s just to point out that it’s important to re-evaluate traditional ideas.  

TAMING OF THE SHREW

So many guys are dissatisfied with the way their partners are – whining, always tired, too preoccupied. In fact both sides go through great disappointment – she hoped he’d change, he hoped she wouldn’t – neither happened. There are two kinds of reactions by men to foul atmosphere at home: they can avoid it and get further and further apart with their partners. I observe this way of “solving the problem” just too often. But there is a more masculine and effective approach to this situation. Man can make an effort to disarm the ticking bomb and introduce some pleasant ambience. As each relationship is different also ways to execute it vary. But in most cases an old-fashioned bouquet of flowers can do the trick (occasion-free of course!). Taking care of some housework, showing that you guys also care about the common living space can also be very helpful. Be creative!  

HOW ME AND B. CREATE COMFORTABLE ATMOSPHERE

Recently I heard from a person with 20 years of marriage behind, that until now she had never confided to anyone about relationship problems considering it disloyal. How she had survived this 20 years suffocating inside – she has no idea. I always eagerly hear about other people experiences (not that I always apply them in my life). Therefore I share this personal experience – my own rules of keeping my home a peaceful place:
● I respect my partner’s space. When he’s upset (regardless if I’m to blame or not) I just leave him to be. I give him time to deal with emotions, never get ahead with cheering up or asking how he feels (it’s pretty clear how). Once he’s over it and willing to talk – we would talk. But I don’t want to go through his emotions supporting him if he doesn’t seek for support. He’s a big boy after all.
● I respect my own space. In particular the emotional one. Since ever I remember B. was well informed that I have a need to cry sometimes. I warned him, cause I didn’t want him to get involved in it – feel guilty or helpless. For me it’s a kind of physiological activity – I’m cleansing my nervous system and getting rid of the tension.
● I never thank him for doing the house work. I do praise him, that something well done (man need to be appreciated more than anything), but I don’t say I’m grateful. I believe taking care of our common living space is in our both best interest. And we both shall care and feel responsible for it. It’s not a hobby of mine.
● I don’t take anything for granted. It’s worth to remember it and to appreciate all the good things we have in life – not only the relationship.
● I forgive ASAP. Him. And more importantly – myself. What happened – happened. Lesson needs to be learned and the show must go on. It’s a waste of life to dwell on each others faults.
● I take “super-patient” attitude once informing B. of anything. The probability of him noting the sentence: “Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend after work, so I’m going to be be home a bit later” the first time he hears this is close to 0. It’s just the way he is. There is no point in getting frustrated. I just need to repeat it as many times as it takes but still would not be surprised getting a call the next day after work “where are you?”
● I prepare him lunch for work. Lunch prepared by the wife is much more than just a meal. It’s almost like a kiss from beloved one for a men heading to a battle. It also makes him think of me very fondly during his lunch break.
● I don’t ask questions I’m not prepared to hear an honest answer to. Well, maybe only “do I look fat?” and it’s only because B. is so well trained in answering it correctly – that I look perfect:) Beside this one I don’t torment him with questions: do I talk too much? is my cellulite truly visible? is my wrinkle on the forehead getting worse? B. and most of the guys won’t even realise the problem until it’s pointed out. I don’t think it’s a good idea to focus on your imperfections, neither it is to draw your partner’s attention to them.
● If I already asked the question – I prepare for an answer I won’t like, such as: “No, I don’t like your new friend” “I don’t like this song” or “I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as you did”. He has every right to his opinions (since I’ve asked) even if they’re getting on my nerves a bit.
● Sarkasm saves relationships. B. is an absolute master in making his comments in a humorist way. It’s so much easier to hear: “Oh! My wife became a salt tycoon. I can see it spilled everywhere around and you even enriched our soup so significantly with it!” instead “You spilled salt everywhere and the soup is too salty.”

Of course, all these efforts matter only if between two people there’s a lot of will to be together. And lots of love. My husband says that to make a good relationship it takes two people constant efforts. What one gets in return – is totally worth the work.

Guys and girls, it’s really up to you the quality of relationship you’re in and the way it influences your own well being. It’s much easier and more pleasant to have at home Hestia rather than the beast. I choose to make my life easier. I wish you also many good choices.