Saturday, May 19, 2007

One Month Old Today!

Yippee - My blog is a month old already. I've made it! Now, I know it's not much to get excited about BUT I have never ever been able to keep a diary for longer than two weeks. So this is a bit of a milestone. Not quite the same as when you stop in wonder at how you've been able to nourish a new-born baby for a whole month, but almost there!

So a month on...who is this 21st Century Mummy? As my blog has evolved, I've had plenty of time to think about how I too have evolved over the last decade. There's no time like the present to share my musings and I will begin with the birth of my own motherhood and my evolvement into a 21st century housewife!

I only became a mother at the beginning of the 21st Century, when I was in my early thirties. Not that we were waiting for the dawn of a new era, but waiting until we had earned enough money so we could support a family. As the years went by, we realised that we'd never have enough money, so thought, "blow it everyone else seems to cope". So we went forth and conquered, in a manner of speaking, and six years on we are now blessed with two 21st century boys.

But what a shock! Despite having loads of information available to prepare you for your first baby, there is nothing to prepare you mentally for the reality. I don't just mean how you look after a little one but the effect that it has on your whole sense of self.

Imagine your mind as your inner world, where you think that you've already discovered every emotion and understand how your inner world works and how you think. Before having a baby, I thought I had myself pretty well mapped out! However, from the day a baby arrives, you discover uncharted lands in the map of your mind, feelings that might never have been there before and thoughts that knock you off your feet. Never mind the dilemmas that constantly trickle into the seas of decision, with the waves flowing forward and drawing back as you consider the best way forward for family life.

One of the major dilemmas has been whether to be a working mother or
a stay-at-home mother aka housewife. For me the choice I wanted was to stay at home to care for my children. However, what came with that were the domestic chores for which we once had employed a cleaner to manage. That has been the shock to the system, from which I found it difficult to recover. Not to mention my desire to be my old-self.

Sometimes I wish I was a 1950s housewife, where the role of a mother in a family was ring-fenced. Social history has illustrated that in such times a mother knew where she stood. She was the one who held the family together through the routine of domestic chores, household rules that supported the growth of the family and the husband as the bread-winner.

By the time we had reached the 21st century, the emancipation of women in the workplace had created a life of choice and it's a choice from which I too have been able to benefit. In reality, I could never be a 1950s housewife in the 21st century, because the alternative choices offer a more interesting lifestyle.

I may be a stay-at-home mum, but the distractions of my "dibbling and dabbling" and my desire to prove that part of me can live up to my old self distracts me from the 1950s style house-keeping routine, which I feel as a housewife I should follow. There is always the voice of guilt, that nags nags nags....should cook more, clean more, darn socks.

I know that I am not on my own and I am one of thousands of women who create this conflict between being at home for the family and wanting to go and do something for yourself.
There is an article by the New Statesman that takes this whole thing deeper.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy in my role and feel lucky to have today's choices. I probably just need my mother to move in, make me play by the rules and keep me in check! Now I am joking!