Home is where the Heart is

I have always wanted to be a househusband.

From my youngest days, before I understood anything about sexual orientation, gender roles, or careers, I strongly identified with my Mom’s efforts to keep house: she cleaned, she cooked, she re-arranged furniture all the time. We were poor – the kind of poor that involved getting food stamps, government cheese, free lunches at school, and invitations to shop for holiday gifts at local churches, where donated items were sold to poor families for nickels, dimes, and quarters, (mostly so it felt a little less like charity and more like affordable deals to the proud but downtrodden) Mom was always trying to make the best of things on half a frayed shoestring budget, and instilled in me the attitude that just because we didn’t have money, didn’t mean we couldn’t take pride in our appearance and our home.

One of my favorite memories was coming home after school and walking in the front door of our house to two distinct smells: fresh baked cookies and Pine-sol. This meant Mom had spent the whole day cleaning the house top to bottom and, more importantly, she had re-arranged my bedroom. It excited me to no end to walk into a new furniture configuration in my bedroom. It was like getting a brand new bedroom every few months. While I never gave it much thought, or asked her, why she did it, I suspect that she just liked change and, when pulling out beds and dressers to clean under and behind, she just chose to put it all back in different configurations. Whatever the reason, I loved it. To this day, I love rearranging furniture to make a room look different, although I mostly only do that anymore during the holidays when we need to make room for the christmas trees.

I began pitching in with chores, laundry and yard work at a very young age and, to this day, very little I do in life fills me with as much contentment and satisfaction as a room I cleaned or redecorated.

The first apartment I lived in alone, I cleaned nook to cranny all the time and constantly rearranged and reorganized it. With no money and no car, and very few belongings, I had a lot of time at home and space to play with, so my favorite pastime was to clean, reimagine the space and, on rare occasions when someone had extra paint they were giving away, to change the colors of my rooms.

When I met and moved in with Jeffrey, I confessed to him that It was my wish that he would be so successful that I could eventually quit my job, stay home and be the full-time housekeeper, launderer, shopper, and cook. Despite feeling that way, I never really expected him to carry the burden of providing for the both of us. I have a strong work ethic, and a need to be self sufficient, so I was always going to work hard and contribute to our household, financially, no matter what. Still, the dream lingered in the back of mind, though it receded and diminished as the years rolled on. While I’d gladly do all the house stuff myself OR work full time, I ain’t doin’ both.

While I acclimated myself to the reality of being a working stiff in a two job household long ago, the desire to stay home and keep house instead of working has returned and grows stronger with every passing day. While others dream of vacations on beaches and trips to far away lands, I dream about being home with my dogs, putting dinner in the crockpot to simmer for the day, running errands, working out, then scrubbing our bathrooms clean. I fantasize about spending the day cleaning and scrubbing, painting the hallway, then welcoming Jeffrey home to a warm cooked meal and a spotless house.

I want to be Samantha Stevens (even without the magic.)

While we do our best to clean regularly and keep our house presentable, I always feel like it never gets cleaned the way it should, due to our lack of time, and I often struggle with making time for a proper clean through. Not because I worry about being judged by company (well, except for the BF Jim who’s house is so immaculate all the time that it makes my house look like it’s constantly in the midst of a dust storm and/or mudslide) but because I want it cleaner, for us. Its a modest home, but I can live with the absence of luxury if I can compensate with spotlessness. Since our home is a godless one, cleanliness gets top billing. (A bastardized quote from the book "The Best little Boy in The World", for the record.)

As the days slowly tick away towards retirement (2, 832 days [7.8 years] and counting) and I contemplate the fact that I will be retiring two years before my husband, I may finally be able to realize my dream at age 55, to finally be the house husband I’ve always wanted to be.

I just don’t think I’ll look as good in that French Maid’s outfit.

9 thoughts on “Home is where the Heart is

  1. We have a lot in common. I too get up in a poor household. Early on I took up the cleaning chores because my mom didn’t (a difference). I was the one who was always rearranging the furniture. I too wanted to be the stay at home spouse. Was not to be though. Bill retired at 55 years when I asked him to because of the stress of his job. That was 35 years ago. I’m still working, albeit part-time ( three days this week. ) I hope you realize your dream of tetireing at 55 and do what you really want to do. That retirement will come around before you know it.


  2. I have some of those same feelings myself. I really can’t keep up with cleaning sometimes, but when I do it’s cathartic while I’m doing it. I feel like I’m accomplishing something. But then again, my apartment is showing its age so there some parts of it where no matter what I do it’s going to look like some of the homes before they’re renovated on a show like Flip Or Flop.

    No French Maid outfit for me. I’d likely be in a t-shirt and capri leggings. If I had my own place, I could imagine myself like Charlotte York Rosenblatt.


  3. I am like you. I am a homebody of sorts and I do like a clean house. My daughter moved out last week to her apartment in the city and she told me she “cleaned” her room. I have a third floor with just one room, hers. I never go up there. After she moved out I went up and surveyed how she cleaned it. I spend all morning yesterday cleaning it the way I wanted it to be cleaned. My mother is the same way, I guess I get it from her.


  4. I’m kind of a housecat myself. Nothing better than being in my recliner, cat by my side and being able to read in my Kindle library online. For example, reading Marc Acito’s “Attack of the Theater People” right now.


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