Quarantine Made Me a HousewifeOn August 19, 2020 by admin
This quarantine has changed me. Hopefully it changed you too, as I think it is impossible to go through anything that disrupts your routine without coming out a different person. I once heard someone say- “who you are is a result of the decisions you make daily.” It stands to say that if we switch up what we do daily, we will become someone else.
On a recent unexpectedly extended trip to my roommate’s family home in Sarasota, I was fascinated by her mother Nancy. Like a 50s housewife transplanted into a present day sunny Florida, she ran her home and life like one would imagine Carol Brady would when no one is looking.
Totally secure and settled in her role and damn good at it; perfectly able to occupy her time with puzzles and crafts as she was making dinner for four and organizing game nights. With awe I watched her float through her daily routine: A piece of toast with almond butter, a small bowl of raspberries and a cup of coffee for breakfast, golf with girlfriends at 9, puzzles and crafts amid making a quick homemade soup for lunch, and everyday at 5, like clockwork she would turn on Sade, shake her and her husband a drink, and lay out appetizers as she made dinner.
She was the kind of put together I wasn’t sure existed outside the Donna Reed show, but in an incredibly modern way that made her life not only aspirational, but also attainable. As they say, you cannot become what you cannot see. Now that I had seen, I knew what I wanted to aim for.
Back in Brooklyn, I was determined to bring some of the qualities of life in paradise to the city. Where to begin as a self-proclaimed “almost adult” who regularly cites her lack of furniture not purchased from Ikea and reticence to spend more than 10 minutes on a meal as a marker to real adulthood she never quite seems to cross over.
Lacking the pool, golf course, spacious home, and husband of a true Florida Queen, I had to find my own way to elevate my lifestyle in a way attainable for a Brooklyn-living millennial who had a lifestyle more similar to the characters in Girls than she would like to recognize.
I started with dinner. The one thing that broke up the day and prepared me to socialize at the table was hearing the first notes to “Smooth Operator”. When I heard the smooth lull of Sade’s vocals I knew it was time to wrap up what I was doing and get my mind in a place to socialize. It eased me in at the perfect pace, like a cup of coffee before uttering your first sentence of the day.
First I selected my music- it had to be something that made me feel like I was somewhere warmer with far more palatial surroundings. I always feel more educated and upscale when I listen to Bossa Nova, so I imperiously asked Alexa to play Bebel Gilberto. Eating crudite as I prepared my meal helped stave off hunger and my main reason for not wanting to spend time cooking: the torture of smelling and observing something delicious while my stomach churned.
My first recipe was something familiar- my Grandmother’s recipe for chicken cacciatore. I learned long ago that if you want to make big changes in your life it has to start in small increments. Be happy with each tiny step and you will get to where you want to be; beat yourself up until you make big leaps and you probably won’t successfully make changes at all.
Listening to “Samba de Bencao”, snacking on cucumbers and hummus, and marinating chicken, I actually began to enjoy the process of preparing a meal. Before I knew it I was looking forward to trying new recipes, planning a day to cook, and feeling like each day had a marker to differentiate the time to work and the time to relax.
“Good food is a celebration of life.” -Sophia Loren
Even though I was eating alone, I felt like I was more part of a family than I ever had. I became so dignified in the process of planning, cooking, and even cleaning up, that I hadn’t even noticed that this small change had inducted me into a level of womanhood I had always wanted to avoid.
Previously, I had been hoping for a husband rich enough to always order out or who loved to cook. I know this sounds so traditional and maybe even anti-feminist, but I so loved living like a house wife. I was acting like the kind of woman I hoped I would get to be for the man who deserved it, and that made me feel all the more worthy of that role.
Maybe Quarantine is making a wife out of me. Maybe that’s something I never knew I wanted until I experienced it. Whatever the cause of the push that shoved me towards homemaking habits, I’m glad I got to use the circumstances to grow in an unexpected, but so welcome direction.
I’m enjoying learning that who I thought I was was actually not who my heart would end up loving to be. I’m letting go of those markers of identity that don’t suit me anymore: post-collegiate, dorm furniture owning, not-quite-put-together young “professional”, and I’m letting the things that fascinate me, excite me, and make my heart burn with passion lead to new habits that cultivate the life I never knew I wanted to live.
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