Domesticity–It’s Not All About Me

Domesticity: n. 1. The quality or condition of being domestic. 2. Home life or devotion to it.

Years ago my daughter attended a teen girl conference with the theme All About Me.  My husband and I mock those words whenever she wears the T-shirt.

She hates it when we do that. But the phrase cries, “It is all about me and what I want,” not the intended message of self worth. Of these two contrasting ideas, more often than not, the wrong one sticks.

Like the phrase, I twist easily between valuing myself and becoming self-absorbed, especially in domestic life—those activities that define me as a wife and mother. I value those roles but still find myself seeking visible measures of my success in them. That’s when domesticity becomes all about me and not all about my family.

Three Ways I Value My Domestic Roles So It’s Not All About Me:

Give the Right Amount of Time to the Physical Stuff – Some people don’t give much time to the routine chores like preparing a meal, cleaning the house or folding clothes. I’m one of those who used to spend too much time. With less time I can now see the routine temporal activities are a means to an end, not the end themselves. They need to be completed, not drawn out.

Now, I prepare a good meal in the 30-45 minutes after I get home and focus on the conversations and connections that take place in the kitchen and at the table. I plan ahead with a two-week menu, but I don’t over plan every meal and every grocery trip. The routine activities fade to the back of the routine and don’t become elaborate replacements for what I really want to accomplish.

Set Expectations A Half Step Above the Middle I’m one who always sets the bar very high for myself. I create my own deadlines and other marking points to check my progress. I’ve set expectations which unrealistic or unattainable. If my happiness depends on meeting my expectations, our home life won’t be very happy.

Now I’m setting the bar a half-step above the middle—not too high or too low—for myself and others. Over-emphasizing the ideal, or what I think it ought to be, pressures my family. But minimizing our responsibilities stops us—literally—from the junk we haven’t moved out of the way.

Listen More and Talk Less Relationships are all about being interested in the other person. Relationships with my young children, however,  started with me talking and my kids imitating. That’s the way it works in the young years. Somewhere along the way, I recognized they’ve become people of their own, and I need to shift from teacher, preacher, adviser to listener.

Even though I vacillate between these two seasons of motherhood—the first being familiar and the second foreign—I know that ultimately, the focus turns from us when we ask more questions, wait for a response, try to understand.

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