I have totally read the Feminine Mystique. I really do consider myself a third wave feminist… here’s the thing- The housewives of the 50’s and 60’s were legitimately onto something when they asserted that housework wasn’t necessarily fulfilling them all. I mean, I know at least one of you out there is also an overqualified housewife, and when you’re in the house most of the day, sometimes in full-on agoraphobia mode for days at a time, feeling ‘fulfilled’ can seem like a bit of a joke.

In the old days of housewifery, we’ll say the 1890’s (especially in my neck of the woods… literally… the woods) a woman’s jobs were never done. The household might have only had light beyond a fireplace with time enough for essential tasks to be finished. Women were the keepers of their hearths- they were often the thing standing between their families and starvation, because they knew how to do the long job of preparing food, serving it and preserving it. They kept their families warm with handicrafts, like sewing, knitting, darning, and crocheting and tending that same fire. Families absolutely depended on their mothers & wives for warmth, shelter and sustenance.

Now, not so much. We could easily go to the corner store every night and get dinner. hire a housekeeping service for all the things we didn’t want to do, install an oil furnace to keep us warm, and just throw out everything we don’t feel like repairing and buy new at the local Wal-Mart… and we could all work outside the home.

Instead, We cook for ourselves, clean our own homes, for M & I, we keep our woodstove going 24 hours a day, and for the most part, I do darn and repair our clothing as needed. I also babysit my godchildren, take care of our dog, write this blog, and find time for all sorts of little tasks in and around our home.

I save us money, for certain, I enable my best friend to work her way out of the poverty cycle by providing childcare, and I keep our companion, our toots, a happy healthy dog. Hopefully, as well, I entertain you all.

It doesn’t always feel fulfilling. I’ll be the first to admit that. But I know that with some time adjustments to my schedule, I can find room in my every day for more things that I can use to fulfill myself.

I like being creative- I like spending time on arts and crafts, writing, and the like. I also like to use some awesome internet resources to enrich my mind and spirit (I will do a post another day on what these things are)

For me, the balance lies in not allowing myself to feel overwhelmed by those housewife tasks I must do by limiting the time I have in which to complete them, and taking breaks often in order to do the things I need to do to become a better human being and feel like a person with something to contribute outside of our home.

  1. Volunteer Work….

Confused or at a loss about where you might volunteer to get out of the home? Try the local library, a local charity thrift store (not Goodwill or Salvation army), a community center, the local elementary school, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a hospice organization, the animal shelter, or simply put out an ad on facebook and craigslist offering to help the elderly with household tasks.

2. Duolingo.com

In Just 10 minutes per day, you can be well on your way to learning a new language. M and I have discussed raising bilingual children, and as we live so close to Quebec, I have been refreshing myself on 6 years of elementary school french. Duolingo is completely free and in my experience, very useful.

3. Youtube.com

If you ever feel at a loss, check out youtube for the things you might be able to learn in just a few short minutes. a youtube tutorial is how I FINALLY learned how to parallel park while taking my driving test, and my cousin Critter learned how to escape zip-ties and duct-tape around her wrists in only 15 minutes. last I heard, she was learning to escape handcuffs. There are THOUSANDS of paint-along painting tutorials (I like Angela Anderson), and other creative crafts you can familiarize yourself with, not to mention thousands of videos of lectures from top universities.

4. Coursera.org

Speaking of top universities, you can get certificates in hundreds of courses from places like Duke, Northwestern, John Hopkins and many more. Courses range from mathematics, to computer science, to psychology to medicine.