Monday, November 12, 2012

Starting the Project

I'm a pretty bad housewife--let's just get that out of the way right now.  I'd like to say that before I had kids, I rocked it on the whole cooking/cleaning/making-some-effort-to-appear-put-together front, but that wouldn't be true, either.  I view myself as a liberal feminist, and I've never attempted to be a 1950's housewife (or a carbon copy of my amazing housewife mother)...or even a mid-2000's housewife (whatever that woman looked like--I don't really know, but she sure wasn't me).  Three kids later, it's 2012, and I'm no closer to knowing what goes into being a good housewife/stay-at-home mom/wife in general.

My neighbor told me months ago that she traded in her old Calphalon cookware set for a brand new one, according to their lifetime warranty.  It took me two months to gather my own set up, put them all in a plastic bag (which ripped on the way to the was just that kind of day today), and take them to the store to trade mine in.  The customer service lady took my 11-piece set, a wedding present that has lived through 8 years of marriage, 4 moves (plus over a year in storage!), and my husband's knack for burning his stir fry, and I walked out of the store with a brand-new 12-piece set.

It sat in the box on my kitchen floor tonight until I decided to put off going to bed by googling "Calphalon Use and Care Instructions."  I don't think I did this with my first set 8 years ago, but I want to get off to a good start with this shiny new one--so I pulled them all out of the box, soaked them all in warm soapy water, and washed each piece with a soft rag...until 1am.  Once they were all washed, I took stock of my new cookware--I got a dutch oven with this set that I didn't have with my first set.  I don't know what a dutch oven is.  I'm not sure if that's a shocking I supposed to know what a dutch oven is?  The fact that I don't know what to do with most of my new pots and pans (and didn't do much of anything with my old ones, either--thank goodness my husband does some cooking) may actually be a shocking admission.  Looking at these fresh, clean pots and pans drying on my counter makes me kind of want to know what to do with them.  I do not enjoy cooking in any form, but it feels a little pathetic and cop-out of me to not even know what I could do with them if I wanted.  I'm a really smart girl who once prided myself on my ambition and independence...yet I can't follow a recipe.  My neighbors and friends are constantly posting Facebook status updates on their gourmet dinners, and the best meal I make might very well be pancakes, especially if you ask my kids--they aren't huge fans of the one "real" meal I taught myself how to make, Pecan-Crusted Chicken from the Biggest Loser cookbook.  For reference, my husband hates pancakes.

This brand new set of pots and pans is somehow calling to me, begging me to put them to good use and at least attempt to be something better than I have been the last 8 years--a Good Housewife.  This won't be a blog all about the joys of cooking,
and I definitely won't become Julia Childs (I saw that Julie/Julia movie and thought the Julie girl was out of her mind), but maybe I can discover some things about myself if I at least try?  I've been feeling out of sorts about the state of my life, my parenting, my marriage, my weight, my general purpose...and it hit me tonight looking at this gleaming cookware that I might be able to claw out of this rut by forcing myself out of my comfort zone.  I work well when I have a project, so I've created The Good Housewife Project.  Here are my haphazard, middle-of-the-night (and hopefully not abandoned-in-the-morning) goals for becoming a Good Housewife: 

  • Get on Pinterest and figure out what to do with a dutch oven (and all my other cookware), and start experimenting with recipes.
  • Figure out how to keep my house clean and clutter-free without neglecting my kids (and the fun things we do together that keep us away from the house and my chores).
  • Eat healthier and make time to exercise...I want to finally lose the baby weight from my last baby, who is now 2.5 years old (and no longer a baby or an excuse).
  • Have a more positive attitude toward my husband--I know I won't greet him at the door after work with dinner on the table while wearing a dress and heels, but I want to put in more effort to be less sarcastic, more supportive, and generally more pleasant with him.
  • Spend more time with my kids.  This one is hard because I'm a stay-at-home definition, I spend ALL my time with my kids.  Somehow, that doesn't seem to accurately reflect how I feel about my parenting--I want to spend more time WITH them, not just in the same house (unloading the dishwasher, checking Facebook or my favorite blogs, talking on the phone to my mom...etc, etc, etc).
  • Find a balance that includes some time for me and what I want to do...even though I have no idea what that is right now.

I'm sure I have more goals, but those are the ones that stuck out in my mind when I sat down to write this.  I'm hoping that by giving this attempt at improvement a name and an audience, I might actually be able to accomplish some (or all?) of my list.  I'm not big into the self-help genre (and I hate talking about myself, which would make a blog dedicated to only me fairly sparse and boring)
, so this blog will probably chronicle our daily ridiculous adventures that go along with my attitude and behavior adjustment.  How long before a Bad Housewife trying really hard can call herself a Good Housewife?


  1. I had a great comment here regarding dutch ovens that I accidentally deleted... can you tell it has been a long day? In a nutshell - LOVE the new blog :)

  2. Well, first how cool that Caphalon will actually replace your pans, I didn't know that! Second, we are all learning in this crazy world of being teacher, Mom, wife, and it's tough! I think my favorite part about this post is the fact that you want to reach for something that's not comfortable, I think that is quite possibly when we learn the most about ourselves. Glad you are doing this and we can try this journey together! It kind of feels lonely "starting" a new blog when so many are up and going and thriving. I wonder sometimes, will anyone have any interest in my words? Well, I have interest in yours! Super excited about your blog!

    1. I have interest in your words, too, Rachael! :) Keep it up, and I'll try to keep myself going--we can motivate each other! It does feel a little lonely--thank you for reading. :)

  3. First of all, I love this!
    Second, I have two recommendations for you but you may not want or need them since you started this blog a few weeks ago and I just now found it and have only read this entry. :) One easy-peasy recipe that is so good: Chicken Tacos. Just throw 1 lb. of chicken breasts in the bottom of a crock pot, top with a chopped onion and bell pepper, then mix one packet of taco seasoning with one jar of salsa and pour on top. Serve in tortillas or whatever you prefer. You can add cheese, guacamole, whatever. And it's (usually) kid-approved.
    Third, for the cleaning thing, I used to do FlyLady which worked amazingly well! You do a quick "weekly home blessing" every week (duh) :) which is a quick cleaning of everything, and then you concentrate on one room/area each week of the month to do more detailed cleaning. I really need to start flying again...

    1. Thanks, Katie! I don't have a crock pot because I wasn't sure it would be worthwhile for my family...we're not big soup/stew people, and I know that's a big part of what works in crock pots. I'm looking into getting one, though--your tacos sound good! I used to do FlyLady when I lived in Ohio, but I'm so incredibly anal/lazy...terrible combination. When I clean, I like to CLEAN everything...but I don't make time to clean often enough. Does that make sense? Maybe I'll get back into her--I had kind of forgotten about her, so thanks for the reminder!

  4. It makes total sense! But I think that's why Flylady works. You work against your normal instincts to be "perfect." What does she say? Good enough is good enough! :)