Monday, March 3, 2014

Domestic Servitude...

The Well Turned Lady has a confession to make.  She has not managed her time well since she last wrote to you, thus the gap of many months since the last post.  Her creativity, the very thing she is attempting to nurture, is thwarted in a stream of work, chores, fatigue, and frittering time away on the Internet.
She confess this to you because she needs this transparency to really see what she is doing and because daily work versus creativity was no less a struggle for women historically, though it looked different.  In order to cultivate this creative life, The Well-Turned Lady is attempting to understand how other ladies in the past who labored still managed to create.  And all who create must reach an agreement with themselves and their spouses on how much Domestic Servitude is required of each of them.
WTL warns you not to make the mistake she did.  In looking for a tasty baked French toast recipe one day, she came upon a blog focused upon Domestic Servitude.  “Perhaps this was some ironic spin on the topic of housework,” she wondered. The WTL was flummoxed to find it was an (ahem) S & M site...with recipes.  Apparently the Domestic Servant of said site had entered into a Master-Slave relationship.  She even posted pictures of their (non-wedding) bands with the words “Master” and “Slave” engraved upon them.  How quaint. 
She did have excellent baked French toast, though.
While home maintenance can at times feel like a Master/Servant relationship, the WTL reminds herself frequently that having a place to lay one’s head is a blessing, still.  However, it can seriously impinge one’s creative time – at least it does to her.  One reason for this, she had read, was that with each technological innovation in the domestic arts, our standards of cleanliness rose to meet them.  Thus, Labor Saving became Labor Expanding.
One more distinction must be raised.  Given England’s class system most respectable houses had servants.  In Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet huffily defended that they had a servant, too.  It showed their social status.  The Colonial woman of this nation - less so.  Anonymous was a Woman references that most of the girls and young women in the book were preparing themselves to care for their home.  One mother even exhorts her daughter:
                                Oh, you life will go so much easier if you know how to bake and roast!
The WTL lady is in the Colonial category.  Daily work is done by the WTL and The Well-Turned Hub (husband).  She receives some help with deep cleaning every few weeks as The WTL has arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and a host of other chronic pain issues.  She does not even attempt to deep clean anymore as it will set her back, and she will need several days in bed to recoup.  Day-to-Day is another matter.  Clothes, dishes, picking up, vacuuming, general cleaning and litter box cleaning (oh joy) falls squarely on the WTL and WTH. 
The trouble is that the WTL feels pulled in a million directions.  When cleaning, she wishes she were doing something fun.  When doing something fun, she might be reviewing that endless to do list in her head.   She rushes from one place to another from the start of the day until the end when she pours herself into bed after watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  Quell Domage!  What is a WTL to do?
Have ideas to solve this quandary? Share, please, in the comments section.

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