It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…

Genesis 2:18
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Ach. I am TIRED. I’m not sure if it’s just…it’s Thursday and I’m tired, or the June thing is making me extra tired.

Quick rundown of the day: got up, made the bed, donned my skirt and applied make-up,  passed up my beloved Bojangles yet again, went to work. I went out to dinner, but it was a sit-down dinner, so that’s allowed. Came home and fed the dogs, did a run-through of the house to straighten up, started baking. I made a dozen blueberry muffins and two dozen brownies and wrapped all the muffins to put in my basket. The muffins are going to work in my super-cute basket for teacher friends and the brownies are for one of my classes. I washed all the dishes and cleaned off the countertops. Laundry is all done, kitchen is clean, house is straight. I’m going to do floors tomorrow.

Then, I had to sit down and work on jobs two and three: answering emails from students, posting announcements, and the like. I also had to put the finishing touches on a sales contract for an acre of land I’m purchasing and email a friend about a baby shower I’m throwing.

I talked to Jeff tonight and mentioned I was tired, and he said, well, you know, June didn’t have as many responsibilities as you do. You don’t have to do ALL this stuff.

But I want to. I want to show that it can be done. It’s a personal challenge to myself. I wanna see that modern woman is BETTER than June bc we can do the career(s) AND the home stuff. At least to an extent.

On the other half of our experiment, Courtney’s husband is getting a little suspicious. He asked her this morning, upon being greeted by another breakfast prepared for him when he got up, what she wanted. Essentially, it was the old joke, “how much is this gonna cost me?” I’m really curious to see what he says in a couple weeks.  But obviously, he noticed the difference in just one day…and really liked it.

So far I haven’t cheated or broken any rules. I didn’t do the full hour of exercising today but I am SORE from yesterday. I did fifty squats and twenty-five crunches so I can say I did some time. I may do another quick set before bedtime.

Muffins to take to work!

 

During the thirty days, I’m going to be posting some information and research about what life was like then, and what it’s like now, marriage facts, divorce statistics etc. To start off on that, here is The Good Wife’s Guide, an article rumored to have appeared in a magazine in the 1950’s. You can read about its authenticity here, from the good folks at Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/language/document/goodwife.asp

Good Wife Guide

 

Alright, it’s 9:30 and I have cooling brownies to cut before going to bed. Good night!

First Impressions

“Ward Cleaver: June, you’re vacuuming in pearls. You know what that does to me! ”

Last night I told Jeff about the experiment. Since we don’t live together and do the long distance thing, I wasn’t going to get the pleasure of furtively judging his reactions.

Have you ever asked your guy if he thought another woman was pretty? And he had this moment of silence bc he had no idea what the safe answer was? That was Jeff’s reaction. I think he thought it was some sort of test. After I assured him that it was fine if he admitted to loving the idea of home-cooked meals and lunches packed and a lady who is always looking…together, he admitted that it would be great. In fact, when I was telling him my list and got to pedicures, he said softly…”ooh, I like painted toes.”

It was really cute. But his final statement on the topic, once I assured him it was “safe” was that he would “really love that,” but he also knew how hard I worked and didn’t want me to be stressed or overwhelmed in doing my project.

But I’m definitely going to stick with it for my thirty days. I like the challenge of the experiment.

My Day:

I got up and got dressed (in a skirt and pearls!) and made the bed.  I put on makeup (so unusual for me) and went through the house straightening up. Left, and went to work. I sadly had to drive by Bojangles without my chicken biscuit. It was very sad.

The kids noticed I was dressed up. They said I looked pretty and wanted to know where I was going. I told them I dressed up just for them. 🙂

After work I came home, fed the dogs, did my exercise tape, did laundry, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and “straightened up.” Then, did my online jobs work, and now I’m done for the night apart from putting laundry away.

I think this is doable. Based on my conversations last night with my honey, and Courtney’s husband’s initial comments (he doesn’t know exactly what’s going on, other than she cooked a yummy dinner tonight and volunteered to clean the kitchen), I think it’s obvious that the menfolk are gonna love this. Even if they would never expect this, they’re probably gonna love it while we do it.

So, the big question is: is this feasible, or are we gonna be dead at the end of the thirty days?

I’ve decided to do two laundry nights a week, two nights of floors, and two nights of baking, in addition to straightening up, cleaning the kitchen, etc. That has me almost doubling my cleaning regimen and still not being too overwhelmed.

I took out a deer tenderloin from the freezer. Tomorrow night I’m going to go out to dinner (nice dinner, so it’s okay!) and then bake some goodies to take to school Friday, and then Friday night will be floors and a big meal.

Off to fold laundry! Yippee skippy!

The lady herself

The Challenge

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.
June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.
Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here.”

It started as a conversation on Facebook IM with my friend Courtney. And, as so many crazy/brilliant ideas go, I’m not 100% sure how we got on the topic. I think we were talking about schools and children and money and staying home. And then we uttered the words no independent career woman should ever say: “I wanna be June Cleaver.”

Anne Taintor

 

Yes, we two intelligent (usually) educated women admitted that we sometimes longed for the days when women stayed at home, baked cookies, made fabulous hot meals from scratch, and took care of the babies.

Then we wondered, well, COULD people do that anymore? Courtney, married, wondered if her husband would be happier if she took over all the cooking and cleaning duties.  Was it even an option to work and have that kind of household? Would our relationships be happier?

We both enjoy reading relationship books for Christian couples. My favorite is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. These books suggest that though men and women are equal in the eyes and heart of the Lord, men and women were designed to fulfill different roles in the marriage. Neither role is more important, just different. In modern society, we’ve turned away from these roles, with the idea that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” And thus, relationships are in trouble.

Not that we would ever say that every woman should be at home, barefoot and pregnant. Certainly not! But the women’s movement was originally about choice, and some women may choose a more traditional role. And of course, part of the experiment is to try to work in more of these traditional ideas in with our modern lives as career women with lives and a job (or, in my case, three) outside of the home..

And so…we decided to try it for a month. Thirty days of June. We each made a list of things we would do for the next thirty days. Though in a serious relationship, I live alone, so I couldn’t exactly commandeer more of the housework of my own. So, I tweaked my list and added a couple other things.

Here is my list:

1. No pants for a month. Only skirts and dresses.

2. No fast food. I figured June and Ward may have gone out to a nice sit-down restaurant from time to time, but you’d never see her going through the drive-thru because she was too tired to cook.

3. No frozen or pre-made foods. My microwave is going to have a lonely month.

4. Super clean house. Beds always made. No dishes in the sink. Frequent vacuuming.

5. Very neat appearance. Light makeup. Pedicures. Pearls

6. Try at least one new recipe a week.

7. At least once a week, bake. Take results to a neighbor, church, friend, family, or work. (Preferably in a cute basket)

8. No profanity. June never cursed.

9. And because June was always fit and trim and I am, well…not, exercising an hour a day.

Courtney is logging her experience in a diary, and I decided to make this blog to chronicle the experience. If nothing else, I should save some money on eating out and probably be healthier (vacuuming does burn calories, right?)