In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”
A simple question changed my perspective and my life. It was asked by my father, I was taken aback, affronted and guffawed at his old fashioned chauvinism but the question resonated and I did a 180.
I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. One of six children, I was expected to do my chores and look after my younger siblings. Father would arrive home promptly every evening and the dinner would be on the table, once he had read the evening paper. When he was finished, he would thank my mother and dismiss himself from the table to watch the evening news. My brothers and I would clear the table and wash the dishes. My mum had a job in a factory. Her life was hard work, she was often tired but every day she got all six of us kids up for school or work, she did the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry. In her spare time (you are laughing right?) she decorated, darned, sewed, hosted our birthday parties and so much more. Life was full, our home was full of love and laughter. Later my mum fulfilled her dream to become a nurse and she added a nursing career to all her other responsibilities, with gusto. That’s how it was back then, Dad went to work, Mum took care of the home and kids.
I had my career before I had my children. I was very successful but I was happy to leave it behind to start a family of my own. I often asked Mum for advice and drew on her experience. She was my greatest inspiration. Society had changed, by the 1970’s women were liberated from being slaves to the home, parents shared the chores and responsibilities, this was progress, right?By 1995 I was a stay at home mum with four children, three were under the age of five. My husband left the house at 6am and returned around 7pm depending on the traffic. He routinely helped get the kids off to bed, cook dinner and helped with the chores on the weekends. Life was good, our home was full of love and laughter. My parents came to stay with us, we loved when they visited. After one busy day, running around with the kids, the house was it’s usual mess, toy and books scattered around, the kitchen was in the midst of food preparation, the children still full of energy, waiting for their dad to come home. I was in my normal attire, leggings and a sweat shirt, not exactly as clean and fresh as it had been 12 hours earlier. It was just another day. It was around 5:30 on one such evening when my dad leaned in and asked me “do you bathe”? I looked at him puzzled “what do you mean”? “Before Robert comes home, do you freshen up, put on some lipstick”? He asked. I laughed at him. “Dad, it’s not the 1950’s you know”! That night I went to bed, but I could not get that question our of my head. I thought about my husbands job, his responsibilities, the people he managed, his commute. It wasn’t so different to mine, yet he came home every night to a second job as a father and husband.
That is when I had an epiphany. I took my world and shifted it’s axis and did a 180 on my thinking of what my part in my marriage was.I decided to become the Chief Operations Officer or COO of my home. My life as a stay at home mum became my corporation. The house, it’s headquarters, the children, it’s featured product. I took my experience in administration and applied it to my home and the responsibilities that came with it. My husband and CFO still had the responsibilities as a board member, to make our corporation successful but he no longer had to get involved with the daily operations.Before long, our home was organized. Items were packed away and cleaned up by six pm. The children were fed and bathed. Dinner was prepped and the kitchen clean, save for the bubbling pots on the stove. Laundry, cleaning, food shopping and other household chores were completed Monday through Friday between the hours of 10-4 pm leaving the evenings and weekends free for family fun, relaxation and spontaneous activities.I was good at my job in the business world, but I was better running my own corporation. I was happy, fulfilled, driven, and proud. I had the best partner in tow and together we have been One Team, One Dream, for 40 years!
And, if your are asking, did I brush my hair, clean up and slap on a bit of lipstick before my husband came home? You bet I did!