Thursday, 7 July 2011

Living in the Shadow of Domestic Goddesses

Author KD Grace is in the house. She is not the only one that the domestic goddess gene skipped over. I think many of us can relate to her "dilemma."

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I look fairly well-adjusted to most people, and I can pull off the normal act pretty well after years of practice, but the sad truth of the matter is, I live in the heavy shadow of a long line of domestic goddesses. It's a burden I bear as best I can, and the women in my family have bucked up well in spite of the family secret. There's no denying it. I just didn't get it ... the domestic gene. It's not my fault. You get what you get, don't you? And I just didn't get any of that nesty, homey, Suzie homemaker stuff in my genetic soup bowl.

My mother could have moved into a cow shed and within a few hours, a few days at the most, made Martha Stewart herself proud. Me, I'm more the type to move into a nice flat and adapt to whatever the previous resident's version of interior design was. Does repainting everything to my own taste ever enter my mind? Nope! Does buying new curtains and placing pictures tastefully on the wall ever enter my mind? Only if there is a spot that needs to be covered. It's not that I'm a pig or anything. I'm not even a slob. I'm just oblivious.

I know there are women who actually enjoy housework. But I've never been able to see what's to enjoy? And what's the point? Don't give me all that satisfaction of a job well-done rubbish. Even if I wanted to do it well, I couldn't. It's not genetically possible. My efforts, no matter how earnest, are always mediocre at best. My mother and sister, even my sister in-law, could cook a three course meal for a family of twelve in a kitchen smaller than a shower stall and dirty only one pot. My kitchen is considerably bigger than a shower stall, and there are barely enough dishes in my house to make pasta and a salad for my husband and me. No, it's not a shortage of cookware; it's a shortage of domestic savvy.

Oh, I took home economic classes like all girls my age were forced to when we were in school, and I even passed the courses, but I think it was because the teacher took pity on me, or maybe she took pity on herself because she didn't want me back in her class again. Don't get me wrong, I can cook a decent meal. I can run a vacuum through the centre of the living room to get the crunchy bits all off the carpet. I can iron the biggest wrinkles out of a shirt without ironing back in too many more new ones in the process. I can sew on a button and even get the bloodstains out of the shirt afterward from the needle wounds in my finger. But I lack finesse, I lack enthusiasm, I lack that certain domestic spark that the other women in my family just naturally have.

My sister would say my gifts lie in other areas. And she would say that while whipping up a batch of cookies between ironing creases in her tea towels. I love to go to her house. It always feels like someone just freshly unwrapped the package. And the cool thing about my sister's house is that she manages to make it look clean, smell like freshly baked cookies and feel comfy and welcoming all at the same time. If I ever manage to get my house clean enough to meet the standard and make it smell like freshly baked cookies, the resentful scowl with which I would answer the door and the deep beetling of my brow from all the effort that doesn't come naturally would go a long way toward canceling out the comfy and welcoming feel I was aiming for.

It's a good thing I can write, because I can't sew, crochet, make tasty canapes or do any of that homey artsy stuff. Fortunately the women in my family have never held my genetic shortcomings against me. They love me anyway. I'm glad, because they do that even better than they do domestic stuff, so I came out okay in the end. And really, I think it's an excellent trade-off, the domestic gene for the writing gene. I'm not too warped from my dearth of domesticity, and the writing gene has made me almost completely self-entertaining. Plus I can do a fair job of entertaining others as well. It may just be that in the end, my mother got a real bargain with me after all.

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K D Grace was born with a writing obsession. It got worse once she actually learned HOW to write. There's no treatment for it. It's progressive and chronic and quite often interferes with normal, everyday functioning. She might actually be concerned if it wasn't so damned much fun most of the time.

Her erotica has been published with Xcite Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, and Scarlet Magazine.

Her first novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly is available now.

Find out more about K D Grace on her website, http://kdgrace.co.uk. She's also on Facebook and Twitter.

27 comments:

Janice said...

Oh, yay, I'm the first to comment.

This is too funny, and it sounds remarkably like my sister who can hold down a good paying job, but ruin a perfectly good chicken trying to cook it.

She's wonderful writer too, if only she could finish something I'm sure someone would snap it up.

Janice~

Faith said...

I'm the type who can cook, crochet, and clean house like Martha Stewart but just don't have the freaking time, lol. My house is clean, but there is clutter due to kids. I will cook, but my hubby enjoys it, so he does 90% of the cooking. As for crocheting or decorating, my writing takes up so much of my time that I don't even have a spare moment for my second love, artwork.

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

I used to be that way. And i still could be if the need arises. I no longer have kids at home since they left the nest. I have a lot of free time so the house doesn't get cluttered like it used to. My kids use to say "Geez mom a speck of dust wouldn't dare land because you'd be there before it hit ground". I don't think i was that bad,but they say yes. So now it's me and the dogs, yes i inherited the kids dogs, but wouldn't have it any other way.

steph beck said...

I love to bake and knit and sew and make my home a nice place to be. I hate doing dishes though and will delay as long as possible getting those done. My mom wasn't so big on the neat and tidy, but as the number of children I have grows, the more I understand that sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to do it all! I'd rather cuddle on the couch with the kids or get in some late night writing than scrub the floors!

Great Post!'
Stephanie Beck
www.stephaniebeck.net

Desiree Holt said...

How funny! I'm passing this link along and definitely checking out your work.

Fabian Black said...

My house is so untidy people wipe their feet on the way out.;)

I hate the whole domestic roundabout, the same jobs over and over again.

My sisters love re-decorating their homes, but not me, I just don't get a kick out of it at all. Paint charts and fabric samples actually make me depressed.

I have been known to staple up the hems of curtains because I detest sewing so much

I have a cleaning blitz once or twice a year, but that's it.

I prefer to spend time writing rather than weilding a duster. :)

Libby

Kay said...

It's official KD- I love you! I did have a domestic gene once. In fact I do feel sorry for my long suffering husband sometimes. When we met I was SO house proud. The home was always clean and tidy, dinner was always cooked, cakes were baked...then came the children- the cleaning stopped, but I hung in there with the baking...then I found out that I could do this writing thing...all vestiges of the domestic goddess within me evaporated. Thank goodness for MArks and Spencers ready meals!! Kay Jaybee xxx

Faith said...

Fabian, I read your comment and had to reply to it. I know exactly what you mean about painting, fabric swatches, etc. I'm the same way. What's weird is that you'd think with me being an artist I'd love to decorate, paint, wallpaper, and so on, but I hate it. To me that stuff is a horrible chore!

K D Grace said...

*Sigh, gasp, pant* Sorry I'm late getting over to say hi. Head down in writing next novel, blissfully ignoring laundry to be folded and put away.
You all are lovely! Even those of you who are domestic goddesses:) I have good friends who are domestic goddesses, and they love me anyway.

Janice, I bet I can ruin a perfectly good chicken as just as well as your sister can. Fabian, your house sounds just like mine! Desiree, would love for you to check out my site. THAT I can keep up pretty well. Oh, and I can grow veg too!

Kay, love you too, Hon!

Bottom line, love writers and love to write. You are all fab, domestic goddesses and all!

Fabian Black said...

Faith,

I think daubing paint onto flat walls and choosing fabrics is a very different kind of artistic expression to other artwork. I'm not dissing interior design, it's beautiful in its own way, but it just doesn't grab me, like you say it's a chore. My sisters can spend weeks mixing and matching curtains and cushions. I randomly bought a green cushion a few weeks ago,I just liked it, but it doesn't go with any other furnishings in the room, but coincidently it does match the colour of my cat's eyes, so when she sits next to it, I kind of feel vindicated for buying it...hey, my cushion matches my cat. I try to pretend that's the reason I bought it, lol.

Faith said...

Fabian, don't feel bad. My mother will come over and look around and say, "Can I help you decorate? Woult it offend you?"

I smile and say, "Mom, be my guest!"

K D Grace said...

I have to say I'm quite partial to to interior designs that match the cat, or the budgie. It makes as much sense to me as anything else about that particular art. Certainly it makes sense to have throws and cushions that match the colour of the cat's hair to compensate for the shedding factor.

Faith said...

ROFL! Isn't that the truth!

Ray said...

I have it on good authority that KD is an excellent cook.

And that her husband is even more cleaning impaired than she and doesn't notice anything amiss.

Fabian Black said...

Faith, I'd love to have a mother who offered to decorate, as it is whenever I go out I leave a window open in the hope someone will break in and decorate or at least whisk the hoover over the carpets.

KD, I live in hope of 'tabby' becoming the latest fashion trend, in which case my home will be right up to date!
:-)

Libby

K D Grace said...

Ray may be ever so slightly prejudice upon the matter of my cooking skills. But I'm great on anything that takes less than three ingredients and can be poured over pasta.

And Fabian, I can't think of anything more sheik than tabby.

DARRELX said...

Thats the thing, there are more women in the workplace now then men. I have no problem with that. Only let us men stay home and do the housework. I enjoy doing housework and would be content to be some godessess manservant. Women want to work yet they only want men who work too. Well that is usually what they want on dateing sites. I work as a cleaner. I love cleaning. I live to serve. I am demesticated and well trained and ready to go.

K D Grace said...

There are several men in my neighbourhood who stay home and take care of the kids and the house, Darrellx. I think that's fantastic! If it works, it works. I'm not picky about who does it. Obviously I'm not even too picky about how well the domestic chores get done, and I can certainly see the appeal of a manservant to the goddess of the house. I'm sure lots of women can. In the end, I think it boils down to what you most enjoy. For me, it's writing first, then there's the two veg gardens, which I love, and the whole stunning English countryside waiting for me to explore it on foot. Let's hear it for people enjoying what they do!

Molly Daniels said...

I didn't get the 'decorating' gene. I move into a house/apartment and put my pictures up and move in my furniture, but color schemes? Those cute things in Home Interiors catalogues? Forget it; unless I can afford to buy the entire page, I just don't 'get' where things 'would look right'. Even now, in my former MIL's house, her curtains and pictures are still up. My stuff is in storage, with the exception of most of the furniture. And only b/c her stuff was falling apart or wouldn't hold up to my 3 kids' workouts.

And lately, housecleaning has taken a back seat to the editing and writing. I need to get back on my FlyLady routine...but I've discovered I clean better when I'm the only one in the house. Kind of hard in the summer and with the spouse home all day.

DARRELX said...

@KDGRACE- The irony for me is that men do not look for women who work, but women seem to only want men who are financially secure even when they themselves are. There is still a double standard when it comes to who should work and who should not. Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect women more then anything and believe that respecting their wishes is the only right thing to do. I understand the importance and value of women and how much they enrich our lives and culture. I am just saying that women who believe that a man should have a job, and wont date jobless men, is as sexist as a man who use to believe that a woman should not work and stay home. There are still double standards. I just notice that one dating sites, only the women want somebody employed. None of the men say, I want a women who is financially secure. Not to worry though. Woman over history have coped more crap from men then could ever be repaid in this life. So it’s a wonder if all women do not just want to get rid of us all. I like to lose myself in writing. I tried my hand at two novels, and now am writing a screenplay. I am also doing a screen and media course, and want to make my own movies. Still I have my faith and that keeps me going. Anyway I love this blog. I am always interested in learning about women. For what its worth, I have five sisters. Women are a never ending source of facination to me. Just let me know if I cross any lines here. I am here to learn.

Faith said...

DarrelX, I've watched a program on Discovery about this very issue a couple times. It has years of research behind it, but there are some things in both men and women that are instinctual instead of actual conscious thought and often--although not always--women who refuse to date jobless men act upon the who-is-the-best-provider instinct. Sure, there are women who truly think "no job, must be a sponge or lazy or..." but it also makes sense that many women who want to start a family unconsciously steer away from men who they deem unable to support and provide for offspring.

However, I've known a few men who couldn't handle the fact a woman made more money than they did. I know two right now and one of 'em is part of my family. A woman who makes more money is a threat in many manners, and if she makes more money she must be smarter and stronger than the male in many ways. They're instinctual side kicks in and they feel threatened by an alpha--as they might see her--female.

In a nutshell, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. :-)

KD, you've had a great blog that has inspired some engaging discussion!

Jaime Samms said...

Oh, hey. Somebody stole my bio: domestically challenged writer. Actually, I can make a space look lovely. I'm good at pulling a design together. Complete shite at ever dusting or vacuuming it after, though. My kids really would rather I don't cook. In fact, probably, no, definitely, my 11-yr-old daughter is a way better cook than I am, and hubs does most of the housework. How I ever managed to survive as a wife long enough to have an 11-yr-old daughter is completely beyond me, in fact. Luck of the draw, I guess.

DARRELX said...

I don't believe all that evolutionary ideology. In the old days all a woman need to do was find a man to marry and support her. I am saying that in this day and age, all things being equal, all a man should have to do is find a good woman to marry and support him. We blame too much on instinct and not on the lack of common sense, and over abundance of selfishness and superficiality. I think anyway. A woman who has a job, need not find a good provider/man. So called instint cannot apply in that situation. How could it.

Anthology Authors said...

KD,

I have some Zebra throws over the back of my couch to save the couch from the endless shedding of cat fur. You can see the fur, but it's not too bad. Our cats and black and white. (g) We need to wash them, though.

I am not a domestic goddess. I am a good cook, but I don't care to cook. I make a mean pesto, some scrumptious marinara, and a few other things. I also have a disgustingly good chocolate cake with an icing that melts into the cake and it's manna from heaven. But I don't really care to do it much.

I don't sew. I don't crochet. I don't knit. Sometimes, I think it would be nice, but who has the time? LOL

Marci

Robyn M Speed said...

I don't see the point in housework either. The dust just settles somewhere else!

I have my children well trained. If they want to EAT cookies, they have to MAKE the coffees.

The coaster under my mug says "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life" ... and I take great inspiration from that!

Faith said...

You sound just like me, Marci, lolol. And maybe I should give you my spectacular peanut butter cake recipe for your spectacular chocolate one. Oh! I know! Let's combine them and we'll be Betty Crocker famous, ROFLMAO!

Fiona McGier said...

I tell my husband when he complains that I don't do any housework, that I never promised him I'd be any good at that, and what I WAS good at, what he married me for, I'm STILL good at. I once broke a chunk off the waterbed while vacuuming, because he had the nerve to be lying down taking a nap on it while I was doing housework. He never let me vacuum again, in fact, taught our kids to do it. I told him a man with a toilet brush in his hand is so sexy...now I don't have to clean our bathroom anymore, and the kids clean their own.

As for decorating? He used to show me swatches of paint and ask my opinion...I'd say, "I don't care." He doesn't even bring me when he buys new furniture, because I don't care about that either. Everyone is so much taller than me, that if I like the sofas/chairs, they will be too small for everyone else. So he bought me my own rocker, and I avoid the rest of the seats because my feet don't touch the ground!

But I can cook and love to bake muffins and pies. I can sew and do alterations. I crochet whenever I'm forced to join the family in watching something on TV. I just don't get the whole having to dust or clean, even when people are coming over. IMHO, if they are coming to see me, they won't notice the dust. If they do and it bothers them, I'll go to their house next time.