Housework Is What?…

Housework is what a woman does that nobody notices unless she hasn’t done it. Evan Esar

Meditation: This quote is by a man who was born in 1899 and died in 1995. It is interesting how he (as a representative of the 20th century) assumes three things in one sentence, namely first that a woman does the housework, secondly that it does not get noticed, and thirdly that the woman will be noticed when she does NOT do the housework. Personally I grew up with such traditional values and assumptions. My life as a female teenager included 50% homework and 50% housework. This is how I found my identity in a traditional cultural set up. Today, as a 21st century, postmodern woman, I spend about 50% a day on my work life and 40% present with my family and 10% on housework. With this shift, I actually experience housework partly as necessary chores that just have to be done, but mostly also as enjoyable moments of being alone. Folding laundry or washing dishes while listening to Jazz music have become refuge moments for me. I am surely noticed daily by my husband and my daughters. Yes, they do notice times when the laundry or the dishes are not done, whenever life gets too full. (And they are working on pitching in.) However, they mostly notice me for being present with them and for being joyful for having my own life and career. I am grateful that I can role model for my girls that am noticed as a female for who I am and for what I do, and not for what I have NOT done.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your encounter with Maria and Martha. Thank you that even two thousand years ago you broke through patriarchal stereotypes by valuing both women, but liberating the one who got stuck engaging in housework worries, which You did not regard as essential. I pray for Your Spirit to help all of us, women and men alike, to not succumb to patriarchal role expectations. I pray for all of us to examine our gender specific fixed assumptions and our stereotypical ways of thinking. Thank You that Your Spirit always wants to lead us to freedom. Amen

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)