Attempting To Be A Domestic GoddessPosted: January 12, 2011
Like most of my peers (er, just one person actually) who are following this 30-day writing challenge, I am NOT adhering to it dutifully. While I’d like to blame it all on my hectic life schedule, heck, I’ll just be honest and say that the lazy-bone in me is much stronger than my desire to wanting to write more, hehe… For my own convenience, I think I’ll modify the challenge and rename it to be the “Topic Challenge” from now onwards.
Today, I’ll be sharing with you what I enjoy doing that is part of my daily routine. But I gotta warn you – it’s going to be one helluva boring post! Mainly because (1) I’m a relatively boring person who tends to do the same things everyday and (2) given that I teach for a living, there are very few dramas at my workplace. Even if there were, they’d be typical ones relating to my students and that is not something I’d like to divulge this early in the morning. So I’ve decided to talk about something that is outside of work, which I kinda enjoy doing though not particularly that good at.
Like most working moms who juggle between their careers and taking care of the family, I too find it challenging at times to meet work requirements and at the same time prepare dinner, monitor my daughter’s school work, feed her (she doesn’t like to eat much) and do the rest of the household chores, not to mention, to fulfill my wifely responsibilities. While I do enjoy that last bit, hehe, it can get pretty exhausting and difficult to look and smell my best for my husband at the end of the evening when he gets back home from work. So I try to ‘cover’ that inadequacy in most days by making him happy in some other aspect, that is, food.
You know what they say, the best way to a man’s heart is through his tummy? I totally believe in that almost immediately after getting married. When I was single, I hated the mere mention of cooking. It was like an allergy to me to the extent that I would actually itch and scratch myself whenever an aunt (it’ll always be an aunt of whatever distance) motioned for me to stand at one corner and cut something. The more I pondered, I think I was more afraid of cooking than hated it. For various reasons -one, I couldn’t differentiate between ‘halia’, ‘lengkuas’ and ‘kunyit hidup’ (among other things) so I was afraid of making a fool of myself at the supermarket or in front of future MIL; two, the thought of menyiang ikan or cutting and cleaning other eatable animals scares me; three, the preparation of all the ingredients I hear takes much, much more time than the actual cooking itself; four, I wasn’t really brought up in an environment where moms have to cook; and five, why should I cook when there are loads of nice and cheap places to eat outside??
But love does things to you.
I never thought I’d be one to acknowledge, let alone, experience that corny line, but it did. Fate has it that the love of my life has a full-time homemaker for a mother who is not only great in the kitchen but in maintaining the rest of the household. It is normal to see her get up earlier than everyone else to prepare breakfast, put the laundry in the washer, organize the drained dishes, iron and hang the clothes etc. I find it amazing that there will always be food on the table, if not, on the stove for her hungry children and grandchildren. The cooking process is almost non-stop. After breakfast, she’ll rest (though not technically resting ‘cos this is when she cleans the house, hangs the laundry on the pegs, sweeps the lawn etc) for 2-3 hours before starting lunch. The process must start early as the kids would usually go hungry by 1pm and my MIL would not have less than three dishes prepared. After clearing the table, she’ll ‘rest’ again for a couple of hours before dashing into the kitchen for tea. My MIL makes delicious traditional kuihs, but due to old age, she now prepares simple things like cekodok, pisang goreng, ubi or keropok instead. Then it’s a mere half hour of ‘rest’ before preparing for dinner, which is just like the lunch process, only more elaborate.
I was exposed to this ‘culture shock’ when I spent my confinement at my MIL’s place for two months. That was when I truly realized how hard being a housewife really is. At least with us working moms, we get a paycheck at the end of the month to treat ourselves for all of our hard work but for these moms, their rewards are intangible. You won’t see any cash flow coming into their bank accounts, no bonuses even after longer hours of work and definitely no sick days to get off work! My perception towards home-making (and all the cooking that it entails) changed after that. I was still afraid of cooking but if that’s what it takes to make my husband happy, then I’m sure gonna try. I made a silent resolution then to start cooking more for my family. Though nothing fancy and it’d only be dinner on weekdays, I vowed to cook no matter how tired or annoyed I was with my day job that morning.
It was hard at first but with time (five years to be exact and loads of encouragement from Hubby), I think I’m doing OK now. It also helps to have a comfortable kitchen, good lighting and air ventilation as well as good cooking utensils around to make your life easier. Since we have quite a small kitchen, I’m pretty happy that we had renovated the space to make it (slightly) bigger. Now I’m able to have an island to land my groceries before sorting them out and double it up as a breakfast table for the morning rush. I’m also looking forward to my longer ‘preparation’ worktop. Hubby has also promised to install an oven so that I can start baking again (we always had baked food when we stayed at Great Malvern last year).
Yeah, that is what I enjoy and look forward to at the end of the day. Apart from the obvious hugs and kisses from my daughter and Hubby, it is the looks on their faces while eating what I had prepared and maybe even their growling tummies when they sit down to have our family meal, is what makes it all worthwhile.