Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Everyday Philosophies of an English Housewife

For the past three days I've been stuck, numb-bummed, on the sofa watching Cbeebies with a poorly five year old. Wrapped in blankets, snuggling up, commenting on Mr Maker and Big Cook, Little Cook. I've enjoyed myself, not just because now she's growing up my baby rarely wants to snuggle with mummy and watch the telly, but because it has given me a bit of an excuse to de-busy and catch up with some reading. My husband laughs at my proclivity towards popular philosophy, asking if I've got the Beano stuffed between the pages of Consolations of Philosophy or (his personal favourite) "won't that hurt your brain, Pooh Bear?" However, I'm of a philosophical nature, which doesn't make me one of the world's great thinkers, but does mean I am inclined to be interested in the human condition, and indeed does mean that I'm inclined to stare into space deep in thought over the minutiae of every day life. Needless to say, my mother calls me "dolly daydream."
For years now I've been trying to get to grips with a personal philosophy of the home: the home's function, both on an individual level, a familial level and a societal level: and it seems to me that a philosophy of the home would be a many stranded affair, encompassing ideas on psychology, child psychology, sociology, politics, practicality and faith. And, for me, this philosophy would be a matter of deep, personal conviction. It also seems to me to be a large, long-term task, one in which I must live and learn. I feel very unsure about making sweeping, public proclamations about what constitutes a good home, as one thing I do know is that home is as finely nuanced and individual as the people who contribute to it, but I do think I have some reasonably well-formed ideas, and I'd like to share them with you, as I hope a discussion with my readers will help me clarify my thoughts and could help any younger people out in the ether who need to get to grips with the intricacies of the occupation which will take up most of their time: homemaking.
I feel slightly like George Eliot's Edward Casaubon when I talk like this, the poor man from Middlemarch whose life's work, A Key to all Mythologies, was an impossible attempt at Christian syncretism, a failed epic and a disappointment. However, my task is less grandiose and complex, and I hope not to be doing it alone. So over the next few weeks I shall be posting on home philosophies and I do hope that you will join in. Until then, anon, gentle reader!

8 comments:

~~louise~~ said...

Ever since my return trip from Idaho, I too have been reflecting. Looking forward to your future posts.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Let the philosophizing begin! Finding a unified theory of the domestic field as long been a dream of mine, too.

Enjoy your snuggling in the meantime!

Angela said...

Trouble is, whenever I try to Get Profound, the doorbell goes, the milk boils over, or there is some other domestic disaster...

Enjoy being a Numb-Bummed-Mum tho!

Sarah in England said...

Sounds interesting dear DD. Looking forward to your thinks.

Linda said...

I'm looking forward to your philosophical posts. I think that in these times when the family is under such assault it is a good thing to think about a philosophy of the home and what makes a good home. It's a big topic and there is plenty of room for thoughts.

Gumbo Lily said...

I always love reading you, whatever you have to say. I haven't heard Mama Cass sing in a long while so I enjoyed singing "sweet dream" along with her this morning.

Jody

Rowan said...

It will be interesting to read your thoughts on this especially as I am at a stage where I'm looking back on the family at home stage of my life. I have swum against the tide ever since I was married in 1972 having stayed at home and cared for my children and home my entire married life. It's something I've never regretted doing either though there hardly any other women who took my path in those days.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Louise
Ahh, it must something in the air, if we're both in a reflecting mood.

Hi Frances
"A unified theory of the doemstic field". I like that phrase so much I think I will steal it.

Hi Angela
Yes, Getting Profound does often coincide with the myriad of domestic disasters which seem to plague this house.

Hi Sarah
My thinks are brewing and I shall soon spout forth.

Hi Linda
Yes, I think there are many social changes afoot, and I also think how we view the home may be going through a process of development. We live in interesting times.

Hi Jody
You are an absolute darling! I love Mama Cass, poor, talented, lady that she was.

Hi Rowan
I'd really like you, and any other older woman, (and I mean that in the best possible sense) to contribute to the discussion. Do you feel that you have reaped the rewards of going against the tide?