Today there was an article in The Sydney Morning Herald about retro housewives – women who have striven for a university education and a high powered career only to chuck it all in for baking, raising kids & tending house. The article says
“The retro housewife may be motivated by a growing unease about consumerism and materialism. Or it’s a distrust of the food system or destruction of the environment that acts as the catalyst for bringing a family’s food production in-house. Some see themselves as the best – if not the only – people qualified to teach their children. Many may think the world of pastel aprons and home-made biscuits – aka “lifestyle porn” – glorified on social media and blogs, is simply very appealing.
“I loved my job but I loved baking and cooking,” says Sebire. “I really wanted to get married and have a baby “My job was so inflexible and you had to be seen to be at your desk. I know that I’d be sitting at my desk thinking about what was going on at home and either my job or my family life would be sacrificed. Jobs and a career will always be there, but my kids will only be little for so long.”
She doesn’t feel that her tertiary education has been wasted and says she is frustrated when people say she’s turned her back on everything she learnt at university. “It’s all education,” she argues. “Education is important in itself.””
There was some backlash in the article:
“Feminist and author Anne Summers is exasperated by the domestic revival. “If women want to quilt and craft and sort out their linen cupboards on a weekly basis that is their business. But don’t claim it is a superior way to live,” she says.
In her book The Misogyny Factor, to be released next month, Summers writes scathingly of a new generation of middle-class “yummy mummies”: “How could it have come to this – and so quickly? Not even a generation after the women’s movement fought for the right for married women to keep their jobs, to have equal access to promotion, and to be paid the same as men, scores of women are walking away and saying, ‘We’d rather be Mummies.'””
I couldn’t help but feel a bit affronted by Anne’s comments as I have recently left a corporate career to work part time and spend a lot more time in the kitchen. And I’m not even raising children! Am I helping to set the women’s movement back? Gosh, I really hope not!
I think it’s really important to do what you love. Let me repeat that. I think it’s really important to do what YOU love. Just because I was good at sales does that mean I have to do it even though it was not aligned to my personal values?
So, to deal with my confusion and anger I did what I do best at the moment, I tied on my apron and got myself into the kitchen. And I made the most retro housewife thing I could think of – scones! Yummy, delicious gluten-free cheese scones. And I promptly ate 3. And I am so glad that I did because as I ate I read Twitter (doesn’t everyone?) and I came across this article from The Guardian. It’s called “Find what you love and let it kill you”. Yes, I realise it does sound a bit depressing but it was about recognising what you love and just do it, love it and be authentic.
Doesn’t this quote inspire you?
“What if for a couple of hundred quid you could get an old upright on eBay delivered? And then you were told that with the right teacher and 40 minutes proper practice a day you could learn a piece you’ve always wanted to play within a few short weeks. Is that not worth exploring?
What if rather than a book club you joined a writer’s club? Where every week you had to (really had to) bring three pages of your novel, novella, screenplay and read them aloud?
What if, rather than paying £70 a month for a gym membership that delights in making you feel fat, guilty and a world away from the man your wife married you bought a few blank canvases and some paints and spent time each day painting your version of “I love you” until you realised that any woman worth keeping would jump you then and there just for that, despite your lack of a six-pack?”
So my recommendation to you dear reader, is to make a batch of cheese scones and ponder what it is you love and pursue it. A weekly decoupage course, a summer in Paris to write your book, or a part time job so you’ve got more time with the kids? Try to find a way!
1.5 cups sifted gluten free self- raising flour
1 teaspoon of salt
115g butter, chopped finely
2 eggs, whisked
3 very heaped teaspoons of plain yogurt (half a cup at least)
1 handful of shredded tasty cheese
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Method: Preheat the oven to 220 Celsius. Mix the flour and salt. Rub in the butter with your hands until the mixture is well aerated. Make a well in the centre. Mix together the eggs and yogurt. Slowly add the egg & yogurt mixture, stirring gently. Then add the cheese and combine. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Using an ice cream scoop place the batter onto a tray lined with greased baking paper. Cook for around 10 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy on their own or as an accompaniment to soup, stew or casserole. Ponder your life’s loves as you eat.