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Lets Fix The "Home Stress"

alec vanderboom

As a Smith College grad (read former radical feminist who only felt comfortable getting engaged to the man she loved after he said he loved to shampoo carpets), I read way to much into Sociologist Studies about Gender Roles and Housekeeping. I found this study interesting that said that most women are more stressed at home than at work.

In my own life, I want to fix "the home stress." I'm so far from a natural homemaker. I'm allergic to routine. I'm a party girl who will find the easiest excuse to skip doing laundry in order to blow bubbles in the backyard with my 2 year old.

As a Carmelite, we're trained to value the "physical ecology of space." Carmelite monks stay in their "cell", their individual room for most of the day. The cell is where they encounter "God in the raw."

This is my personal observation, but Carmelites tend to be incredibly spacy. It's like the "absent minded professor" situation. Carmelites are so focused on the big picture, they miss the details. There are misspellings in our official Journals. During our meetings, people forget to bring the right copies of our class assignments. My favorite story is from 15th Century Spain where the one of the first Carmelite Reform monks brought 5 clocks to the monastery he shared with St. John of the Cross, but no bed!

I truly feel like God has a great sense of humor because he matches pretty much the worse human being to a specific task and then expects them to do it well enough (with his help) to become a Saint. I'm convinced that Carmelites are such fans of order, routine, a clean & sparse living space--because by our innate nature, we do it so poorly.

I'm a Carmelite Feminist. I don't think I solve my own version of Female Home Stress Burden by asking for more telecommuting at work. (Sometimes,  I feel like sociologists and journalists do a great job of describing problems, but poor a job of proposing solutions.)

I think I'm supposed to solve my Home Stress Feelings, but making my home life more peaceful. That takes God's help. It's supernatural. I want less stuff inside my home. I want more routines. I want better food and more flowers. I want more Rest-- true rest. I want more time with people I love. I want to laugh my butt off with my friends.

I'm so grateful we are moving. It's super hard. It seems impossible to do while I'm still in the middle of heavy morning sickness. This move is like a Boot Camp, where I'm forced to get our domestic routine into better shape. I'm throwing out stuff that is broken. I'm packing stuff we won't need for 4 weeks. I'm making our physical space work for us--instead of simply being a random collection of objects.

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for me!