It has been a few months since I gave up my glamorous job in the book mines and became a hausmann. The honeymoon period is ending now and I find myself settling into the domestic routine of cleaning and cooking and parenting. A strange place to find myself, but I like it here more every day. There are new skills to develop and opportunities to distill my passions into more powerful spirits.
I am far from a neat freak and when I lived alone, my apartment was cluttered. It was clean though, with my dishes and laundry well moderated. My clutter is under control now, reducing a bit every week, so I am remembering (and learning) how to keep a clean home. The Mrs. and I prefer to avoid chemical cleansers, so we use vinegar and baking soda and such. This last weekend we steam cleaned our carpets, a laborious undertaking, but the result was worth it.
So, week by week I get a little better at keeping things clean, learning my own way of these things. Meanwhile I do dishes and loads of laundry. There is satisfaction in both, in the neatly stacked plates drying on the counter and the heaps of clean clothes on the bed waiting to be folded away. A satisfaction too in returning my wife’s labor by giving her a comfortable home at the end of the day.
My cooking is coming along. I am far from what I would call a good cook, but within my narrow skills I am accomplished. I make excellent ‘man’ food: tacos, sandwiches and hamburgers. I learn a bit more every month, teaching myself from our small selection of excellent cookbooks. The little tyrant approves of my waffles, so I must be doing something right.
In the next couple weeks, another new phase begins as our little man starts kindergarten. This means that I’ll be walking him to school in the mornings, having made him breakfast and generally made sure that he is ready for the day. A step in his life to be sure, and one that I am looking forward to sharing with him. I wonder if I’m going to stand out as a parent, the oddity with facial piercings that loiters in front of the school in the afternoons.
This summer has been a wonderful time of change. With the coming of the school year I am hoping to carve time for my greater ambitions, my writing and the hobbies that might flower into vocation. Already though, I have found that being a different kind of father to be a joy. This may not be the goal of many men, but maybe they just need to get their priorities straight and come to terms with scrubbing toilets.