Last night i Dysoned, and then Vaxed, the living room. As it takes a while, i got to thinking about the rather odd perpetual spiral that had brought me to be cleaning a carpet.
It’s a funny thing; once upon a time, women were chained to a life of drudgery in the home with no rights to a career, endless childbearing and childrearing, cleaning and cooking and being the dutiful wife. If they weren’t doing it for themselves, they were doing it in someone elses house for some other woman who didn’t have to do the cleaning but wasn’t actually any freer to do as they wished, by and large. Then along came the vacuum cleaner (or so my GCSE history text book told me) and *zing* emancipation – housework became less of a chore, there was more time for other things, women got to leave the home for small and part-time jobs or education, and in a sweep of generalisation, you get to my mother’s generation – a woman on the crest of that particular wave and relatively early on in the high-powered, well-paid, positive, educated, career choice movement.
So i get an education and choose to do with it as i will, which is far from the ideal my parents probably had in mind of a highpowered and well-paid job but in fact has turned out to be absolutely, exactly, without compromise, what i wanted. My children are not having to endure school as i did (whether they would have had to endure anything is of course a moot point, but this isn’t about them), i got to have pretty much as many children as i wanted, supported by a loving husband and here i am, 3 years into running my own business, just as i wanted to do, in my own home and with a decent future spread out before me.
And here’s the thing; what started with a vacuum cleaner (so the text book would have it) ends with one – the vacuum cleaner that heralded freedom for woman, freed me up to do my own thing, which turned out to be staying at home with my children, with enough self-earned money to buy a carpet cleaner, pay someone to wash my kitchen floor and help me out with the job that earns that money. Turns out the vacuum cleaner has also meant she can dump a job she hates and do one she enjoys instead, learn to run a business and gets twice as much time at home with her family.
All in all, that (slightly simplistic, i just know at least 6 people are immediately going to point out the flaw in it) circular, spiraling argument for the deliverance of womankind from domestic chores has landed me just where i like being. At home.