Recently, while practising yoga at home, I had a realisation. I’d like to say it was a spiritual awakening of some sort but unfortunately it was just that my floor was really quite dirty.
The more I stay home, the more grubby it seems; I notice how the wardrobes bulge and shoes languish. I balk at the use-by dates of tins forgotten on kitchen shelves, repulsed not only by their age but their texture (“Why are things in my kitchen sticky?” I shamefully type into Google). No matter how hard I scrub, I find only more flaws, and no sooner is it cleaned than it all needs doing again.
I am appalled, both by my dereliction of domestic duties (wasn’t I raised better than this?) and for seeing it as a dereliction of duty in the first place (haven’t I evolved past this?). It can mean only one thing. I am entering the next phase of modern womanhood – the long, exhausting “Can’t I have it all?” stage – defined by wanting a life bigger than my mother’s while retaining her household standards (how do her sheets always seem whiter, her food tastier?).
We all end up here eventually. I have it with my mum, and she with hers. Take sewing: my mum always regretted not learning my grandmother’s excellent seamstress skills (too busy moving to the other side of the world, a previously unavailable opportunity). But my mum can still mend almost anything, whereas I am ashamed I can only raise a hem and fix a button (too busy moving through my career, also a previously unavailable opportunity).
Will modern womanhood always be full of such worthless comparisons? I pray someday the cycle breaks. Though I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of my future daughter, wishing she’d learned to fix that button, instead of having to 3D-print an entirely new coat, another previously unavailable opportunity.