My resolutions this year aren’t to start a new exercise routine, to eat better, or to lose weight. I’m not going to run a marathon, or race my bike, or even vow to join the local CSA to get more local veggies in our lives.
No, my resolutions this year are less impressive, less hip, and way less sexy than that:
1. In 2013 I will learn how to keep house.
Now that I am finally embracing my role as stay-at-home mom, I want to take care of our home. I want to make it comfortable and welcoming for my family when they return from school and work, and I want guests to feel at ease when they walk through our door. I can do the obvious stuff, like clean bathrooms, sweep, mop, vacuum, and change linens. But I feel like I don’t know fundamentals. Like how often to dust. How to clean upholstery. The nuances of laundry – how to care for fabrics, how to remove ring-around-the-collar, how to keep our clothes looking crisp and fresh.
Thankfully, my parents gave me the gift for this task that I was really really hoping to receive: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. It seems ridiculous to need a book on how to keep house – isn’t how to clean kind of a no-brainer? But already, only five pages in, I found this line:
Coming home is your major restorative in life.
And I realized that this book, and my ambition to keep house, is so much more than scrubbing toilets and chasing dust bunnies. It is an aspiration to bring care and comfort not to just any space, but to the most important space in our lives: our homes.
2. In 2013, I will begin to build a grown-up wardrobe, with timeless, classic pieces.
I still have clothes in my closet from twelve years ago. And I still wear them, worn, and faded, and looking, well, twelve years old. When I started working at Barnes & Noble last year, a large part of my motivation for getting a job was that I wanted a new wardrobe. I quickly realized, though, that building a wardrobe is expensive. And overwhelming. I had nothing outside of the typical mom uniform: jeans, knit shirts (stained), flip-flops, sneakers. I needed shoes, pants, skirts, shirts, coats, boots, tights, sweaters. And I still do. When we were invited to dinner at the home of my husband’s boss, I stared at the same old clothes hanging in my closet, pulled out a skirt that I had no shirt to match, pulled out a dress that I had no shoes to match, and ended up pulling together an outfit that really didn’t make me feel good about myself, but that would at least do for the occasion.
So this year, rather than buying yet another knit tee in yet another color, I’m going to start at the ground, with shoes, and work my way up. Like the housekeeping, I feel like building a wardrobe is basic knowledge that everyone else has, but I never seemed to pick up. So my husband helped me find a starting point, like this Wardrobe Essentials Checklist from The Chic Fashionista and The Staples for Every Woman’s Wardrobe from Wardrobe Oxygen. Hopefully these guidelines will help me out next time I choke and end up just going for another perfect tee.
3. In 2013, I will read five biographies or memoirs.
A piece of writing advice that makes complete sense to me is to write what you like to read. The only problem is that I like to read fiction. Novels, specifically. And I can assure you I am no fiction writer. Imagination is not my forte. However, one of my favorite elements of fiction is characters. I love that fiction puts you inside the heads of the characters. That you get to observe their life experiences, contemplate their reactions to situations and circumstances, feel empathy, have your eyes opened to ways of life you would otherwise never know about. People, and people’s lives, fascinate me. And given the fact that I love to write, but will not be writing fiction anytime soon, I think maybe I’ll flip that writing advice on its head and read more of what I like to write.
Maybe get an idea of how the real writers do it.
One week ago, I committed to posting every day for a week in response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Just Do It. This is my final post for that challenge. Hallelujah! In this final post, on the final day of 2012, I thought it only fitting to look forward and take up the new Weekly Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions (Doompocalypse Redux).