Battlepanda: Confessions of an ex-domestic goddess


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Confessions of an ex-domestic goddess

Terry Martin Hekker literally wrote the book ("Ever Since Adam and Eve") on the joys of full-time homemaking, until she got fired by her husband.

Like most loyal wives of our generation, we'd contemplated eventual widowhood but never thought we'd end up divorced. And "divorced" doesn't begin to describe the pain of this process. "Canceled" is more like it. It began with my credit cards, then my health insurance and checkbook, until, finally, like a used postage stamp, I felt canceled too.

I faced frightening losses and was overwhelmed by the injustice of it all. He got to take his girlfriend to Cancun, while I got to sell my engagement ring to pay the roofer. When I filed my first nonjoint tax return, it triggered the shocking notification that I had become eligible for food stamps.

The judge had awarded me alimony that was less than I was used to getting for household expenses, and now I had to use that money to pay bills I'd never seen before: mortgage, taxes, insurance and car payments. And that princely sum was awarded for only four years, the judge suggesting that I go for job training when I turned 67. Not only was I unprepared for divorce itself, I was utterly lacking in skills to deal with the brutal aftermath.

I read about the young mothers of today - educated, employed, self-sufficient - who drop out of the work force when they have children, and I worry and wonder. Perhaps it is the right choice for them. Maybe they'll be fine. But the fragility of modern marriage suggests that at least half of them may not be.

If she does write a second book, she joked that she is going to call it "Ignore the First Book". Read the whole article. It reeks with bitterness, late-gained wisdom, sardonic self-awareness and provides an interesting antidote to the twaddle that is being pushed by Tierney and Brooks in the actual editorial pages of the NYT.