Do you ever wonder what has happened to your day? In the evening, RD Husband comes home, and he’s got a whole day at work to show for himself. And I’ve been running around, but I feel like I can’t say I did one major thing or another. All this work, and at bedtime, I’m like, “What did I do today? I KNOW I was busy!”
So, as an exercise for me as much as anyone else, I’m going to catalogue what I did today, Monday, November 15. Maybe it’ll help me feel like I did something.
6:30 am… Woke up and fed the dog, let the dog out, made breakfast for the kids. Had some bagel myself and got dressed, got the seven-year-old dressed and got his backpack ready.
7:30 am… Left four-year-old with RD Husband and drove seven-year-old and two additional carpool kids to school. Arrived at school at about 7:52. Went immediately home, and didn’t arrive until 8:33. Fruitless sitting in traffic. Argh!
8:33 am… Made the four-year-old’s lunch, got his shoes on, and drove him to preschool. Arrived home about 9:15. Good grief, I’ve already been in the car for an hour and a half.
9:15 am til about 11:20 am is a bit of a blur. I wrote two blog posts, finished packing up some barrettes, ordered the seven-year-old some new school uniform shirts, gathered some nature for the next Martha Challenge project, let the dog in and out about forty-seven times, and threw in two loads of laundry. I did a little more farting around on the interwebs, but none of it was frivolous– mostly looking for supplies for the barrettes or catching up on piddly tasks.
11:20 am I left for the westside, which is about a 20 minute drive, to go get more ribbons for my barrettes. By the time I got to the store, picked out my stuff and paid, it was 12:15 pm. Gotta get the four year old at 1:00 pm. I wanted to drive through a Mexican fast food place for lunch, so I found one on my GPS. Drove a little out of my way to get there, and discovered there was no drive through. When I went inside, the line was INSANE. I left, kinda miffed, and just headed back to my ‘hood.
12:40 pm… dropped barrette orders off at a friend’s house, jammed on over to the drive through I know, got a quick burrito for lunch and picked up the four-year-old. Home by 1:15 pm.
1:15 pm until 2:25 pm… another blur. I sat outside with the four-year-old while he played around, fetched the dog back into the yard about fiftinity times, called the fence guy about putting up a fence for the dog, vacuumed sand off the floor from the four-year-old’s shoes, moved laundry around, got the mail, clipped the cat’s toenails, and got the four-year-old dressed again to leave.
2:25 pm… left to get the seven-year-old at school, but first a quick pit stop at Trader Joe’s. We needed:
- kid vitamins
- frozen veggie sausage links
Don’t you love the randomness of people’s shopping lists?
It was the fastest Trader Joe’s trip in the west, since we arrived at 2:41 pm and I needed to get the seven-year-old at 3 pm. Ish. We hustled out of there and headed to school.
3:04 pm… arrived at school and waited in carpool, then headed home. Arrived at 3:27 pm.
3:27 pm… unloaded the groceries and unpacked, folded laundry, talked to the garage guys (we are remodeling our garage, yay!), folded laundry, got twelveteen games down for the four-year-old, folded more laundry, cut tags off of new underwear for various family members, put those in the laundry, tidied up the kitchen, put away the sewing machine and tried new pants on the seven year old. They fit!
4:45 pm… started planning and making dinner, helped the seven-year-old practice trumpet, monitored his homework and reading time, and then… at 5:30 pm, we ate.
We had butternut squash ravioli supplemented with leftovers from The Cheesecake Factory last night.
And that’s boring enough, right?
Lest you think this was all I did, it wasn’t! I also, at various points, but in places I can’t remember:
- scooped the cat litter
- wrote a few emails
- cleaned out lunch boxes
- fetched quarters for the seven-year-old’s “experiment”
- put the vacuum away
- washed dishes
- bleached cutting boards
- vacuumed ants (ugh, I HATE ants)
- picked pricklers out of the dog’s face
- cleaned up this:
Which took about twenty minutes because it was two Monopoly games, an adult one and Monopoly Junior, mixed up as mixed can be.
Now, I know this probably all sounds like a whiny rant, but really, it’s more of a meditation. A meditation on the relentlessness and invisibility of housework. Which I should know a lot about, since I wrote my whole PhD dissertation on it, basically. Except there I was talking about nineteenth-century women like Dora Copperfield, Maggie Tulliver, or Sue Bridehead. And if you know who those ladies are, I heartily salute you, o erudite one.
I guess that’s what bothers me most about running a house. You only notice it when it’s being done badly. I’m afraid to admit, I like my recognition. And I can’t even recognize what I’m doing on a day to day basis. But I certainly would notice if I stopped doing it.
Now, I’m going to get all pensive and theoretical on you, so stop here if your eyes are about to roll. But I feel like there are some interestingly antagonistic paradigms working themselves out (or not) through the pressures of modern American women. There’s the old Victorian pressure to run a house invisibly, so that one can look leisured but still have a perfect home. This idea mixes with the American Puritan compulsion to be hard-working, always doing, which I think pushes some of us to add more stuff to our plates. And then, we’ve got feminism in all its waves, encouraging women to leave the home for career, suggesting we can do both, or, lately, showing highly accomplished career women leaving the workplace in order to stay home with children.
The result is a mix mash of competitive parenting (if you haven’t read Judith Warner’s take on this in Perfect Madness, you should), overly scheduled lives, and mass hysteria. Cats and dogs, living together!
And, of course, people like me who work all day and then don’t feel they have anything to show for it.
What do you all think? Let me know in the comments. I’ve gotta go iron some napkins.