I don’t mind cooking dinner; I like putting music on and losing myself in each process: peel, grate, mix, pour, chop. I don’t mind vacuuming; it feels like exercise, and seeing the canister fill up with the dirt it’s sucked from our floors is intensely satisfying. On a good day, I can even enjoy cleaning the bathroom; it doesn’t take much to make it sparkle. And I quite like doing the washing; I like that it’s broken down into smaller tasks: load machine, hang out, bring in, put away, and so each step means something more ticked off a to-do list. (I always give up before the “putting away” part, but I still feel extraordinarily proud of my efforts on days I’ve washed. If I do two loads or more, I give up doing anything else for the rest of the day and just bask in the feeling of being award-deservingly productive.)
But when it’s time to get dinner ready and Moses is peckish and wants a snack and Hazel’s tired because she’s refused to have her late afternoon catnap the books talk about (it sounds so good in theory) and both are grizzling at me while I frantically peel and grate and mix and pour and chop (SO MANY PROCESSES, SO LITTLE TIME) so that I can get everything in the oven in order for it to be ready in time to keep our evening routine on the rails, and I have to turn the music off because it’s TOO. MUCH. NOISE, I hate cooking dinner.
And when I vacuum and scrub and then notice only hours later that everything looks as though it needs vacuuming and scrubbing again, and then I realise that this is what bothers me now, Moses dropping crumbs on the carpet (like, really? Crumbs are that big of a deal? DO I HAVE A LIFE?!), I hate cleaning.
And when I head downstairs to hang out the washing, manoeuvring the heavy basket through doors and outside, and then I realise I’ve left the pegs upstairs and will have to go all the way back to our apartment and then come all the way back down again, with Hazel always strapped to me like a millstone, I hate washing.
Often when I write down what needs to be done while Mo’s at preschool and then I read over the list and see that it’s made up of only various forms of cleaning, washing and house stuff, my brain has a tantrum (“SERIOUSLY?! This is what you want me to do all day? SCREW YOU.”) and I end up having to pacify it by reading or blogging or thinking or lying on the floor crying instead.
But someone has to do the house stuff, and I’m the one who’s here. It makes sense. It sucks, though. I chose ’Mother’; I never chose ’Housewife’. I hate ’Housewife’.