Yesterday, as I was hauling out laundry load number two, I kept hearing in my head, over and over, “Didn’t I just do this yesterday?” That’s been the hardest part of not working in the last year. People say, “Oh, isn’t it nice not to work? Isn’t it nice to relax and do lunch and go to yoga class and do only what you want?” But I don’t. All day, every day, I do things I don’t like and don’t want to do. I cook (okay, I like that part); I wash dishes; I scrub glass shower stalls and toilets and the bathtub; I empty out the Roomba; I mop the floors; I check pockets for change and sort laundry before putting it in the washer, and then when it’s done, I hang it out; I pay the bills and keep track of our finances; I keep the house stocked with milk and eggs and water and tomatoes and toilet paper and all the things we need to be fed and comfortable.
The thing that kills me about doing all these things, because, y’know, it’s not like I didn’t do all this and more when I was working full-time, is that it’s so bloody Sisyphean. So I do two loads of laundry in one day. Two days later the laundry basket is full, and I have to do it again. It feels like you never get done, and the little ping of satisfaction you get from accomplishing something doesn’t last long, because hello there it is again, that thing you just finished. It’s hard not to feel like you’re just drudging all day to no lasting effect.
I’ve never been good at boring routine. My idea of an ideal job is one in which you get enough routine to be comforting, but where the nature of the work changes up often, where you get to solve problems and complete things often, and produce tangible results and a sense of closure. That pretty much means that project-oriented work is perfect for me. You work hard, put in long hours, go like mad, and then at the end, you have something to show for all that crazy hard work. So working as a stage manager, or as a site producer, made me happy.
Oh yeah, and I also like getting paid.
On the one hand, I’m mildly obsessive about certain things, like crumbs on the kitchen countertop. I hate having dirty dishes in the sink at bedtime. On the other hand, honestly, I’m just lazy and don’t enjoy doing all this stuff. (They’re not called chores for no reason.)
I think I’m just not really cut out to be just a full-time housewife. I’ll do all the laundry and the washing and the whatever else, dammit, because I’m a grown-up and I can run a household just fine, but I need something else that isn’t housework.