The hamper is overflowing. Tumbleweeds of dusty dog hair are rolling down the hallway. The sheets are due to be changed. The milk has expired. My “To Do” list is three pages long.
But somehow, last week I managed to squeeze in time for a browse at my favorite antique shop, a “Champagne and Sparkling Wines Seminar” (and subsequent catnap,) and one afternoon surfing the web while eating an entire can of Pringles.
Were these little extra-curricular activities a waste of precious time? Embarrassing displays of laziness? Unnecessary acts of shameful self-indulgence?
I think not!
We housewives rightfully complain about not having enough time to get it all done, and sanctimoniously scorn those who think we lounge around eating bonbons all day. To the contrary, we scrub countless toilets, thanklessly pack lunches and vacuum acres of carpeting. We endlessly dust, lug tons of groceries and put scores of miles on our minivans taxiing our kids to and fro.
To make matters worse, the job of a housewife is literally never done. Microscopic particles land right back on our coffee tables the very moment our dusting cloths wipe. Crumbs seem to materialize from thin air. Bathroom porcelain gleams only for only a day or two before soap scum haze reappears. Dirty laundry mysteriously reproduces. Dishwashers never stay empty for long.
Truth be told, repetitive, mundane, unappreciated housewife drudgery is not difficult, it’s just a total drag. It doesn’t take a high school diploma (much less my neglected Juris Doctorate) to perform the duties of a housewife.
In fact, some researcher at MIT invented a battery-operated disk named Roomba that will vacuum your whole house in the time it takes me to run to the 7-11 for another can of Pringles. And they’re coming out with Roomba’s scrappy little cousin, “Scooba,” who prides its robotic self on gobbling up the cooties and hair behind the toilet. All for seven easy payments of some figure ending in nine-ninety-nine.
So, we housewives work day after day, month after month, year after year at jobs that can be done by a hunk of wires and plastic no bigger than a chicken pot pie, and no one understands why we aren’t always motivated?
Moreover, the mind-numbing tedium of housewifery is compounded by the fact that there is no tangible reward in it. The lowliest of factory worker – the poor slob who has the unenviable task of squirting that squiggle of icing on top of thousands of Hostess Cup Cakes, or the pitiable fool who took the job painting eyebrows on multitudes of Barbi dolls – even they qualify for performance bonuses, raises and employee stock options.
Conversely, there’s no one to pat us housewives on the back and say, “Hey, that was a helluva presentation you made to corporate” or “Because of your hard work and dedication, we are presenting you with this Employee of the Month plaque and giving you this lovely cookie bouquet.”
Nope. For the most part our tasks are necessary, expected and completely taken for granted.
So, don’t judge the next time you see a gaggle of housewives giggling in the racks at TJ Maxx, or sipping Frappuccinos at Starbucks after getting mani-pedis, or passing a People magazine between treadmills at the gym.
Or tasting champagne on a Tuesday afternoon.
Six housewives attended the little tasting seminar, and their comments were clear insight into why we felt it necessary to fit champagne sipping onto our To Do lists.
“While I wouldn’t necessarily serve this one at a dinner party, it would be a great wine to drink while doing the dishes,” one wife speculated.
“Ooo!” another wife yelped, “This has so many bubbles, it would make a great mouthwash for the bathroom.”
Our teacher told us that “The dryer flavor of this cava would pair nicely with meats, strong cheeses, Chinese food, spicy casseroles . . .”
“Hamburgers? Enchiladas? Bratwurst?” Another wife added.
“Cereal?” I offered, and the others laughed as I hoped they would.
These little excursions might seem indulgent and unnecessary; but to the contrary, such activities are crucial for the housewives’ mental well-being and absolutely required to maintain adequate productivity.
Oh, and to the nerd up at MIT: you make me one of those little machines that will pick my husband’s dirty boxers up off the floor, chaperone the 5th grade field trip, and teach my teenage son some respect, and I’ll be your first customer.
I’ll even treat you to a nice bottle of champagne. I happen to know one that tastes quite good.