This morning, I got an email from a fellow church volunteer who abruptly said she needed something large, complicated and wooden that I had gotten roped into making by this Sunday. No deadline had been mentioned when I got roped into making this piece. In order to have the piece ready given the time constraints and weather constraints, I was going to have to forgo most of the plans I had for the rest of the week (including little things like menu planning and buying groceries) and do some of the work indoors (sawdust and polyurethane, great!).
As I stood in the shower, I thought about making this thing and trying to get the other stuff in my life done (realizing that buying groceries was actually not optional), I got totally overwhelmed and started to cry. Which is when I decided I’d had enough. I was done. I was not making the Large, Complicated and Wooden Thing. If she wanted it, she could make it her own damn self. I sent an email to that effect (only slightly more polite) and then I called A the Ubermom.
A was on her way to French class with her two children, but she had a couple of minutes to talk. She is also a volunteer at the church and, well, we were both feeling a little bit fed up with the status quo (actually, there’s quite a bit more backstory to this situation, but it’s not really important for the point I’m trying to make). She reassured me that it was okay that I was not making the LCWT. And then she said, “You’re doing enough, you’ve got a lot going on and you’re a very busy person.” And A is right, I actually am a very busy person. I agreed with her and then said, “Which is really funny because I don’t work.” And A said:
“I have come to realize that Women Who Don’t Work run the world. If all of us women who ‘don’t work’ were to stop doing everything it is that we do, schools, libraries, churches, and most non-profit agencies would come to a screeching halt. And that’s not even counting housework and kids.”
Guys, I am perfectly willing to believe that there are women out there who do not bring in a paycheck, do not have children to take care of, do not have to take care of their houses and spend their entire days and nights doing nothing but leisure activities. It’s just that I don’t know any of them. All of the women I know who do not bring in a paycheck are involved in umpteen volunteer activities in addition to doing the lion’s share of taking care of the children and of the housework. And, they grow their own vegetables. And, take classes online or at community colleges.
I may not have children (yet), but I am just as busy with volunteer work, housework, growing our own vegetables, and taking classes. In fact, I’ve had to cut back recently due to my need to sleep 16 hours a day (does that go away? Please say yes). Because I’ve been so tired, Husband has been doing quite a bit of the laundry and cooking and cleaning, too (he always does the dishes because I Don’t Do Dishes).* This busyness was unexpected to me. I really had thought there would be plenty of time to read 4 or 5 books a week and churn out a handknit sweater once a month or so (I didn’t think that’s what stay-at-home-moms did, I know taking care of children is a lot of work!).
So, be nice to Women Who Don’t Work. Your favorite school/library/church/charity might fall apart without them.
*These were things that we had previously shared the workload for but that I taken over because I thought it was only fair since he is at work all day. The reasoning went something like this: he’s at work all day for which he earns a pay check that contributes to our life together, so I should do housework during the day as my share of contributing to our life together and then we will both be free at night and on the weekends to do stuff together. This will change a bit when the baby arrives because I anticipate being about as busy with the baby during the day as he is with his job during the day.