Women’s work

So, we’re back in the school holidays.

Today, the kids are out — originally planned so that I can work — but as it turns out instead I will use to the time to get some things done that I need to do without the children around. (Others can achieve some of these with their children around: people, I commend you. It is not the case chez Particulars …) Writing a quick blog is my special treat so that I don’t go completely mad.

So far today I have done laundry. I have visited my mother and gone to the supermarket for her (she fell at the weekend, and can barely walk at the moment); and then she asked me to fix her printer. The driver had vanished off her laptop — the printer and the laptop are both 1,000 years old and are VERY SLOW and every time I am asked to fix whatever the latest issue is, I tell her that if it were me I would just start over with new kit. But my mum doesn’t think she should buy new ones (even though she can afford it) because they are only eight years old. AAAARRRGH! But it’s ME that gets to spend five hours trying to fix stuff. Anyway. Sorted the computer issue out, but all that took two and a half hours out of my day (and the kids are “only” out for 7 hours today).

Then food: we have a glut of veggies in our garden so I took our glut and turned it into a meal for tonight and some meals for the freezer. I find this quite satisfying and reasonably productive and relaxing, so a good thing. Courgettes and spring onions become ta-da: courgette, chicken and tarragon pie filling. Yum — and at least we have a decent dinner done for tonight. Still, takes time.

Then I decided to tackle the craft cupboard. OMG. Paper proliferates in this house at a rate of knots, and then there are the pipe cleaners, stickers, workbooks, pens, glue sticks, bits of fabric, things I don’t even know what they are … we have had some birthdays recently and I have been busy so it’s really rather scarey in the craft area. I am, as I write, half-way through (I hope).

Spending a day like this doesn’t make me feel good, though, because I feel that I never get enough done. I forget how long all each of these things take: and if I don’t do them at all (my sister’s strategy) it drives me up the wall. So by the end of today I will have done some worthwhile things — looked after my mother, cooked some decent food, created some order in the dining room: but there will still be loads I haven’t done — and — here’s the kicker — I will feel as though I haven’t done anything worthwhile. The things I have done are all “women’s work” and are not valued (in terms of their contribution to our quality of life) or accurately represented in terms of our cultural understanding of how long they take.

I wonder how I would feel about it if I were a single parent. A healthy dose of resentment ends up being directed at Mr P when I spend time doing this stuff. I resent it. I resent it. I resent that Mr P will NEVER get it. He just does not get what I do with my time, why I get tired and arsey. And it makes me angry that we are both intelligent relatively enlightened people and STILL this is an issue in our lives. Mostly in my life.

Sigh. We are going on holiday next week (guess who has done all the work for the holiday?) and hopefully some rest and time away from our house will make me less cross about it all.

Anyway, enough for now. The pile of shite in the dining room will not tidy itself.