This year I tried what’s been coined a “staycation.” Instead of taking a holiday with family in California, I just stayed home.
When you live in a vacation destination, this seems like an obvious choice. But, frankly, I’ve never vacationed on Kauai before. Sixteen years of living on this island and I’ve always been working.
I’m on my fourth day of ‘off-time’, getting most of the day to myself while Jeb’s at school and the Bohemian tends to the trees.
So how many white sand beaches have I lounged upon? Have I taken jungle hikes leading through wild coconuts to cascading falls? Where has my island-style vacay taken me?
Home. Right where I want to be, actually.
Home is the zone that houses me, but never fully gets the attention it deserves, because I’m constantly leaving it, in order to work to pay for it. Therefore, I don’t really get to be in it.
This little pause in my work schedule has me in my domicile, happily sorting through cupboards, cleaning out the refrigerator, and organizing my desk. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve had a week of rain, removing any guilt that I should be outside enjoying a sunny day. No, instead I’m in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and making a steamy stew.
These household tasks (cooking, cleaning) I handle throughout the year (ok, refrigerator I lag on and the Bohemian picks up the slack). But typically, these chores are done while juggling a work schedule (and a multitude of other random, simultaneous details).
Oh, the pleasure of space found in a whole day to do what needs to be done. No weight of timing, a schedule, or outside obligations looming. An entire day to let the soup stew. An afternoon to move with ease between washing dishes, folding laundry, writing a poem and sorting the junk drawer.
And when Jeb comes home from school, he’s got my full attention. I’ve had all day to take care of my business. I’m ready to dive into third-grade fractions. Hear the details of his latest reading assignment, run through some flashcards. Heck, I’ve even got energy to go into the front yard with him and shoot some arrows with his new bow.
I’ve read about how in the 1950’s and 60’s American modern conveniences (and a booming economy) allowed a mother in middle class families to hold down the fort at home. It drove some to sheer boredom, others to pharmaceuticals. I’d like to think that some were quite content. In 2013, it seems a luxury for any family to have one parent not out in the work force.
Maybe I’m simply entertaining some artsy fantasy. This idea of taking care of my home, making food, raising my son, working in the garden – writing – everyday. The truth is, I already do all of these things – it’s just that they are in addition to a full-time job. I’m multi-tasked to the point of wondering if any of these activities ever get my full attention.
Maybe I’m only dreaming that a life dedicated solely to household tasks and art would fulfill me. But I realize it’s a vision I’ve had since I was a seven-year old girl ‘playing house.’ What was I doing in my make-believe world as I pretended to be an adult?
I was sweeping the floor. Dressing my doll. Spending time with the tomatoes. And punching the keys on my typewriter, making up stories about mermaids. Writing poems in my journal.
Did I know then what I wanted to do when I grew up?
Would I allow myself to wish for it now? Even after all of those Women’s Studies courses in college?
Can I dare to dream to be an artistic housewife? Neither starving, nor subservient.
Perhaps I could really live the dream – if only it had a better working title.