Surprisingly, I get asked this a lot in different forms. “Occupation?” a paper-pusher at the hospital asks me when I’m pre-registering for the Big Day. “So, do you have a job?” an old friend asks me when we’re catching up on each other’s lives over facebook (Yes, I rejoined). Or, my favorite, “What do you do all day?” my sister asks me, suddenly more interested in my life now that I’m barefoot and pregnant than when I was clawing my way through a really awful version of Survivor in Brooklyn. (“Barefoot” being a word chosen for the sake of the saying. Unless I’m walking on a sandy beach at the height of summer and the sun’s beating down on me like someone’s holding a giant magnifying glass over my head, there isn’t much chance I’m anywhere near warm enough to be barefoot.)
No one in their right mind actually reads this crap, but I figured it’s as good a place as any to tell people what exactly it is I do. I am a writer/homemaker. That’s how I fill out or answer people who are filling out official forms and no one yet has called me on the big, fat rip in reality I’m trying to sell them when I say that. Maybe it’s because people who fill out forms for a living or read forms for a living don’t know any better. Maybe they don’t want to know any better. They want to believe a woman can stay at home all day cleaning house, taking care of children, getting supper ready for their man, and still hit it big writing books. Maybe that actually happens once every fifty-thousand stay-at-home writers.
More likely, I think no one has called “bull” on me yet because they don’t know any writers. (I’m about to generalize egregiously about writers even though the only experience I have with writers at home and out of school is myself.) Most of the time, writers don’t give a second thought to scrubbing the shower or picking up their dirty clothes. For all I care, people can come in and see that “Good Lord, she left her underwear and socks inside the pants she wore yesterday and the whole mess on the floor and she knew we were coming over!” It’s a cold day in hell when I look at the kitchen sink and think to myself, “I’ll just do those dishes before they pile up.”
It’s not that I hate to do the laundry or sweep the kitchen or wash the dishes…I do hate to wash the dishes, but it’s not that, not all the time. It’s because those things–those incredibly mundane things–don’t make sense to me the way that a person who’s been cursed into the body of a wolf or a country where everyone sleeps during the day and goes about their lives at night makes sense to me. Those stories occupy my thoughts more realistically than that dirty pan that’s blocking me from getting a glass of water from the sink.
To some extent, I’m trying to romanticize the fact that I am lazy and a person who almost procrastinated herself out of a high school graduation at which she was giving a speech. I find things that keep me busy all day long (typing a blog, for example) so that I never have to think about why there aren’t any glasses to drink out of. Joshua understands me. He says he loves me for being so far out of orbit that I can’t even see the Great Wall, but I know for a fact he still thinks every now and then, “Sure, she’s a writer, but would it kill her to wash a freaking plate?”
No, it wouldn’t. It might even be good for me. I know it would be good for our kitchen.
Even so, what I do all day is this: Not much. Once Enis comes, I’ll be a writer/stay-at-home-mom, which I assume entails a lot of things. For now, though, I’m just a stay-at-home-eden (writer is included in this particular job description), which doesn’t entail much at all.