I got the following text from my mom atÂ 4:45pm today:
“Doing dishes now”
I got this text three hours after she sent it, and half an hour after my class dismissed for the evening, and reading this text, especially right then, lifted my spirit in a way you cannot imagine. I’m smiling as I write this. See, my mom was letting me know she was doingÂ myÂ dishes. Yes, the pile in the sink of her grown daughter who doesn’t even live with her at home anymore.
I’m not gross or irresponsible. (I’ve had those features in roommates–one who would leave dirty dishes in the sink forÂ weeksÂ at a time. She also once left tuna fish floating above our broken garbage disposal for three days. I’m not like that.) But I am forgetful. I forget how much time and energy housework takes, and that the step after cooking is cleaning. And despite having lived on my own before, I still operate as if someone is there to do one of those steps for me.
That means that if I’m inspired right after I eat, or if my energy level forces me to choose between dishes or completing a few pages of reading for class before I collapse in bed, I write or I read. Â It means that as much as I want to have a perfect home at all times–not just because of cultural stigma against women who don’t, but also because I function much better in cleanliness and order than in dirt and chaos–I can’t do it and work and write my book and do my homework and #bloglikecrazy. It means I agree with author Bonnie Jo Campbell, who told women at the Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference this summer that she doesn’t trust a writer who always has a clean house.
But I always want one. And a good meal. And time to relax. And reading time. And writing time. And exercise time. All of which is why I want a partner.
I feel like this is a bad or wrong reason.Â Or maybe not. I’m undecided.Â A maid–or a roommate, provided the roommie isn’t like my previous one–could resolve these issues, and no one wants to be your partner to become your maid. I would never want to feel that way as a woman, and I would never want to make anyone feelÂ like I had chosen them as a partner to be my maid, either. Chores aren’t the only reasons I want a partner.Â I also want companionship, sex, someone to share my hard days at work with and someone to share my accomplishments with. I wouldn’t look for any of that in hired help.
Nevertheless, at this stage in my life, I recognize the importance of practicality in relationships, particularly in a long-term live-in partnership or marriage. Most people think of falling in passionate love; I think of dishes. I think of support. I think of life balance. I think of seeing clean dishes and shouting, “Hallelujah! Someone just gave me an hour to write!”
And I want that. Daily.