When I was growing up, my widowed mother would occasionally announce (as she juggled far too many arrangements, schedules, and shopping trips) that she needed a wife. Occasionally, she would map out a new dating life, predicated on whatever our greatest need was at the moment (busted car? “I need a boyfriend who’s a mechanic!”).
I, however, am married. Dude isn’t dead, so bringing a wife in would just complicate matters, and dating strikes me as a solution ill-fit to our lives at this stage. I’m just going to have to start hiring people.
First: Someone who knows where all the clothes go. I don’t love doing the laundry, but you know: Ok. The husband brings it down, I sort, put it through the machines, bring it up, he folds, and then the boy brings the piles to their appropriate rooms, putting his own in drawers. The husband is equally speedy with his own pile. I, however, take days to entirely put away the piles I’m responsible for, which amount to three, with three sub-piles: Mine, the girl’s, and the linens — subpiled thusly: Towels, sheets, table linens. Days, I’m telling you, days, at which point, I may well have started the newest round of washing.
Second: Someone who knows where all the food goes and will also impart to my brain telepathically what they’ve done with it. This one is particularly tricky, because about, oh, I don’t know, 43% of the time, the husband actually puts away the groceries in my stead, and that’s very nice indeed. I don’t know why, but I really hate putting away the groceries, so when he just walks into the kitchen and takes over, I am quite genuinely delighted.
- He occasionally puts things in the wrong places, aka, the places I would never think to put them, and
- If I don’t do the putting away, I often forget that I’ve done the buying (not, you know, the entire trip to the store — just one or two particular items. So I’ll be all “Oh, damn, I can’t make that thing that is one of the five things that everyone in my family will eat because we don’t have the stuff!” Only to find the stuff later that night).
Which leads me to – Third: Someone who knows the five things that everyone in my family will eat and will come to my house to make those things. I was never a gourmet, or a foodie, or whatever, but I was a pretty fair cook, who more than occasionally enjoyed the process. I would even seek out and try new recipes! I know!
And then I had children. (Who, it should be noted, I love more than life itself).
The-having-of-children led to at least three things that get in the way of my sorta-foodie status: Lack of time, lack of energy, and lack of options. Oh, oh! And a fourth thing: You never get to choose not to.
These dang kids, they need to eat, actual meals, three times a day! And if we don’t manage to arrange that, they get ornery! I have this crazy notion that we should all eat more or less the same thing for supper (and supper only!), but, hemmed in by my first-born’s neo-phobia (yes, it’s a thing, and while he’s mostly over it now, you can catch up with the rest of the class here) — I quickly found myself with a very short list of dinners that work for everyone. That list has expanded a bit, but I’ll tell you what: I do get sick of it. I keep trying to institute a rule that once a week I get to make whatever I actually want to eat, but this always falls apart when I consider that, no matter what, I will still have to feed the damn children.
Fourth: Someone who will read my newspapers and will also impart to my brain telepathically what they say. I am a newsprint gal. I love the feel of newspapers, the rattle of the pages, the smell of the ink. When I was 11 years old, I delivered the Chicago Daily News, and when that venerable institution folded, the Chicago Tribune (come to think of it, perhaps I should have taken that as a sign). I went on to write for a number of papers, off and on, for many years, and I will subscribe to the Chicago Tribune until Zell’s antics + the death of print result in its inevitable burial.
It’s just that lately I never actually read it.
I don’t know why (why does one particular thing become that thing you never find the time for?), but the papers stay in their plastic sleeves for days and days until I finally open five or ten of them at a time (really), and go through them randomly, often concentrating almost exclusively on the comics.
But I refuse to drop the subscription, so it would be really, really helpful if someone could do the reading for me.
Fifth: Someone who will intuit when I need to get my car looked at, and will do it for me. I am always nervous that something’s wrong, have no faith in my ability to determine if that something is worthy of a look-see, and am forever confident that the guy in the shop is either missing the real problem, or ripping me off.
If only my mom had started dating that mechanic — they would be married by now, and I would be totally set! Why do mothers never consider the needs of their children?