Krankheit der Hausfrau

The thing about "working at home," like I do, is that you never, ever get a break from it. I'm loathe to call myself a "housewife," but right now my husband is the family bread-winner while I take care of our child and sort of clean our house and cook all our meals. So what else would YOU call me?

Oh, right. The whole grad student thing. I badly want to finish my DMA in the next few months before our second baby is born. Unfortunately, all I can do right now is twiddle my thumbs while I wait for the following things: various people to send me music, responses to my insistent emails about scheduling, my committee members to get back from vacation or Mars or wherever they are and approve my damn proposal (I already started my dissertation project, assuming the proposal would pass; I hope that wasn't a stupid move.)

That means that right now I'm basically just a Hausfrau. And unlike many women I know and admire, I do not find this particularly empowering. As much as I love my little boy and am grateful I can spend so much time with him, it's exhausting to run after an 18-month-old. It's physically exhausting following him up and around playground equipment, crouching on the floor to build block tower after block tower, lifting him up and putting him down on his every whim, especially when you're nearly five months pregnant and things like "lifting a 25-lb child" and "bending over every three minutes" are increasingly challenging. It's mentally exhausting to talk to someone who can't yet talk to you (though he's really, really trying - all that babble is going to turn into real words any day now), and to read the same damn board book six times in a row, even when he's snuggling so sweetly on your lap as you recite "Sheep in a Shop" from memory. It doesn't help that he gets up between 5 and 5:30 every morning, no matter what.

I feel drained, sapped. At the end of the day, when Stuart comes home and takes Daniel to the park, I try and practice the difficult music I intend to record in a month (the one part of my dissertation project I can work on right now), but my brain is numb, my body aches, and I. just. can't. do. it. The problem is this: since my work is at home, I never get to leave it. Every pile of junkmail, every dirty dish, every scattered toy or misplaced book, every floor that needs to be swept, every page of music I need to learn, every nagging email I need to send, is all sitting there waiting for me, making it impossible for me to relax in a true sense of the word, even when I desperately need it. This is why I have barely gotten any knitting done in the last few weeks. It just makes me feel guilty for not doing something more important. Even worse, when I try and do dissertation-related stuff, it makes me feel overwhelmed and tired instead of intellectually stimulated.

I need a break. I need more sleep. I need a free babysitter every once in a while (I just absolutely can not bring myself to pay anyone to babysit when there's not any work I can do right now). I need a massage. I need to get out of the house somewhere besides the playground and the grocery store.

Sorry about all the whining, but I had to get it out there. It sucks when you can't even enjoy your favorite hobby. I won't post here again until I can be more positive and put up some nice pictures, I promise.


Elinor said…
I know EXACTLY how you feel - it is so frustrating. My husband tells me that me being in school is an investment like any other but it so often feels like a drain on resources. I don't know if you have a spare room or not but this summer, we tried out a babysitting option that worked out really well. We offered free room and board in exchange for 10 hours of babysitting a week. We had two live-in babysitters and I felt like I got some of my life back. If you have some room, you might give it a shot - especially since you're in a college town.
Suze said…
Thanks for the suggestion, Elinor. Our house is too small for that kind of arrangement, unfortunately. We do have a guest room, but it doubles as the office/computer room, so a live-in wouldn't really be an option.0
Glenna C said…
Aw, I would offer to babysit for you in a heartbeat if I lived nearby! That's the thing about the soul-sucking thesis, even though I'm happy without kids of my own right now, looking after other people's kids sounds GREAT by comparison to writing ;) I hope things look up for you soon.

Popular Posts