“Want to take a drive and stop for ice cream?” was the lone request I addressed to my husband. Although sharing the house, our time together seems sparse, I in my corner and he in his.
The sluggish pace of our life controlled by Covid restrictions/fears and Arizona heat requires minimal management. ED does most of the shopping and evening meal preparation. Other than my household chores, my role is reduced to occasional suggestions for social events.
There was a time, however, when I envied men with wives who managed their appointments, children’s needs, social life, and family commitments. The cost of years of mother/wifehood is persistent alertness to others’ needs. Yes, we can multi-task, but getting into deep work is difficult.
As I write, I hear ED in the kitchen. Should I offer to help? Mike is at his desk. Should I see if he needs anything? Guilt sits on my shoulder, accusing me of neglecting friends and family.
There is more than enough time for me to pursue my interests, but my mind can’t focus on one thing.
Cal Newport’s book presents the rationale for the need for deep work, uninterrupted, concentrated attention for creative processes. I was cheering him on until I read the above sentence. Sure, his wife was handling the social side of family while he was hiding in the corner being creative. In his position, the guilt of ignoring family obligations would have driven me to giving in to forced sociability. Then feeling frustrated for ignoring my work. Women can’t win.
Guys don’t seem to suffer that remorse. A very informal survey of a group of writers revealed no men having issues with this type of distraction whereas the women were nodding in agreement. In fact, the men seemed perplexed by the question.
I am looking forward to see if moving to Norway improves the situation. No, not that Norway. Long proclaiming that I was leaving the insanity of North America to seek peace in the happiest nation on earth, I am opting to get a writing shed for my yard. My friends have named it Norway.
I won’t have a wife in Norway, but maybe the 20 feet between the house and shed will muffle the sounds in my brain.