By Dawn Tolson
As you read this I will finally be on my way for a family trip to Italy and England. My feet have not touched the ground for the past week, trying to juggle the normal demands of my life with the extra work that is involved with preparing not only myself, but my two children and husband for a trip.
In my essay “Ode to a Housewife,” I described how we women are the queens of multitasking, but last night I got to thinking about women around the world--for instance years and years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Kenya. I don’t like staying in large tourist areas so we were residing in an out-of-the-way place; interestingly enough it was Ernest Hemingway’s retreat, but I digress. One day our driver decided it would be nice to show us his village. Like being taken back in time, we were driven along a dirt road for what seemed miles and finally we arrived at the houses. The village consisted of about 10 traditional mud huts that were their homes. Inside they were basic and relatively clean considering the conditions. We sat and drank (very reluctantly) the hot drink offered us by the lady of the house, even though it was about 95 degrees outside. Her husband and children were all present and seemed so carefree; he was just sitting quietly and the kids were laughing and playing.
I wonder if her life was as hectic as mine seems to be today as a wife and mother. Did she have to multitask in her own way, maybe whilst preparing the grain or taking the washing to some unknown place to me or sewing the rags they wore which were their clothes? Could it be that this simple way of living is somehow the answer to my dilemma? I can’t help feeling that our stresses today are related to our Western ideal of life. It seems that everywhere we look there are pictures or depictions of what a perfect wife, husband, family, and house should be and operate like. Has the modernization of our world led us into a lifestyle that is finally going to leave us worn out and regretful? I don’t know the answer, but I do know I am worn out and need to go on a vacation, so Ciao, Adios, Arrivaderci. I’ll see you when I get back!