One day some time ago, I decided that I wanted a Man Cave of my own. I wanted a Woman Cave. It isn't that odd to want such a place. I'm an introvert, after all. Introverts need places to recharge their batteries, particularly after a long day of interacting with other people. When I was single and lived by myself, my entire apartment was my Woman Cave, and it was comfy, if a bit cluttered. I had most everything where I wanted it, and it was my refuge.
It seems as though men have always had a place of refuge in their homes. Men have always had their studies, or smoking rooms, or libraries, where they would retire after dinner for a smoke and a snifter of brandy. Men have always been able to hide out in the garage and watch their favorite sport, or go into their home office to "work". Women weren't supposed to venture into these hallowed spaces, not even to pick up stinky socks from the floor.
Women were supposed to stay in the kitchen. That was supposed to be their domain. If that's what you enjoy, mazel tov. While I love to eat, my culinary skills are not such that I would choose to spend hours among the pots and pans.
My own father has always had an oasis from the storms of family life. When we lived in Germany, he converted the storeroom in the basement to his sanctum, and he would sit down there for hours "working" on antique clocks. I put quotes in there because we have not the slightest idea what he actually did--he was as hidden away as the last box of chocolate chip cookies in the house. He has an "office" upstairs now, full of his books and computers and whatever else he wants, and my mother leaves it alone.
My husband has his computer room. Although he allows me access, it is obviously HIS space, full of all the things he loves--computers, more computers, records, gaming items, and tons of compact discs. Zane even has his Boy Nest, where he has piled pillows into a mound so he can hide in there.
My place of refuge usually ends up being the bathroom, because I can lock the door.
Since hardly anyone uses the dining room table(we're bad, I know), I thought that it would be a great place to start. I set up my beading and jewelry making tools. I would sit there in the kitchen, where I could tune out whatever was going on in the living room, while still being available to my family if they needed me. When the table was needed, I could just push everything to the side. It was small, but it was my domain.
Or so I thought.
It took about a month, but suddenly...there were Legos at my table. The thing about Legos is that they tend to multiply. Just a few ended up becoming an entire kit, because Larry and Zane were working on putting together the Millenium Falcon or Helms Deep. At first it was okay, because they were doing their thing, and I was doing mine. I could still concentrate, all was well. Until the day that the Legos completely took over, and there was no room for my beading tools and supplies, which were relegated to a box on the floor.
I tried to explain to my family. They wanted to know why I didn't want to be with them. It wasn't about them, it was about me. I love them dearly, but I need a little breathing room every now and then. I certainly didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings! Finally, for my birthday last year, Larry got his old drafting table out of the closet in the front bedroom and set it up in the corner of our bedroom, and he and Zane moved all of my beading supplies up there.
It was great. While Larry and Zane were downstairs watching a movie or playing on the Xbox, I would head upstairs to my own little corner of the house. They even gave me a lamp with a magnifier on it, so I could see those tiny little seed beads that give me a headache. Even if all I did was rearrange my beads by color or try to design a necklace or bracelet, it was enough. I was alone with my thoughts, and I could recharge.
My son had other ideas. He began by creeping up the stairs to "check" on me, and tell me that he loved me. Then he began to bring his toys into the bedroom and set up shop right next to where I sat. Then he wanted to make necklaces too, so I had to find some beads and string that he could use that wouldn't be too complicated. I couldn't yell at him, because he is so darn adorable. After all, he just wanted to be with his Mama. While I need breathing room, he still needs me, and I can't say no to that. So I scrapped the Woman Cave idea, for now.
I still have my bathroom time.