Ah...How I enjoy this sweet little space where I get to chat with you - and hear back from you!! Mothering my little people has completely encompassed my time this past summer. My husband was out of town on several trips which took him away for weeks at a time and then he spent another week in the studio producing an album for a local artist. So, he was out of the loop for a while and I pulled double duty at home.
Consequently, the "take time for yourself" thing I always preach went out the window for a while. But, that's what partners do, isn't it? Support each other through the easy times and the more challenging ones. Thankfully, he's back full time and we're getting back into the crazy swing of the holiday season.
Last night, I spent a few hours in the kitchen. I wanted to cook something simple but nourishing, filling but easy on the stomach. I took the time to enjoy the perfect weight of a good knife in my hand while I sliced through lovely food that wanted to be eaten. I reveled in the fact that I have the ability, knowledge and desire to use beautiful fresh ingredients and make something that my family wants to eat. A lot of love and happy energy went into that meal. When I was finished, I sat and felt the delight of watching them appreciate the color and flavors in front of them.
Often, the day to day tasks involved in being a homemaker feel overwhelming. We do the same thing over and over - laundry, cleaning, cooking, dishes, negotiating conflicts, helping to pick up the perpetual mess on the floor and stressing about the grocery budget. Then, we wake up and start all over again.
This day to day sameness is the part of staying home with small ones that can really challenge a woman's confidence because it seems we never actually finish anything. I have to laugh at those who have made snide comments to me about how easy it is to just stay home all day. At least at work, I knew when I had done a good job or achieved success. There were letters of thanks from customers and monetary rewards.
At home, there are no "pat on the back" awards or financial bonuses for the endless hours of work. I have often felt the weight of this and frankly, felt discouraged by the "neverendingness" of it, despite my passionate love for my children and family. Since the time I chose to be home with my little people, phrases like, "A woman's work is never done" have really taken on new meaning for me. Now I know why my mom got up before 6 every day!
But part of that last paragraph is something I'm starting to cling to pretty tightly. I CHOSE (and choose!) to stay home. Sure, I could get a job that would contribute to our financial situation more significantly than vocal work, babysitting or storytelling. But, it would cut into something I consider far more important.
I stay home because I want to see all the "firsts" my girls experience. I want to laugh with them in the middle of the day and snuggle my baby to sleep for her nap. I want to be able to take the time to help each daughter figure out how to wisely navigate through her life choices, not rush her because I have to get to work. I want to be able to spend a few hours preparing a meal full of love and light - to nourish them and remind my whole family that life is supposed to taste good.
The truth is that - while there are no monetary rewards for this choice, the love and gratitude I see on the faces of my family reward me every day. My husband knows what I do, that this is a sacrifice of other parts of my life - and he loves me for it and encourages me to do the other things I love as well. The laughter of small people and the feel of their sweet arms around me lift my spirits when monotony of the everyday threatens to bury me.
Yes, I have made my choice and I am glad.