Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Meaning Of Life
The kids and I are about a week and a half into our 'Quest To Stay At Home More'. The only time we have left the house (and gardens) during this time are to walk 300m down the road to the local post office to check our mail, to take Miya to her first day of school today, and me sneaking down the hill to buy some groceries one day when Nath was at home.
Staying at home for a whole day, let alone over a week, is something that I would never have been able to face in the past. When I was struggling after Eden was born, I had morning and afternoon activities lined up every day, just so that I wouldn't be stuck at home. Being at home scared me. It meant my life was crazy busy, but it got me through those difficult few months.
Now, though, I think I need home much more. And despite them asking me daily for the first few days where we are going or who we are going to see, I believe the kids need it too. They have blossomed this past week and a bit - they are so much more settled and calm, and are enjoying getting in on tasks with me. 'Helping', they call it. I'm not so sure.
Ironically, I seem to be getting so much more done in my days at home than I was before we started this when I was running around like a headless chicken. I'm taking more pride in my day-to-day tasks, seeing them as not only inevitable, but valuable too. The house looks lovely, and I don't feel rushed.
I've been able to complete a few projects as well. Having a few little handmade things throughout the place makes the house feel more like a home. Every room has a story. It really is a wonderful thing, to be able to create.
I've been noticing both on the list of blogs I regularly read, and in real life conversations, the topic of 'Meaning' has been coming up quite a bit. I wonder if this beautiful spring weather has something to do with it - encouraging people to unfurl from their winter slumbers and engage more in life. I had a conversation with a very good friend the other day whose sense of meaning has been justifiably shaken by a recent significant loss. She asked, probably rhetorically, what the meaning of life was, and it made me stop and think. It really is different for everyone, isn't it?
I think I have found mine. I feel a purpose that is new and exciting to me, to just grow my family up healthily, happily and simply, to provide the things that money can't buy, to teach them by example how to do the things to keep a home ticking over, and live by my values so that they know no other way to live when they are older than by their own values. The revelation that I never have to go back to work if I choose not to has left me feeling blessed to have that choice, and content with staying home indefinitely, while my children are still children and still need me in the selfish, trusting, secure way that children do.
All this has been brewing for quite some time - years, in fact. But this past couple of weeks I have really given myself permission to stop and truly listen to my soul. I'm pretty sure, based on past experience, that my resolve will waver, that I will have hard days still. Simpler living isn't always that simple. Like most things, its worth is in the work required to do it. Being at home more means days of bored and restless kids, not just days of wonderful, creative and imaginative play. It means having the time to cook from scratch, instead of buying ready-made, quick and convenient foods. It means teaching myself new skills, instead of paying for someone else' expertise.
But.... what a gift! The older I get, the more thankful I become that my own mother was able to stay at home with my sister and I as we grew up. I remember her helping in my classroom and in the school canteen, coming to all of my sports carnivals and school assemblies, taking the time to meet my friends and their parents, showing me how to cook and clean. She instilled in me the skills and values that have helped me in my journey through housekeeping and parenthood. I hold no judgement for mothers who have to or want to work outside the home. It's just not for me.
Right now, the baby is sleeping (finally), slowcooked Moroccan lamb tagine is finished on the stove ready for dinner, the washing is done, and, to remind me to keep it real, the girls are outside screaming at each other. A mothers' work is never done, and I wouldn't have it any other way.