*Note: I'm probably going to switch my blog over to Wordpress soon. Blogger is failing me--I think they are wanting to me to upgrade to Google+ or something like that, and I just don't want to do it. So until that time, I'm not able to put pictures on my blog. Pretty sad... but like I said, hopefully I'll be switching over to WordPress soon, with an entirely fresh, new blog. (We're also hopefully moving soon. See the connection there?)
So, when I was in highschool it was a little bit of a dinner table joke with my parents and me about the fact that I thought everyone and everything I ever came in contact with was SO ANNOYING. Every homework assignment, every teacher, every classmate, every time I put fifty cents into the pop machine and the damn thing didn't give me my cherry coke... EVERYTHING.
So, it won't surprise my parents when they read this that I'm about to talk about something that I found to be very ANNOYING.
But it might surprise them to hear that I'm really working on this! I've been trying, since I now consider myself to be mostly a grownup, to see things from other people's viewpoints and to understand that not everyone lives the same life as I do, and that something that is a certain way for me may not be that same way for everyone else in the world. (I know, I know, this is obvious... but it's hard to remember sometimes.)
So, I read (that's the past-tense word. I am not currently reading much of anything these days, not even blogs) a few different craft blogs as I got into crafting and being a mom and all the homemakey stuff that people like me get into when suddenly they find themselves spending their entire life at home with small children. Some of them I still read (okay, ONE of them, and it's Soulemama, and I only read her about once a week) and the others (some of which are listed on my sidebar) I haven't read in six months or more. I just don't have time for it anymore, to be honest. All this computer stuff. I can check Facebook because it's in my pocket, but even that I've gone to mostly just looking through it once a day other than popping on to see if I have any messages or notifications. I do love Instagram though.
Anyway, back to blogs. One of the blogs I read is Sew Liberated. I really like her blog, and I have her first book and I drool a little bit every time I see her second book because I really, really want it. I like her stuff! But her blog started getting a little.... glum. She fell into some hard times and she got a little more complainy a little more often and then she started fitting in some political jabs here and there and I decided that, even if I could empathize with her or sympathize, or whatever ize I could do, it was kind of dragging down my daily morale while simultaneously raising my blood pressure every morning. (I used to read the blogs in the morning before the girls woke up. Since I've had three, things are not so simple. It was a nice routine while it lasted!)
Anyway, I got to thinking about her blog this morning for some reason. And I was remembering it and I was thinking, you know, maybe I was being a little too harsh. Maybe I was being a little judgemental. Everyone is so sensitive about political views, maybe I just was rubbed the wrong way and need to give her another chance. So I looked up her blog while I was making dinner, and the very most recent post was an apology that she had been gone so long because she was having a difficult time adjusting to being a "full time stay-at-home mom" And then there was this excerpt:
For now, in the few mornings a week when the boys are cared for by my parents, I tend to my pattern business. Management stuff. Emails. In short, not soul-quenching work.
FEW MORNINGS A WEEK!? A few mornings a week are not enough time for her?!?! Does she realize that MOST stay-at-home moms get a daily naptime and that's IT for "personal nourishment" as she called it? Does she realize that most stay at home moms would take any kind of work, if it meant being able to do it in quietness without someone climbing on her, wiping their nose on your shirt (I actually have implemented a rule that they can't wipe their nose on my shirts on Sundays because I like to keep clean on that day. They've been very receptive!) or actively sucking calories from your bosom (and repeatedly slapping you in the face all through that meal)?!?!?!
You know what I did yesterday? I locked the bathroom door for the first time all week and I stayed in there awhile longer than was actually necessary, because I knew the girls were ok with Martin and I hadn't been alone in a long time. And I just stood in there and enjoyed the quiet. Because I'm the kind of stay-at-home mom who doesn't get "a few mornings a week" to myself. I have to lock myself in the bathroom to get that time.
Now, I'm not trying to sound bitter. If I so much as run out to the grocery store by myself sometimes I hear a baby cry in the next aisle and I get a little emotional and go home with only half the groceries because I miss my babies. (true story.) I LIKE staying home with my kids all the time. In fact, I LOVE IT. That's why I do it. I'll admit that it gets difficult when you start to forget if you're a human or a Kleenex. It gets difficult when your three year old calls down the stairs "my pajamas are dirty all the way! They're dirty all the way! They're dirty all the way! They're dirty all the way! etc." because she found a hair on her foot and you have to go up and lint roll her all over because of one tiny dog hair. It gets difficult when your six month old is super baby who can get anywhere in the blink of an eye and eat every choking hazard she can find along the way.
I guess my point is that NOBODY has time for self nourishment. You have to find it and piece it together. Sometimes I forget that when Martin leaves for work in the morning he's not just going to a coffee shop to hang out all day. He's going to work, where he's really busy all day long and doesn't usually take a lunch break and when he does it's often to run errands for me or for our house searching, or often he will come home to help me during his lunch break. That's not self-nourishment in the sense of "me-time." It's knowing you're doing the right thing. It's doing things out of love. It's finding self-nourishment in the every day activities of life and doing things for others. It's not a freaking day at the spa.
And I know, I KNOW that we all DO need those times. And I get those times, and Martin gets those times and I hope that all stay-at-home moms (and working moms, and dads, and single over-worked people) get some times that are truly for their own rejuvenation. I know that it's so, so important to get that time and that if you don't, you might totally lose it. You come back from me-time feeling refreshed, reenergized, ready to go, with a recharged love for your stay-at-home (or whatever you do) vocation.
But holy toledo, do you really want a spa day every time?
Some stay at home moms get part time jobs. Some join a church choir. Or a social club. Or a charity group. My grandma spent her Me-Time taking meals to poor and lonely people. My mom played the electric bass in the church folk group (heh heh heh.) And all the other little loves and joys and hobbies were worked into the daily grind. A little sewing project here while the kids are doing a puzzle. Read a few lines of your books while you're waiting for the macaroni water to boil. Knit a few rows before the timer on the dryer buzzes. Or better yet, do those hobbies WITH your kids. Anja has all of a sudden decided she'd like to hand sew. (I think this was inspired by her cousin Angelica who made her an adorable little stuffed fox set for Christmas, which she had sewn entirely by herself, and which Anja LOVES.) So we've been cutting out hearts from pretty fabric and she's been stitching around the edges and then embroidering the inside. She loves it! And while she was doing that and Greta was off on her own coloring or drawing and Elka was just playing on the floor (eating things) I was able to knit a little bit on my sock. And it wasn't long before the moment ended, but we all founda little bit of me-time in that moment. We were just all together when we found it.
Anyway, the post rubbed me the wrong way. In a big way.
And then I thought to myself, "you know, I've been doing this stay-at-home mom thing for more than five years. Maybe I've just had more time to figure out that you don't get much time to yourself in this gig. Maybe she just needs a little time to find that out for herself." And she DOES have a hard life--her little baby boy was born with serious heart problems and she runs this entire business and I don't really know what her husband does... anyway, it's true that she is WAY busier and WAY more stressed out than I am by life. But STILL.
From the viewpoint of a regular, in the trenches, stay at home mom... MAN, that comment was annoying.