i recently attended my fifteen year high school reunion. right before i went i confessed to a friend of mine that i was concerned about the moment of telling people what i do. i went to a really lovely private high school and i feel like the graduates who are highlighted in the schools graduate news publications are writing books, starting their own business, saving the world and so on.
my confession lies in the fact that although i love my life and i wouldn’t want anything different i am not sure that even i truly respect my work. the work of being a full time mother and homemaker. sometimes i want to find other words or language even to describe my days. as though mother and homemaker are already so easily dismissed i need something other language to make my days (and nights) more worthy.
it is hard to expect other people to truly believe that what you do is important when you are doubting it yourself. i mean, not in the doing of it do i doubt it (but wait, do i?) but in the sharing of it.
i want to insert here that i deeply respect all parents who work a paying job and also are parents (and homemakers). i am just going to go forth then, with that said, and write out my thoughts and feelings without worrying so much that what i share might be offensive in some way. i think everyone has a different path, a different way, a different life they are meant to live. i do feel pretty deeply called to be living my life the way that i am and i also think it works for my family. i don’t think it is a better choice than any others.
so here i am. a full time parent. stay at home mom. homemaker.
i put a lot of time and energy into thinking about, reading about, talking about how i want to do this job. i read parenting books and i read about educational philosophy and i do a lot of introspection – believing pretty firmly that the best way to be a strong capable loving mother is to continue to discover ways to walk my true path and love myself. when i am ok i bring that shinning okayness to the parenting. when i get all dark around the edges i bring rigidity, emotional disconnect, and of course some yelling and unkind words and actions.
right around the time lucky crossed over i signed up for kris laroche’s magical mothering course – on a whim. slowly, as i processed through my grief over his death i realized the timing was kind of perfect. here i was saying goodbye to one creature who i believed loved me unconditionally. it left me feeling much less secure. and it opened me up to see the space i could walk into – to try to learn to be the one to love me unconditionally.
the course began last week and it refocused me on how i want to be towards myself and my children. with those thoughts and feelings swirling around inside my head the other evening i was watching one of oprah’s final shows and i felt like suddenly a small piece of self respect clicked into place.
i can’t quite remember exactly how this arose but i suddenly saw that practicing empathy, kindness, love, peace, calm, joyfulness and so on in my relationship with myself and my children really does have the possibility of being big. i mean, big like rippling outwards beyond my home, beyond my simple daily life, and into the lives of each person we come in contact with. its like good germs almost.
the other day flash and i took the kids out for brunch. the people at the table directly next to us felt grumpy to me. i can’t say exactly why but i noticed again and again that i was feeling on guard. after about ten minutes two woman sat down at the table two away from us. they appeared to be a mother and daughter. they talked cheerily with the server, smiled at each other, and seemed generally happy. i immediately noticed myself relax and cheer up. i said to flash how amazing it was that the people in a restaurant can so deeply affect your experience of the place. having nothing to do with the service, the food, the ambiance of the actual restaurant. just the people you are seated near can make or break your meal.
so oprah, you know, you can take her or leave her but i have a deep respect for the kind of conversations she has brought to the mainstream of american culture. in sharing her all time favorite guests on a recent show i kept getting that these were people who sort of steadfastly followed their path, followed their calling, and through just that act they inspired others and changed the world really.
i don’t have a clean wrap up here. i am a constantly shifting work in progress. yesterday i was teetering on the edge of the darkness for some reason. i felt cloudy and crabby. this morning at yoga i set my intention to use the practice to brighten myself out. i was seeking the bright shiny light that comes from within and without. i was looking for my life force and my joy to settle into place. i tried to tell the darkness i understand why it comes, i honor its existence. then i just said, “heal me up light. heal me up.”
i want to be my true self. i don’t think i would i want it nearly as fiercely if i had not had these beautiful amazing inspiring children. i want to be done thinking that being a mother is small.