You know, there is a reason women like going to work. Work feels productive. When I was teaching, there were lovely measurable results pretty much every day. The kids learned ten more measures of a new song. Or I got a pile of papers graded and returned, never to look at them again. Or a fundraising letter was written and sent out. There were always things on my list, but they got crossed off and when they were crossed off they were really crossed off.
Motherhood and homemaking just isn’t like that. I’ve been up for six hours now. They’ve been a remarkably busy and “productive” six hours. But every single thing that I’ve crossed off my list will simply be written down on it again tomorrow. I’ve made breakfast, taken a shower (yes, it has to be on my list or it may not happen!), washed the dishes, emptied the dishwasher, picked up the family room, taken out the trash, made dinner, washed the dishes again, nursed Jonathan twice, fed solids for breakfast, played tickle games and read books and listened to music with him, started the first of at least three loads of laundry that must be done today.
All good and necessary things – all part of my life now. And most of the time I can be content and satisfied in the comfort of such a routine. I guess it just gets to me, occasionally: does it really matter that I’ve done the dishes for the 25th time this week? Does it matter that the laundry is started again, two days since the last time and knowing that I’ll be doing it again on Friday? Does it matter that I’ve read “Where is the Duck” to Jonathan for the umpteenth time?
Now that I’ve written it out, I think I may have just convinced myself that it does. :)
I’m glad that dishes are done because I like looking at a clean kitchen sink. I really don’t want to send Gabe to work in dirty clothes, or pay for disposable diapers, so I’m glad I started the laundry. I hope that Jonathan will enjoy books as much as Gabe and I do, so I’m glad that I read “Where is the Duck” again. And I do care that my family has healthy food to eat, so I’m glad I took the time to make dinner for us and smashed pumpkin for Jonathan.
If I was working, too, I’d probably go mad trying to do dishes, meals, reading, pick up, play, and (ha!) showers on top of the eight hour day.
Why is it so hard to remember this, some days?