I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s been a week and a half since my last blog post. (Wow, that sounds like the start of a juicy confession…) Turns out life right now is not conducive to a regular blogging schedule and I recognize that is only a big deal to me but still, it feels like I’m failing some how. Right now I’m at that point that everyone (moms and women especially) can relate to…survival mode, keep my head above water, meals on the table, farm functioning. Actually, I’ve been pretty on top of things given a week of less than 5 hours of sleep each night (and not always consecutive). But mostly, I’ve been confronting some interesting ideas, you know the big philosophical/metaphysical ideas about meaning and existence and purpose. I also read Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
I’ve often noticed a trend in myself and others, that when an idea is new to us, there is a subconscious tendency to assume on some level that it is new to everyone else. For example, Little Little girl is due to get her tonsils out the middle of July. I’m super nervous as it is the first surgery, first hospital stay, first scariness for any of my kids. A good friend of mine has been through it with two of her kids and possibly will have a third kid go through it. She is kind and sympathetic, but since there is no fear for her she is not anxious on my behalf. Or how I don’t fawn and fret over moms who face the possibility of their child having special needs. I’ve accepted the role of “special needs mom,” and I’m past feeling like a victim…and I know they will get there too. They don’t need my pity so I don’t give it, even if they expect it. The point being, often I’ve felt like I’m the only mom who is drowning in the minutiae of a very small life. Like I don’t have anything to give. I have value because of raising awesome children or helping my husband be awesome…but nothing of value in and of myself. On good days (which are the majority) I see the silliness and I deal with it accordingly. On bad days I can’t see past it.
In Gift from the Sea, she writes about stages in life and relationships and the parts on womanhood and motherhood (and especially the early stages when one is caught up in kids and house and life) really resonated. She wrote what I had vaguely been feeling for a long time now.
– I believe that what woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposelessly. p. 46
– How can one point to this constant tangle of household chores, errands, and fragments of human relationships as a creation? p. 47
“Yes!” I wrote all over my page…I love being a mom and devoting myself entirely to being a housewife. I feel how noble a calling it is. And it is so demoralizing that if I clean anything, you can’t tell the next day. This is what it is. I am creating a home, which is one of the highest and most necessary forms of creation ever! But how do I quantify that? What do I say when people ask, “What’s new with you guys?” Well. I run non-stop 24-7. I am too busy to breathe, but all I have to say is “You know, same old. Let me tell you about my kids and my husband and my farm because there is not time for me to have a self right now.”
And it was stunning to realize that if in the 50’s moms felt like this, I’m probably not the only one to feel like this currently. It made me feel less lonely. I think it is a brilliant book for everyone but especially for women. It has also been the catalyst to me shrinking everyone’s wardrobes, de-junking like mad, and generally trying to simplify. You know, before we were overrun by ants (and my time got eaten up in a epic, never-ending battle…We shall overcome!) and Layna decided that she wanted to potty train (I’m not ready yet…not at all…please no more poop on the carpet…). I will simplify and get past survival mode and teach my kids to swim because I’ll stop just treading water, but for now all I want is a nap.