Monday, March 22, 2010

Life's Plain, Common Work

The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work
as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Isn't it so difficult to remember this these days?  I think it is.  I love that we women all have so many choices in our life's path, but have you ever either questioned yourself, or been questioned by others for choosing the ordinary? 

In the past 15 years I've heard, "I just don't feel fulfilled at home."  Or, "Don't you go crazy all day home with the kids?"  or "I was so bored and lonely, I couldn't wait to go back to the office."  Or, "Don't you feel trapped?"  Or, "I could never be home with my kids all day, I'd go bonkers!"

I try to always answer those questions honestly and kindly, of course.  I know that everyone has their own experiences that lead them to make different decisions, but here is what I think.

Yes, being at home with the kids IS sometimes boring.  Some days I feel trapped for sure...I can't just up and leave on a whim anytime I want and usually I have to plan intricately when I do, around everyone else's schedule.  There is no calling in sick on this job, I've found. and no scheduled breaks, at least that I can count on.  I'm lucky if I get any vacation days at all. 

It IS sometimes lonely.  I can go all day without hearing from anyone over the age of 2, or 6, or 15, and just because I am never alone, doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel lonely. 

Do I feel like I'm using all my talents and gifts?  I think I've acquired lots more talents and gifts along this motherhood road by pure necessity.  I think I've discovered what I've needed to do to feel like I've accomplished something everyday, and to get out and socialize (or not!), and to get a little bit of freedom once in awhile to not go bonkers.

I wish I could say, "I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather do!"  when it comes to cleaning toilets or throw up or washing the floor for the umpteenth time.  But when cuddling a sweet little infant, that statement would be true one hundred times over.  When I think of the small sometimes mundane tasks of keeping house-making a house a home for those I love the most-there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.  Every job has mundane tasks, but no job holds the rewards of motherhood.

What it comes down to really, is that I don't think there is anything else I should be doing, right now. 

"The path of right before you...certain that daily duties...are the sweetest things in life."

I don't think our lives as moms are supposed to be easy and fun and exciting and "fulfilling" every day. Sometimes hard work is just that-hard work-service for our family.  I don't think I have something special or different, some incredible talents or gifts, some Barney-esque personality that has turned me into a 'mom'.  I think every one of us moms have talents that lend themselves to making great mothers.  We just have to tap into them...they exist somewhere inside of us.  We have to trust that this long road, this "plain and common work" will be more rewarding to us than any other job on earth...so far, 15 years into it, I can tell you that I already find this to be SO true.