Friday, March 30, 2007
Do you ever feel like between homeschooling and housework and trying to meet everyone's needs that you lose sight of your own needs or dreams or passions?
This past weekend I took some time off from all things motherly, housewifey, wifey, and teacherly to nurture myself. It wasn't a planned diversion from the day-to-day around here. First I had to reach my limit, feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated, and pitch a fit. Then, surprisingly, I got some time off. A mental health day, if you will.
First up I did some art journaling ala Visual Chronicles. Just one piece that totally summed up my emotional moment enough that the whole family actually understood. They got the picture way more than my beat-a-dead-horse thousand-word diatribe. I'll have to remember that for next time.
Next I surfed the web, ate chocolate and spent a couple of hours pushing fabric through my sewing machine. It was better than great! I fought the urge to do anything for anyone else. It's so easy to fall back into that sinkhole, made even harder by the fact that I have this huge pile of children's mending and good intentions sitting on my desk. Instead, I concentrated on me. Me. ME! And my needs.
Oh, the irony! I made myself an apron.
I've never owned an apron before. I don't even come from apron folk. But I picked through the mess of fabric in my closet and came out clutching an old bathroom curtain to my chest, completely re-smitten with its feminine flowers and sheer eyelety goodness.
At first glance this apron seems like a big joke. Einstein thought so, too. It's sheer, white fabric. Completely useless for wiping your hands on the edges with wild abandon or catching spills or doing the real work of life. Not exactly a workhorse. But look again, I say. I've been doing that work for years without any barrier whatsoever. Just me and the sludge of life ensconced together in this domesticated dance. Just me and the sludge.
Let's face it. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with three kids, there's not much time for my needs. On good days I get my hair brushed and my clothes remain unscathed by the various body fluids emitted by small children. I'm not particularly resentful of the snot or its liquidy cousins, it's just something I've become accustomed to as an accesory to motherhood. I wear it. Or it wears me. At the end of the day I can't tell. The uniform of motherhood. Be one with the snot.
This apron, by contrast, is not a sludge-catcher. Oh no! It's counter to how I feel on a day-to-day basis. It's the Anti-snot. I tie it on and my whole mood changes. It wraps its little flowers around my aura and softens my edges. And when my edges are soft... well, that transfers to the entire household, you know?
Now I'm singing, "I feel pretty," while I sling mash and wipe butts. Who's the workhorse now?