months ago i spoke with a friend who is a working mother.
she wanted to quit her job to become a "stay-at-home" mother.
we had many conversations about why i choose to stay at home
and what i do all day.
she said, "I'm NOT going to quit my job and stay at home so i can clean my house all day."
oh how this sentence has echoed in my mind...
it's as i've found myself apologizing for every moment i stay at home and clean.
i've pondered what "great thing" i should be doing INSTEAD of home-work.
why do i choose to stay at home?
what do i do all day?
am i making the most of the time i have been given?
am i blessing my family more by staying at home than i could if i went to work and contributed financially?
i have come to appreciate the fact that i am at home and i can clean my house all day-
if i choose to do that.
there is joy in the mundane tasks of life.
"the humdrum tasks that leave your body occupied and your mind un-fettered"
often as i work, i teach my little ones.
i carry on a running dialog with them about why i'm putting corn starch on the baby's bottom
or how i'm choosing to wash a certain dish.
sometimes leah says, "Why are you telling me this mom?"
then she laughs and says, "Oh, because i'm going to be a mother too someday?"
yes, someday my girls may be mothers.
mothers like me who stay at home.
they might work.
they might never marry.
they may never be able to have children.
they may choose not to have children.
but whatever life offers them, one thing will be sure.
they WILL always have mundane tasks of life.
eating, cleaning, dressing, washing, bathing... they are universal.
we can try to avoid these tasks.
we can resent the time they take.
we can learn to find peace in the doing.
i believe that often, mothers who work appreciate the mundane tasks a little bit more.
i have spoken to many who would LOVE to have an afternoon to make cookies with their kids, watch a movie and gently fold laundry.
i feel blessed to choose how i spend my hours each day.
it is a sacred stewardship.
"So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.
There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings—we hope and seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event—our golden ticket—to appear." Elder Uchdorf
Someday my home managment will take less of my time.
until then, i am going to EMBRACE THE EXPERIENCE.
to be grateful for the hours i have at home.
to learn while i clean.
to be slow and involve those around me.
Mundane tasks (like cooking, laundry, reading, walking the dog, bathing, straightening, etc) slow life down and help us keep balanced. These tasks are good physical indicators when we are doing too much or too little.
i LOVE this paragraph from a book i'm reading called Buddha Standard Time.
After spending over 10 years in Retreats and Indian Buddhist meditation retreats, the author returned to his life in New York City... He says, "As I began to adjust to a Western lifestyle after so long in monastic simplicity, what struck me more than anything else was the NEW AVERSION TO THE MUNDANE TASKS OF DAILY LIFE. Thus the ubiquitous time-saving tools-- instant coffee, fast food, ATMs, microwave ovens, personal computers-- as if somehow life would be better if we could speed our way through it. That message has only escalated since then. These days, young people tell me that they don't even have time for cell-phone conversations or e-mails. They prefer to text. The instant response that new technology allows has altered our perception of time. And ironically, most of us seem to feel we have far less time as a result." p.2.
and, i love this quote... “Some mothers in today's world feel "cumbered" by home duties and are thus attracted by other more "romantic" challenges. Such women could make the same error of perspective that Martha made. The woman, for instance, who deserts the cradle in order to help defend civilization against the barbarians may well later meet, among the barbarians, her own neglected child.”
― Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward
we all work.
some of us are at home more than others...
WHATEVER you do with you daytime hours--
i hope you take a moment to really be grateful for the ever present, repetitive tasks of life that bring you home.
i know there is joy in the mundane tasks of life.
i've learned this through MUCH experience.
and, one of the BEST things about the mundane tasks of life...
they wait for you.
so, if you do not choose to do them today-- they'll be there tomorrow!