The tomatoes are beginning to wither in the garden, as are the eggplant, but the broccoli and cauliflower are starting their journey to the family's table. A few weeks ago my dh steamed a large bouquet of deep green swish chard heaped with freshly sliced tomatoes. A little salt, a little butter and a lot of indulgence in the basic flavors of two tasty vegetables, that just hours before were resting peacefully in the ever changing garden.
As we move into fall, and the rhythm of our lives change, I am even more aware of what needs to change. My house is a mess. I have been attacking the various volcanoes of clutter that have erupted in my home. Unlike other volcanoes that my create lovely island paradises, these are purely destructive. My dining room has been taken over, and a lava flow of books, mail, and knitting supplies flows into the kitchen threatening to barricade the back door. These volcanoes did not spontaneously explode overnight. They grew in elevation and strength, slowly waiting to wreck havoc on the unmotivated inhabitants of this little home.
So now, my challenge is to tackle these and other volcanoes that have been allowed to grow. I admit I have been a bit lazy. I take responsibly for their creation. I also blame my husband. We have both suffered from procrastination, or as I call it "Thank-God-the-boys-are-asleep-finally-idis" In the evening, or during naps while the boys sleep, I should be able to manage the mess that has become unmanageable, but usually I just sleep, or knit, or vedge. Occasionally I read a blog, or blog myself. I know this isn't how I should be spending my time, not all of it anyway. If I could only spend some of the boys sleeping time awake and at work, I am sure I would be able to make a mole hill out of a few of these mountains.
And so as the garden changes around my home, I feel the need to make changes inside as well. I have unearthed my home management binder from the pile next to my computer. It deserves some of my time, as does the message center in the kitchen. I already have a schedule for cleaning the house, in which I deal with one room each day, and tackle any hot spots in the evening after the boys go to bed. I just need to make the cleaning schedule coincide better with the boys' schedule, and find some evening inspiration. And I need to wear my apron more. It really does help dressing for the job to be done.
Change does not come easy. It is my hope that the reward of having a cleaner, more organized home, and a happier husband, will make the work required for change easier.
I am a stay-at-home mom, which means I am a full-time mom, as opposed to a full-time teacher, or a full-time retail cashier (jobs I have previously held). This means that my children are always with me, even when I have to make a quick run to the bank, or pick up a few things at the grocery store. I don't mind. It just takes a little more time to get them out of the car, into the stroller or one of those huge shopping carts with the little car on the front. This also means I may have to circle the parking lot to find said cart, which all takes a little extra time and effort. On days that my back is holding up, I don't mind. People are usually very helpful, and hold open doors for me when needed. I appreciate their help. I don't often appreciate their comments. Most people are polite, and say things like "Wow! Twins! You must have your hands full!" to which I usually respond, "And my heart too!" and then they smile. But other people pull their one lonely child out of my way and utter things like "Poor women! I wouldn't want to be you!" or "Watch out honey! There's two of them!" Yes, yes there are two of them. Two beautiful, happy little boys. A lot of people do comment on how happy they are. Especially the checkers at the grocery store who see the boys about once or twice a week. Half the employees at Target refer to them as 'part of our family'. You see it might take a little extra effort to take them with me to the store, but it takes too much effort to do a marathon trip. So we plan a trip to the park, or a mommies walking group along with our trips to the store. So, my two boys are happy because they go with their mommy everywhere. Its attachment parenting, and it works for us. What helps it work is the base underlying belief that my children are the greatest blessing of my life. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I am so blessed to be in the position to stay-at-home with them. They are blessed to be "dragged all over town". So if you see a women with a smile on her face, and a small horde of children surrounding her, don't assume the smile is one of exhaustion. It is quite possible that it is genuine happiness.
It seems like such a silly thing, that a few pieces of pretty cloth, sewn together with some polka-dot ribbon, can change your perspective and give you more energy then a cup of my DH's coffee. But my apron has done just that. After reading how other stay-at-home moms, or housewife's, or domestic engineers (call yourself what you like, our Mission is the same) gained strength from their aprons, I bought one. Its feminine, with a few frills along the top and the bottom, and like I mentioned polka-dot ribbon. While I am putting it on, I recite my Apron Prayer. It goes something like this. Lord please send me the strength and the grace that I so desperately need, and help me bless my home, my family and myself in these next few hours. Amen. It might seem silly, it might seem pointless, it might seem old fashioned, but an apron has power. Would a priest be the same in your eyes if he celebrated mass in a Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops and ragged khaki shorts? No. It just isn't the same. This is how I see my apron, as the clothing required for my vocation. Now I'm dressed for my Mission.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had an idea for a movement. At least I thought it was my idea, but no, this idea belongs to the author of all good things. So I do not know why I was surprised to find that He had shared it with other women. I was reading A Mother's Rule of Life, and came to The Fourth P: Parent. In this chapter Holly Pierlot discusses "the duties inherent to being a parent", as well as the choice she made to stay at home with her children. The idea that all our education and training to work at a specialized job could be set aside for the role of mother was to her, as it is to many women, as it continues to be for me, a culture shock. That is the culture we were raised in, even the ideals professed by our own mothers, told us that to be a wife and mother was to be less then our full potential.
Yet, this Mission of Motherhood has been given to us, as wives and mothers. It was given to me, before I fully understood its relevance or its importance. Even now, I know I have only scratched the surface. This Mission was given to Holly Pierlot, she even has a section of her chapter on parenting titled Discovering the Mission of Motherhood. Her journey is so similar to that of so many women, so similar to mine. Even after we have been given this mission, we doubt its validity, we question its truth, we wonder if it truly applies to us. We, as women have been taught that what we have been blessed with is not enough. We are forced to believe that we need to be equal to something that we were made to complement. We have been stripped of our most precious gift, our femininity and our ability to nurture. As a result we question our gifts, our talents, our Mission, our Godly vocation.
Yet the Lord is good. He continues to place this wonderful Mission on the hearts of many women all over the world. Most notably He gave this mission to The Blessed Mother, Mary. She lived her Mission of Motherhood to the absolute fullest, guaranteeing that all women, even those raised by feminist hippies, would have a blessed and holy example of how to live out their own Mission. And so she gives me the courage to continue in my vocation, to reclaim my femininity, to complement my husband, to nurture my children and to live out His Mission for my Motherhood.
Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for those who have recourse to thee.
Several years ago, I came up with an idea for a non-profit group, perhaps more of a movement. I called it Mission for Motherhood. I had this crazy idea that being a mother would be a wonderful experience. That sitting in the kitchen with my children eating freshly baked anything while they told me about their day would be the highlight of mine. This was not how I was raised. I was raised by a feminist hippie. My mother is a wonderful women, intelligent and kind, extremely creative and generous. She just didn't see the value of using these gifts in the home to raise her family. Instead she divorced my father when I was 5. He didn't see why she would want to pursue a university degree and a job when she had two children and a lovely home. The divorce, and lose of daily contact with his children devastated my father. Although my mother had fought against the stereo-type of the mother as caretaker of the children, she won custody in the divorce. After the judge asked me who I wanted to live with (I told him my dad), he told me my mother was more suited to care for my needs during this difficult time. He didn't know what effect his decision would have on my life, or my sister's.
Now that I am married, with two kids, I look to the example my dad set for me. He sacrificed a lot for his family, out of love. He was always there for us, no matter what, eventually moving to be close to us. He did not see his role as a parent as a burden. His family was his greatest joy. He wasn't perfect, he got angry, he yelled, and he cried. I'm so thankful my dad let me see him cry. He also admitted his mistakes, and apologized when he needed to. I want to be the type of parent that he was. I want my children to be proud of me, to want to be like me, to learn from me and to respect me. And so I am on a mission to find out just what is means to be a mom. I think feminism tossed out the baby with the bath water. Feminist obscured everything that was good about being a wife and mother, leaving a generation of young women confused. There is a wonderful postthat articulates so much of what I've been feeling. Please read it along with this onethat tells such a tragic history of the family through diary entries.
If you feel like you too are on a similar mission, please leave a comment and tell me your story.
My husband and I have random conversations sometimes. Like the one about naming his new car. Yes we name our cars. Mine is Ingrid. She is a German stationwagon. It fits. I told him he should name it Sputnik or Gemini since it was small, zippy, and had toggle switches. Then we proceeded to comment on what may have been going through the heads of the dogs and monkeys sent up by Russia and the United States before the first human was launched into orbit. See.......random. Here is one of my favorite recent random conversation.
D: Honey I think I might have a blogging problem. A: What? Are you posting too much, or reading too many blogs? D: Both, but mostly reading. I think I need bloggers anonymous. A: Oh yeah!? Well I saw an add for that. They have on-line meetings! D: Really? A: (giving sarcastic smile) D: OH THANKS! Right....ha ha....on-line meetings for bloggers anonymous! Actually that is pretty funny!
The twins turned one yesterday! It is so hard to believe that 365 days have gone by since my boys made their debut! They are so beautiful, and continue to amaze me everyday!
A Snuffin, if you are wondering is a snugly muffin man. When you say those three words together, you get Snuffin.... Daddy's invention! I like it, because it describes my boys so well, and gives them their own unique name.
More to come on the Snuffins, me, my faith and my hopes!