I sat at the table drizzling maple syrup on my pancakes (our Sunday morning tradition), when I overheard this from one child to another:
"Daddy goes out to work every day, but all Mommy does is play and rest."
Excuse me, what?!
This statement, spoken with the true innocence of childhood, hurt my feelings at first--and annoyed me in retrospect. Steve and I gave the kids a brief overview of all that I do around here, and the kids just looked on with wide eyes:
You mean, when Mommy makes our meals each day, that's work?
Or when she settles multiple arguments between brothers and sister, giving countless reminders to use kind words or no words?
When we see her with laptop open, typing away?
When she reads stories at breakfast and lunch?
When she helps with our showers and brushes teeth at night?
I remember reading in one of Sally Clarkson's books that children who grow up with a stable home life tend to, especially when young, take that stability for granted. And as I pondered all this in the shower it hit me:
I've done my job so well that my kids think my life is play.
The atmosphere I've worked so hard to create, and in which I see so many imperfections from my own point-of-view, translates into their little minds as play, peace, rest. Wonderful news!
I organize our days according to our core priorities, and what I want to teach them is that though we're called to work hard, we can love our life, our mission, our daily activities.
Let's aim to be so good at our job that our kids will think we're playing.
They won't really understand how hard we've worked until they become parents themselves (I know I didn't), so why not let them see us doing what we love and enjoy as we go about our days?
“Mother seemed happiest when making and tending home, the sewing machine whistling and the Mixmaster whirling. Her deepest impulse was to nurture, to simply dwell; it had nothing to do with ambition and achievement in the world...
How had I come to believe that my world of
questing and writing was more valuable than her dwelling and domestic
artistry?...I wanted to go out and do things--write books, speak out.
I've been driven by that. I don't know how to rest in myself very well,
how to be content staying put.
But Mother knows how to BE at home--and really, to be in herself. It's actually very beautiful what she does...I think part of me just longs for the way Mother experiences home.”