Occasionally, I will tell my kids how much I disliked being a stay at home mother. And this really upsets them, but what would appear to be a luxury to one person, can be torture to another.
Often, my friends who worked full time will tell me they did what I did, and also worked. However, they did not. I will not go into how I turned myself inside out being the Junior Highschool recycling garbage monitor, teaching literature to sixth graders, or ironing our pillow cases with the lavender water I made from the lavender I grew in my garden, and so on. Because those things are unimportant, but what I did do that was important, was to listen to the hopes and dreams of the generation of children that surrounded me during those years.
When my daughter was being bullied, I would go to school and have lunch with her in the cafeteria. No one noticed because I was there so often people thought I worked there. I did everything from tutoring to weeding the school garden. I even played my violin for my daughter’s classes, most people don’t even know that I play the violin.
I taught embroidery to both girls fifth grade class. We embroidered covered wagons on canvas, during the pioneer history module, but mostly I talked with them while teaching them to sew with a needle and thread. The first year, I met a little boy named Albert, and he would sit on my lap the entire hour I was there. He was one of my favorites.
Working at a paid job has a predictable pace, and most projects a beginning, a middle, and an end. And you can take a break at lunchtime, and eventually go home at night. Motherhood for working and nonworking mothers alike is another matter all together.
Nothing in my life, before or since, took more from me as a person, or was as physically and emotionally demanding as being a stay at home mother.
My house was as clean as a whistle, not some days, but everyday. I often hosted after school pool parties for twenty-five. I made my own play dough and my own pasta from scratch with Italian flour that I bought at a special grocery store in Napa. So, clearly I brought much of this on myself.
Now, I rarely make my bed, and cooking means I grill chicken, and toss it into a salad at 8 p.m. And, I get a second chance to return full time to the work I love.
After the way things turned out, I’m happy I took the time to create a warm, peaceful, and beautiful environment for my family and many friends.
Those days now feel like a dream. It’s as if I was an entirely different person then, however, being excellent at what I did helped to create many happy memories that laid a solid foundation for my children.
After their father died, I told them often that the past predicts the future. And, although it might be hard to believe, they would one day be happy again.
And so it goes.
Love and blessings to all.