It's hard to make my day seem "worth it" to them at this stage of their life. How do you make cleaning, cooking and care taking sound exciting? I've haven't been able to give them an answer that doesn't make me sound weird. But this weekend, I read a post by Sharon Greenthal that made sense. She was a stay at home mother for 20 years and in Why Housework Matters, she says,
I found great reward in being the conductor of the little orchestra that was my family – and the “intimate drudgery” of the day-to-day tasks I performed connected me to my children and my husband in a profound and, yes, emotional way...For me, the intimacy of organizing my children’s closets, folding their socks, making their meals – it was as integral to my life as their mother as watching them play sports or helping them with their homework.
Greenthal so poignantly put into words the way I feel about taking care of my home and family and why I find it fulfilling. As I change the sheets and fold the laundry, as I prepare food and clean the kitchen, as I rotate out the seasonal clothing and replace what they've outgrown, I feel a connection. I am tangibly loving them, providing and building a home for them, nurturing them. I like knowing how they want their lunch and which kind of snacks they prefer. I enjoy putting away their things and seeing how they've been spending their time. Like Greenthal, I like finding discarded papers and little treasures that show me who they are and how they think. It's in all these little things that I get to know them better.
I've felt vaguely guilty about being home lately. Maybe I should be "working" now that my children are older and becoming more independent. But I still enjoy what I'm doing. Maybe someday I'll change my mind and being at home won't feel like a labor of love, but right now I can't give it up. I only have a few years left to be the "conductor" and I want to savor them.
Can you relate? I'd love for you to read Sharon Greenthal's post in its entirety and let me know what you think. Does what she says speak to you, too?
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