Friday, February 10, 2006

Earning Your Knitting

Ann, Mo and I were talking about this same thing. Like the incredible vortex of time-suckage that blogland has become. And all the things we should be doing instead of blogging, or instead of knitting. We even tried to come up with a rule or a limit to how long we should blog daily, or set a time of day aside...

We all have things we should be doing instead of knitting. For example, instead of knitting, or in this moment, blogging, I should be cleaning the guest room in anticipation of my sister spending the night here tonight. Never mind interacting with the kids, cleaning the kitchen , organizing the office, etc...

When I first stayed home with Rosebud, I felt like I needed to be productive, like I had to "earn" the right to be home, especially after having been an extraordinarily busy working person. I was a type-A teacher, always wanting the awards, the committee chairmanship, writing the most creative lessons, and working overtime to save every kid. I was working lawyer-like 80 hour weeks and I earned a teacher-like paycheck and a penchant for panic attacks in faculty meetings.

So as I stayed at home for the first months with the world's hungriest daughter, I remember it was you, Ann, my motherhood guru and sanity restorer, who convinced me that sitting on the couch, nursing Rosebud and reading long John Irving books was in fact, doing something, and that I needed to simply submit to it. While it looked like nothing, feeding and reading was, actually, something. Something valuable to do with my time.

Thus began my process of redefining "productivity." And it changed my whole perspective on life as a stay-at-home Mother. I gave up on this Perfect Mother syndrome that so many of our generation seem to be caught up in. No more "motherhood is my job," so I must do a great job. Instead of rushing around with the kids to enriching activities or playgroups, I remember submitting to "Toddler Time," realizing that whether we got to the story time 10 minutes late (or if we made it at all) would not really matter. The Almighty Tenet of Motherhood #1 of "the Child Must Be on a Schedule" turned more into, "we have a routine, a mostly predictable flow with room for spontaneity and special times." I decided to (ready for another bit of Ann's wisdom) do less, and just be more. No more "chores first, then knitting." Dinner was a goal for every day, laundry for most, and knitting a must.

Motherhood is not my job. I don't have a job, and I don't need to conduct my day like a regular working person. Motherhood is the central role of my life, along with wife-dom and friend-hood and daughtering and sistering. And knitting too. But none of this is my job. This is my life, and how very very fortunate am I to have a day-to-day existence that is about my life and not about a job.

I no longer need to rationalize how I spend my time. Reading is worthy of my time, even when laundry needs to be done. Knitting is too. So off I go to work on Jules.

Happy Opening Ceremonies, y'all.

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