I don't know why I haven't written in awhile. I think I just got a little bored with my blog, honestly. Perhaps the facelift will help? I follow blogs in a reader, so it doesn't matter much to me what the design looks like, but maybe some people still read them the old fashioned way. But this looks kind of pretty, no?
So....what shall we talk about? I've forgotten how to do this. Pour yourself a cup of tea, I might ramble.
I'm leading a seminar on Biblical Femininity for the church. That goes in the category of "If you had told me ten years ago what I would be doing now I would have laughed at you."
(That's a large category, by the way.)
But I think it will be fun. Having wrestled those ideas from every angle, I feel comfortable where I've finally landed, for maybe the first time ever. So I'm happy to help other ladies wrestle their way along.
And in that same category, I've been enjoying milking June Carter Cash, and making chevre and yogurt. I milk the goat, make yogurt, put it in the vitamix with strawberries and local organic greens, and go bake some whole grain bread. And do some homeschooling.
(Who am I???)
This post really has me thinking. When I first left my job, I struggled with missing the sense of accomplishment. It took me awhile (maybe 2 years or more) to learn to get that same feeling from housework. Cooking more than cleaning, still. Maybe that's why I go overboard with the Susie Homemaker/Prairie Woman business. Still craving a fix of "getting stuff done." I do a lot FOR my family, more than just WITH them. Especially the kids. Sometimes I'm too busy cooking for them, cleaning for them, teaching lessons for them, to just enjoy them and BE WITH them. I feel like I work well and rest well, but there is a spot somewhere in between, maybe a less efficient work that makes more room for relationships, that I have trouble finding.
Does anyone else fight this? Did moms a hundred years ago feel this way, or is it a more recent phenomenon, with the comparison to the working mamas? Or remembering the efficiency of our pre-baby, professional selves? Or maybe I've just always been this way. I kind of think it's just in my personality.
I had a sweet/sad little sentimental moment this morning. I'm loaning my Pump in Style (that sounds better than just "breast pump", right? i'm trying to be sensitive to the male readers here. you're welcome.) to a friend. i dug it out of the closet and turned it on to make sure it was in good working order. Instantly, that little whooshy sound took me back. I didn't pump much for Betty (she hated bottles), so I was transported back to Jonas' babyhood. I spent so much time in little pumping rooms at Ben Taub (that's the Harris County hospital where I was a pediatric intern, for the uninitiated). I remember sitting there, not minding the inefficiency of this 20 minutes every 3 hours, wishing I was home with the little man. Pumping is a huge annoyance, but it was the least I could do, i hated being away from him so much. I really hated working after he was born. I'm glad I tried it, but it was pretty gut-wrenching. So I overcompensated with the pumping. I was a pump nazi, taking herbs and meeting with lactation consultants, walking out of ICU rounds to pump, whatever i had to do to make sure the little guy never had to take formula. That was my way of being there for him.
I remembered all of that in an instant. That feeling of wanting him in my arms, of never being able to do enough, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing something very unnatural in so many ways.
So now, however much I sometimes miss the efficiency and accomplishment of work, I am so thankful I'm not there. I would not trade this mess and noise for anything.
Your new layout is very pretty Brandi! I usually just follow along in reader too, but I had to make an exception to check it out. I'm really excited for the Femininity seminar! :]
umm...i don't even know what reader is. you know- we're REAL old fashioned round here!
good to see you back. although- i'll miss the post on community!
oh- and your thoughts on working more 'for' than 'with'. i think it's a constant reassessing. i find the more quality time i spend with the kids, the more they 'allow' me to do my own thing (usually with their help-but i can even get some alone time in there sometimes to sew or read). when i first stayed home after teaching, i had to write lesson plans for the day! ; ) nerd! but that really helped me to get it all in. and now, with training the kids, they just kinda do it all with me.
I love your blog's new look. That's a great little website you found. Gonna have do some perusing of my own!
On the subject of doing/being...yes! It is a struggle. But for me it goes both ways. Sometimes I am focused on being with Braelyn. With Casey. With friends. And then the house is a wreck. We eat out instead of in. I end up feeling kind of lazy. Or then it may go the other way, where I'm all business, cleaning and cooking and crafting and blah, blah, blah. I get mad at Braelyn for undoing everything I just did. That certainly isn't right either.
I think the worst part about this whole battle is that we're convinced that every other mom has it figured out. At least I find myself believing that.
Anyways, thanks for the discussion. I'd love to keep it going.
And Mandi...I could just see you with your little lesson plans. You make me smile! :)
Yay! You're back!!! Been wondering about you. :)
mandi, ha, of course you don't have a reader. if you could read blogs by pony express i'm sure you would try it. ;) anyway, just go to googlereader.com. it holds all the blogs you follow together in one page, so you can instantly see where new posts have been added, without having to click around all over the www.
and you're right about the quality time first that buys mommy time later. when i can remember that it works well. i keep postponing the QT until the housework is done, so i can relax, but that doesn't work as well. jonas used to enjoy housework with me, but much less so over the past few months. he'd rather run around outside than cook with mommy. sad mommy. :(
and steph, yes, i definitely err the other way as well. it's cyclical.
I'm so glad you're "back"! I was afraid facebook had stolen you away for ever. Even if I talk to you every day, I always find new surprises in your blog. (and yes, it is very pretty now)
My two cents on the "doing for" and "being with" -
I am a "Martha" (yes, I know I have a problem over using ""), I am a doer. I experienced the same struggles when my kids were growing up. I anguished over not being with them enough, then spent much of the time I had with them "doing". As the mamaw of your children, I thank God every day that you choose taking care of your family and home as your job right now. And though you do a lot, it is always clear that nothing you are doing is more important that being with your husband and kids. I really love and admire that about you.
One last thought..I still struggle with that delicate balance. Not only with my family, but with God. Often I feel like I need to do and do for Him. Sometimes out of a sense of duty, but mostly from a place of gratitude. I know I can never do enough, but I feel like I should constantly try. More difficult for me, is just being with God. Why is it so hard when being with God is the most amazing time? Ahh.... elusive balance.
Hey just read this old post of yours. Love the whole thing, i totally have that whole needing a sense of accomplishment thing a lot and think it has something to do with the supercharged way I used to rush through the halls of the hospital knocking the "to do" items off my lists. I think you know what I mean! But i'm thankful I'm not there either. Hmmm...maybe i need to try more listmaking to get stuff done around the house...
Sarah, this is going to sound crazy, but those feelings of being inefficient and unproductive were actually much worse for me when i only had one child. it's counterintuitive.
you know those slow saturday calls at the hospital? when everyone leaves you by 10 am, and you're thinking, "3 hours down, 27 to go"? you're just busy enough to merit being there, and you can't really do anything else like sleep or watch a movie, but not busy enough to make the time pass quickly. you're not forced to prioritize much and feel like you're not making good use of your time. i had a lot of days like that when i was home with one baby. busy enough to not do much else, but not busy enough to feel like i was accomplishing anything.
but with 2 you're busier, in a good way. there's not room to sit around feeling wistful for what else you "could be doing." more like a call night when the time goes by quickly and you feel proud and accomplished when you're done. and worn out. that's more like how most of my days feel now.
and of course there are days like the truly bad call nights, when nurses are yelling because you're 4 pages behind and haven't sat down in 16 hours and for dinner you had that nasty granola bar from the bottom of your backpack and the gatorade that's supposed to be for patients and you need to check on that scary asthmatic in room 12. i have some mommy days ahead like that with the 3rd baby, i'm sure.
but it's nice to be back in a place where i know exactly what i would do with a few extra hours in the day. much better, for me, than looking for a way to fill the hours.
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