Monday, April 8, 2013

I Like This

During my last year in college I spent a lot of time with a couple other English Education major friends who I shared several classes with. Naturally, we were all thinking a lot about the future. One of the girls was telling the other two of us that all she really wanted was to be a wife and mother. She loved crafts and Martha Stewart (I believe that was pre-prison) and making dinners and having a clean bathroom. There was nothing quite like perfecting the crepe and displaying the fruit in alphabetical order just in time for a tea party or having a stew in the crockpot for a rainy night, she explained.

We were both incredulous and even made fun of her for it. It seemed so unusual and so…un-college of her to think that way. Ironically, she was the best student among the three of us— never missing a single point on the linguistics exams that made me want to shoot myself. (I’ll admit that I do get a thrill out of correctly diagramming a sentence, but that class was just a little too intense even for me.) I tried to understand what she was saying, but I really couldn’t. I was excited to be finally ready to graduate and teach English— to be helping kids learn the magic that is reading and writing; to be a young professional with my own apartment and growing bank account; to not rely on any man; to take chances and learn new things. Who cares about cookbooks? That’s for old ladies. I was ready to change the world by uniting pimply-faced readers with classic novels that would change their lives.

I suppose there’s a time for everything. It is now my time for stew and cookbooks and piles of Spiderman underwear and little jeans with knee-holes and grass stains. And when I have dinner ready to eat when Brian gets home? Well, it’s hard to beat the feeling. I’ve searched, because I feel like I should, but I don’t find any part of me that feels that I need fulfillment from a real job. This is my job. And most days I love it. Why does having our meals for the week planned or hearing the comforting hum of the dishwasher make me feel so complete? Why does finishing a messy art project or teaching the boys how to plant basil and rosemary seeds make me feel like my day was a smashing success? I don’t know. But it does. And I love that it does because I know it doesn’t for everyone.

I did teach. I taught for five years and wrote online curriculum for two years. I taught a lot of pimply-faced kids, as well as ones with spotless complexions, about writing and books. And I liked it. But I really only liked it until I had kids. I taught from when the boys were 4 months old until they were 9 months old and I hated it. Even though I taught at an amazing school with talented and kind administration and wonderfully motivated teachers, all I wanted to do was leave and go hug my babies. I’m so happy that I’m able to stay home with them. I’m also happy that I feel fulfilled by staying home with them. I have great admiration for women who can both work full-time and run a household. I have no idea how you can do it. I think it would fry my brain. 

Maybe I’ll go back to teaching when the three boys are in school- I don’t know. I took a class and renewed my license so I’ll have the option. I’m hoping I can finding something in writing that I can do from home though- while the stew gurgles in the crockpot and the laundry gets done. But maybe by then I’ll want to venture out into the professional world— dress in real clothes and speak in full sentences and such.

There are annoying things about being a full-time mom— cleaning the toilet seats after little boys, doing so much laundry that you want to make them go naked for the rest of forever, (or at least until puberty) just potty training is pretty horrific, being constantly in the middle of making a meal and forever behind on dishes, remembering to have snacks and wipes and extra pants and Tylenol and sunblock and crayons and diapers and water packed in every possible carrying case, that kind of thing. But for all the annoying things there are a million fun things. And very weird things that give me reasons to write, so that's cool.  

It took me ten years, but I finally understand what my college friend meant. Being a housewife and mother can be fulfilling and fun and rewarding in itself. And that’s okay. 

Sometimes this happens. I'm pretty sure it was clean underwear at least.
Cal is arranging his quinoa baseball field to have pork chop outfield seats.
 It is also delightfully flanked by a broccoli forest down the first base/right field line. 


  1. I think it helps that your boys have great senses of humor. It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who hates laundry; in fact, this hot weather this week has me thinking ahead to summer when they can just wear swimsuits all day and get hosed off. No clothes, no baths!

  2. Oh, the laundry. I am sad to say that I've taken to lecturing Jason about throwing jeans that aren't.dirty.enough into the laundry...things about wasted water and energy and oh-so-much time...


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