Mumsy usually comes out to visit us in the spring ~ the busiest time of the year, but this year she surprised us with a fall visit instead ~ the busiest time of the year!
Luckily she was all over helping us out with picking the apples off the many wild apple trees speckling our driveway. It’s a race this time of year to get them before the bears do. Our method involves me climbing up on the ladder; my mom steadies it and then I shake the branches. The kiddos then scramble around and collect the fruit once they’ve bounced off my head and land softly on the cushy grass below. Some family’s be totally hooked up with apple sauce and cider this winter!
It’s been pretty dreamy having an extra hand on the home front the last two weeks. Makes me think how past generations had it down nicely; living all together. The house is currently spotless. Laundry has been impressively continuously caught up. Dishes are cleared pronto and promptly put away. Nothing in the fridge is currently deemed mysterious. She even weeded my entire garden just for fun. All this while showering the kids with presence and interaction with a dollop of consistent jolliness.
Then while out for dinner one night my mom was giving the kids a bit of a history lesson about clothes washing:
Mom: When I was little, my mom did laundry by hand; with a washboard, scrubbing each single piece of clothing one by one. Then by the time I had kids, I just had to throw the laundry in the machine and push a button.
Me: And now that I have kids, I just don’t do it at all (and then we lauuuuughed!).
And then the laughing stopped. The restaurant grew quiet. An eerie truth stank up the air. Compared to Mumsy, I don’t do laundry. Ever (again, in comparison).
How does she do it?
It’s like Craig and I married that second wife we always dreamed of (kidding; please don’t send in applications).
At peak bliss the buzzy hive of extra productivity in the house motivated me to get more done and offered the comforting soundtrack of my youth; washing machine seemingly in rinse or spin the whole day, periodic vacuum, my mom half talking to herself, half talking to anyone in earshot. All that was missing was Simon and Garfunkel and the whir of her sewing machine.
But in the moments when I was feeling particularly weak (like when I had this nasty cold earlier in the week), the buzz of my mom’s constant homemaking made me twitch. I felt a contrast and found myself questioning my chosen list of priorities and feeling self-conscious about how my life must appear.
What is it that I do all day anyway? I don’t iron ~ is that weird? The floor is kind of looking a little skeevy in between vacuums, isn’t it. Is that unhygienic? Why haven’t I picked up this torch of home-economics excellence? What am I doing online right now when there are so many Tupperware container lids to organize?
Am I a slacker mom?
To pull me out of this slump I did to myself what I might encourage a client to do when encountering a moment of creative mama crisis; I wrote out a credit report. I looked at all I do get accomplished during the course of the day and, lo and behold, I don’t eat that many bonbons! Only when the kids are in bed. And then only one or two. And I share with Craig.
Some non-slacker truths that I was reminded of:
- I have seasonal/ farm flavoured chores to tend to (dem apples don’t pick themselves, you know! And now we have some apple sauce making duties in front of us).
- It’s canning season and that pantry is getting filled while filling our brains with fantasies of cozy, late summer tastes to transport us in the middle of winter.
- I’m creating my Simplicity Parenting Virtual Workshop Series that will touch and help out so many mamas like myself that want to pare down to the most gratifying aspects of life to cherish and savour.
- Most of my happy homemaker type energy goes into making dinner. I’m rarely too tired to make something fabulous and tasty. Not necessarily fancy; but always simple, whole and usually pairs up nicely with a small glass of organic Cabernet!
It’s a lifestyle choice
Picking up some hay from the farmer who’s housing Meatballs for us yesterday, we got talking about the workload involved with raising animals. He agreed that having a farm, even just a little hobby farm like ours, is a lot of work and involves a never-ending to-do list of chores, repairs and tasks to be done; but it’s a lifestyle choice.
And that helped made me realize that every mother makes a lifestyle choice in the sense of what floats up to the top of her priority list and what sinks away to the, perhaps cruddy, floor. To be swept up away later. Eventually.
I give myself permission to be inspired by this once a year visit from my super mom on how I can be open to ideas to shift the priority list around, even just a little bit, to revisit the values my own parents wanted to pass on to me and my brothers; clearing space and energy, caring for our belongings; keeping food poisoning potentials out of the fridge. And the most sticky bit of inspiration I’ve been drinking in these days is that grandma-type connection sprinkled liberally all over the kids throughout the course of these busy days.
No mama’s priority list is good or bad; but always stems from the most sacred space.
A mother’s heart. And there, sweet mama, there is not a slack in sight.