I’m finally coming to peace with some things that I just can’t have, as a parent to small children. I can’t have a clean house for more than the time it takes for the kids to return from wherever they’ve been while I was cleaning. I can’t have an uninterrupted phone conversation. I can’t use the bathroom by myself. But I still haven’t admitted that I can’t wear white pants. I really like white pants. White linen pants, white denim leggings, white shorts….I look good in white. It brightens up my wardrobe in the summer.
But every time I wear white pants, I sit on something dirty. Or I pick up a child with a skinned knee and get blood on my clothes. Or someone wipes their nose on me. Or their hands. It’s just a lost cause. I always end up dingy and dirty. I should just embrace the stay at home mom uniform of fitness clothes even when I’m not working out. I don’t know why I try to dress like a real person. I’m a walking comfort blanket/hand towel/tissue.
Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.
-Richard Paul Evans, The Gift
Mary Catherine Bateson, cultural anthropologist and daughter of famous anthropologist Margaret Mead, wrote the book “Composing a Life“. In it, she compares the lives of five women and how they created purpose and meaning in their lives through multiple life stages. She posits that these productive, successful women lived life as an “improvisational art form.” I was struck by the idea that the traditional pattern of choosing a profession and working one’s who adult life in the same field and then retiring is a very male concept. Women often live more varied and interesting lives.
Through circumstances or choice, many women have lives that are broken into stages, or chapters. They may have one job before marriage and childrearing, a more flexible job or work in the home while the children are young, and a second entry to the career field. There’s also the possibility of creating something totally new, as many women bloggers and writers do. Others might start small business designing jewelry, or selling cosmetics or cleaning supplies. I know women who sell Norwex, Pampered Chef, Melaleuca, Usborne books, Tupperware, Mary Kay, and others.
I also know women who are the breadwinners in their families, traveling for work and doing their best to balance it all. They still have the struggles of parenting with small children, a messy house, interrupted sleep and conversations, exposure to every virus under the sun…
Nothing endures but change.
In my own life, I aspired to a career as a historian, a history professor, a spy, a philosophy professor, an abolitionist, an activist, and a writer. I have accomplished a couple of these, a different times. I now homeschool my two children, something I never planned on doing. My oldest child is very bright and sensitive, and didn’t thrive in a traditional school environment. I couldn’t stand the idea of her unique little soul being crushed, and so began our homeschool journey. To stay at home, we’ve had to make sacrifices, but these are the choices I made. Having a career is not an conventional career is not an option for me right now. I try not to complain about the stresses of my job, because I am aware of how fortunate I am to be able to make choices about my life. So many people lack options because of poverty, the place on the globe that they were born, and other limitations. But once in a while, I need to vent a little. I suppose this post serves that purpose.
Some day my sink won’t be full of sippy cups, and my floor won’t be covered with legos. When that day comes, I can wear white, maybe even have the white sectional couch I’ve been coveting for years. Maybe I’ll have a job outside of the home. I’ll read all the books I’ve been buying and not reading.
This is not that chapter of my life, and that’s okay.