What I'm about to tell has been on my heart for a while, and I have put off sharing with you because whenever I sat down to write, the words that poured out were so gloomy that I decided it's better to wait a bit more, until perhaps, things get better. But eventually I gathered my thoughts.
Some of you may remember that some time ago, I told that my husband is looking for work. The circumstances are not easy for us and have not been easy for some time now. I will not go into details; it will suffice that I tell you I was forced, with a very heavy heart, to accept a part-time job outside the home. I know all my regular readers can imagine what the situation must be like, for me to accept that job, when my husband and I both know and appreciate the place of a wife and mother in her home.
I only work two days a week, which may not seem much, but it casts our entire weekly rhythm askew. My work requires me to be on my feet throughout the entire day, with hardly any breaks, so when I come home I'm utterly exhausted and only just able to do the bare essentials (eat, do the dishes, bathe and tuck in the baby) before I collapse into my (unmade) bed.
Just to say, my wonderful husband has been a great big help to me, always generous when it comes to lending a hand around the house, but he obviously cannot be focused on housework the way I can, because it's not his domain and he has other priorities (such as for example studying things that will be important for his future advancement, in every spare moment he has).
All around me, I see wives and mothers in the same situation. Harassed, hurried, torn apart between work and home.
On the first day after work is done and I'm staying home, my heart rejoices but I feel physically ill, almost as though I'm recovering from the flu. My head is abuzz and I move as though in a dream.
I normally don't like to complain here, but it's so difficult for me, mainly because I miss being with my daughter on my days away. I also can't help but think that in the weird way our world is running, I spend many hours away from home doing something that ultimately, does no one any real good, while I could have been doing good, worthwhile and necessary work at home.
I don't forget, of course, to count my blessings. My daughter is in the care of her father, with whom she shares the tenderest, most loving and close relationship from the day she was born. She remains at home, and her routine is largely unchanged. Another blessing is that I work right here in the village. I don't waste any time or money on commute; I only have to walk ten minutes to get there and back. The majority of people who work with me are local, and it's a blessing to get to know them and tie strings within the community.
That said, there are now two types of days in my week, strikingly different. One is when I rush out of the home in the early morning, come back in the afternoon and try to create some semblance of order in the few short hours that are left to me before bedtime. The other is when I'm home, relaxed, doing what needs to be done in a gentle and quiet rhythm that leaves my heart contented and peaceful. I don't have to tell you which type of day I prefer, and which is better for us all. The urge to take care of my nest is so strong, so right and powerful. I am needed at home, and I need to be home.
I may be tired at the end of a day at home, but there is the kind of tiredness that comes after good hard work and seeing it complete, and there is dull exhaustion that leaves you barely able to drag your feet. That is what I feel after a day at work.
The work I'm doing is so low-paying that there's no way it would have been profitable if I had to pay for daycare and/or commute. Nevertheless, you could practically hear the collective sigh of relief from nearly everyone who knows me, because I'm "finally doing something." People actually believe I should hold on to this job at all costs, even when it is no longer necessary. Others think that I should go and get my MSc, and do something "more ambitious" – but to me, really, there is no ambition and no deeper desire than to be a good wife and mother, to have a lovely and orderly home, and many children to raise and love. How short-sighted it would be right now, for me as a mother of a young family, to invest much time and effort in anything but my primary vision of wifehood and motherhood.
We see the current situation as a temporary emergency, which will hopefully be resolved soon enough, and then I can again be home full-time with no distractions, as we have always wished.