The holidays are over, and now we are going back to normal. Today is the first after-holiday day, and it's hard to believe how fast everything has gone by, how many wonderful memories were created, and how much what I see outside the window resembles autumn. Our sukkah, which hosted twenty people during one memorable evening in Sukkot, has already been folded to prevent it from flying away in the strong winds that have been blowing here these past days.
And oh, what a wonderful evening it was! There is really nothing more joyful than seeing the whole family gathered around the same table (two long tables, in our case), sharing stories and jokes. We put our cookfire to use and made roast chicken for the entire company - a very authentic cooking experience. In the evening, the little ones gathered around the fire, making roast marshmallows and burying potatoes in the hot ashes.
I have quite a few emails piled up, waiting to be answered, and I hope you will be understanding if you are one of those awaiting a reply. The holidays really left me hardly any computer time at all during the past two weeks.
Here is one question I received by email:
"Do you have any suggestions for dealing with the loneliness that can result from staying at home in a society where most women are away at work during the day? I find the isolation trying at times and am open to ideas for connecting with other young mothers who are staying home to care for their house and children."
It's true that sometimes it can get lonely, being the only stay-at-home wife and mother on your street, in your neighbourhood... or even the only stay-at-home wife you know. It's only natural to want to feel accepted, normal, part of a community. There isn't really a magical solution to the isolation stay-at-home wives often feel.
If there is one piece of advice I can give, it is to be open to finding new friends in the most unexpected places, in most unexpected ways. If you have already been hurt by negative opinions, criticism, raised eyebrows, constant questioning and constant demands on you to "prove yourself" and "justify your existence" as a wife and mother at home, it can be hard to open your heart to someone you don't know.
But you know, not long ago, I made a conversation at the playground with a most wonderful, most delightful older woman - all I can say is that I wish I had an aunt or older friend like that while I was growing up. The subject of our conversation hovered awkwardly around "what do you do", when I said I'm staying home with my children "for now". Then I braced myself and said, "actually, I really love doing it and feel this is where I belong" - and then this other lady felt free to say she feels just the same! You see, the constant questioning made her shy of expressing her real thoughts - and if I hadn't been bold enough to say the truth of what I feel/think, we wouldn't have had the most inspiring conversation that followed. And there is hardly anything more supportive than talking to a fellow homemaker!
Of course, the internet opens many venues for us too - for meeting like-minded ladies in our area or even all over the world. Personally, I am so thankful for the opportunities blogging provides for me, for meeting new people. Some of them, I have been able to meet in real life, others not, but in many cases I was enriched by a flow of wonderful ideas and life stories people so generously shared. I only wish there was more time to expand on this.
And sometimes, we simply must make peace with the thought that we are going against the grain. That we are doing what we feel and believe is right and best for our families, rather than what everyone else is doing. So... perhaps I will always feel a bit out of place in most social circles, but I still believe it is worthwhile.