Yesterday, we had an especially busy day around here. As usual, I got up before sunrise, to get all the morning chores out of the way before it's too hot. Then I spent the best part of the day visiting with my friend Avigayil, whom I hadn't seen in way too long, and two of her children. I tell you, it takes some courage and determination to make your way here! ;-)
My husband came home early and then we were busy until evening with things that needed doing. And were we tired! The girls were asleep by 7:30 PM; as for me, I was in bed by 9 PM, although I didn't actually get to sleep until a little later.
Today, I got to think about an email from a reader I received not long ago. In it, I was accused of being too self-absorbed in my own life and concerns, and in putting too little of myself into benefitting others outside my home. To this, I can reply that it was always traditional for women with young children to put most of their energy into their family life, and when this balanced and natural pattern broke it wrecked real havoc in our society.
It is true that these days, I have little time, energy or inclination to be very much "out and about". I am occupied caring for my husband, children and home, and during most of my days I rarely have a moment to spare. Cramming in more activities on a regular basis would result in a rush incompatible with raising little children the way we envision it. Also, there are only so many intense relationships I can cultivate at this time of my life, and most of them are right here in my home. I am drawn to the quiet and peaceful, and feel we all need the leisure of living slowly and simply. I am also available, when need arises, in our little community - for example when a child needs to be watched, or there is a new mother who needs hot cooked meals.
I feel that the pressure on mothers of young children to do more than they should be naturally expected to, is destructive to everyone. Homes are abandoned; lives that could have been peaceful, become stressed. And I'm not talking only of mothers going out to paid jobs. These days, even when a mother chooses to stay home with her children, it is difficult to resist the pull of too many activities and people who assume she must have a lot of extra time on her hands because she is a stay-at-home Mom. Also there is the tremendous piling up of extra-curricular activities on younger and younger children - baby swimming, baby yoga, and many other things that can be good and worthwhile, but which result in the wife mother being out and about more hours in the day than she can reasonably spare. I know this isn't for me.
I lived a very different life when I was single, and perhaps things will change again once my children are grown; I can see myself with more time on my hands. I might dedicate it, perhaps, to keeping in closer touch with friends and extended family; to help out mothers with younger children, and to develop various skills I would love to try. For now, however, I am content as I am; perhaps my job isn't glamorous, and it won't get me a standing ovation from all who know me - but what I do must be done, and it is important, and that is what matters.