It's been a while since I last posted, a lot has been going on around here. I am now, for the first time in 9 years on my own during the day. My littlest one has gone off to Kindergarten and her big brother is now in grade 3. This has been a huge transition, not just for the kids, but also for me. It has also been a time of reflection and questioning as I have been trying to find a response to the stay at home mum inquisition, "What are you going to do now?" I have been carrying an expectation that now that I have all this free time that I would then go back to work or back to school. Being a stay at home mum with small children isn't as common as it was in my mother's day but being a stay at home mum with school age children, well that is even more rare. My response thus far has been, "for now I am just going to try to get my balance back again and then we'll see."
So last night I was standing at the stove stirring supper and I was thinking about my new life and all that comes with it. Yes, I now can eat lunch luxuriously alone, without interruption, cozied up by the fire. And yes, I can also answer emails, have a coffee with a friend and even do the laundry quietly to completion. But what hasn't changed is that I am still responsible for taking kids to and from school, groceries, taking care of this little home of ours, banking, cooking, cleaning and being available for all those professional days and sick days. I had come somehow to believe that this isn't really a job, that this is what everyone does, that their job is something that they go out of the house and get paid for. I had also come to believe that I wasn't really even supposed to like what I was doing. I am a Women's Studies graduate after all, isn't this life supposed to be part of the patriarchal oppression that I have come to agree to? In the midst of growing up to believe that I could be anything I wanted, a doctor, astronaut, police woman...it never occurred to me that being a home maker, stay at home mom, home artist, whatever you want to call it, was also within the encouraged realm of being a woman.
But as I was making supper, mushroom stroganoff with cardamom rice, something that I love, I realized that I needed to admit something to myself, something that I have been afraid to say out loud. The honest truth is that I love being home. I love being a home maker, if you want to call it that and I love all that goes with it. I love to cook, I love to take care of the house and I love that I can be there for the kids after school everyday so that we can have tea and talk about our days. Now I'm not insane, I don't love cleaning toilets or picking up socks that seem to land all over the house and I definitely don't love it when I go to the trouble to make a lovely supper and the kids cry at the sight of it. I'm not a robot after all. And I am definitely not Martha. But if this is a job, which I truly believe it to be, I love doing it and I'm not looking for a new career anytime soon. There, I said it. I am still getting my balance back, after looking after children all day for 9 years, that is going to take some time. But I'm not doing it so that I can move onto something more glamourous, I am doing it for myself, which I deserve. We all deserve that. And in the process, I am appreciating more and more this life that I have and I am so grateful for it.
Someone posted on Facebook today that we need more Mayberry and Less Jersey Shore. I agree. On Mondays I make these cookies and the kids and I have one at tea time after school. They are so easy to make and even better to eat. Even if you can't have them after school with your kids, I would still encourage you to make them and eat them together, tea or milk mandatory.
After School Cookies
1 Cup butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Good handful of oats
Good handful of chopped hazelnuts
Good handful of raisins, if you like them
Good handful of chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix flour, salt and baking soda. Add gradually to the wet ingredients.
Once mixed add chocolate, nuts, oats and raisins and stir in.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using two spoons, gather little balls of dough and drop on sheet in little rows.
Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and eat while warm.