Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Back in my last lifetime, when I was a High School teacher, my co-teacher Susan came up with the concept of "homeplay". The idea was that the assignments you took home from school were fun and enlightening, not necessarily "work" at all. And if you looked at them as play instead of work, they wouldn't seem so onerous, it would be more like a game than work.

So we called all of our homework assignments homeplay.

The kids weren't fooled, of course. They knew we were still asking for reading and writing and deadlines and all sorts of stuff, but maybe some of them realized that the things we were asking them to do at home were sometimes not as grim as your typical homework-- they might have been reflective pieces, or fun readings, or things on the media or on their own interests.

I bring this up because I have been so exhausted with all I have to do as a Stay at home mom, it just feels overwhelming. It's so much work, some of which I am not really cut out for. And it never stops. It is relentless and demanding, although it is generally not hard labor. The baby is just one part of it. There is also all the housework, and anyone who has been to my home will tell you, housework is not my forte.

But I used to dream of being able to stay home and raise kids. What a wonderful idea, raising children, cooking, making a beautiful home, creating, writing... Little did I know how I would respond to actually being in that situation. Now I know that I am still not getting a great amount of sleep, and sleep deprivation has a good deal to do with my inability to stay on top of all of this, but still, it ain't easy.

What would happen, though, if I stopped thinking of all this drudgery as work. Oh, see, that is not the appropriate attitude at all. It doesn't have to be drudgery. I could be making a beautiful home and filling it with life and beauty and color and music and laughter and art and poetry and song. And I could also stop thinking that I have done nothing on any partcular day-- raising a baby is a lot. I am feeding and cleaning and playing with, and teaching, and singing to and dancing with, and exercising and walking, and nursing and putting to sleep, and putting on puppet shows (well, Ernie shows, since he is our only puppet). Basically I've been doing a lot and it will help Gabriel as he grows. I have even managed to toss in a shower for myself here and there, or a cooking a meal, or washing and folding some laundry, sweeping, etc. Every once in a while I get to write in my blog or in my journal. Hmm. I refuse to say that I should be doing more. But I do want to say that I could be enjoying it more while I'm doing it.

This is the crux of the issue. I want to enjoy this time in my life, this opportunity to stay at home with the baby and just be. I don't know how long we will be able to manage me staying home. It's really only been that way out of default, since I don't have a job to go back to, but it is a chance that I don't want to louse up by being miserable and dissatisfied.

My aim is happiness, and so, from now on, I'm going to try to switch what I am doing from "housework" to "houseplay." Like playing house. Like a little girl might. Like having fun.

I'll try to keep you updated on how that is working for me.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

You put it so well, it is the essence of my life too. I am frustrated with feeling like I am doing nothing. Raising a baby is something big!

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