I gave up on the idea of no balls in the kitchen years ago. I got bored with enforcing it. I had to repeat myself constantly, and found the daily refrain annoying to my own ears. The current rule is that the ball cannot land in the food I am preparing or take out a light fixture. I also ask that it not hit me above the waist, as I find that a bit disconcerting while preparing food. Taking off from yesterday’s idea of surrender, I’ve always thought I did a pretty good job of it. But really, I just do a good job of it when its something that I don’t attach a lot of weight to. Other things are more difficult.
Once a friend told me that she didn’t have nearly the issues with the question I chose as the title of my blog. At that time, I think I looked at her incredulously. The word that came to me as I walked up the hill with Sherlock and Cody was “calling”. I believe that some people are called to be “stay-at-home” moms. It is their greatest joy and they are completely at peace with their role. They are even at peace with the label, and they don’t worry at all about how the images of the role are manipulated and construed in our culture. They are content just doing what they love to do. It is their vocation – a word I love, because I love language and it so beautifully speaks to the idea of work as a calling. I think I’ve always thought that those women just faked it really well. Maybe when I started this blog, it was simply a last ditch effort to find contentment and peace in the role; to learn the secrets that allowed them to be so comfortable and to use their myriad talents so willingly in service of their families. Maybe I just have to accept that I’m never going to get it. Its not my calling. That doesn’t mean I can’t do the job well and be content (the latter is something I’m still learning). In some situations, I do it really well because I don’t attach much of my identity to the role. I’ve actually always thought that I was kind of an “accidental mother”. I didn’t know what my calling was and just fell into being a mom – partly because I figured I was supposed to know, and if I didn’t, well I better choose something. Then I discovered that it wasn’t my calling and started to panic when I realized that I had actually signed a long-term contract and now I was going to be stuck and never find it. My life was going to be over and I would be old and never have done what I came to do. I think I’ve wasted a lot of energy resisting the label “stay-at-home mom” because I had some other nebulous idea in mind for myself which I’ve never really given up. So here I am, in the latter part of that section of my life, just figuring it out. No question about it, I’ve loved being the one to raise my children, but the resistance has made it harder to be content, and I probably would have found my “calling” sooner, had I not spent so much time and energy resisting where I actually was.
One thing I’ve never resisted is food. Not just eating it, but growing it, shopping for it, chopping it up, making it look pretty on plates, inventing recipes, in fact, most everything about it. I’ve never even had any resistance to preparing it for my family (ok, maybe a little when I’m out of time…). I only mention that here because this was the dinner that followed the above pictured juggling act. These are the only photos I took today. I had to surrender to the fact that every day is NOT necessarily photogenic! Sometimes I just have to take what it gives me and do the best I can with it. Hmmm… more metaphors.
On that note, I think I need to call it a night and go track down one of my teenagers who hasn’t called and doesn’t have school tomorrow…