I’m middle-aged -that’s if get to live to 90 – so I reckon I’m confident enough now to not care what others think of the way I dress. Except I must do, because there I posted a picture of myself walking my kids to school this morning just to gain your sympathy. Did I not learn anything about style, ever? (Hand to mouth, noisy breath intake –clashing prints, mumsy polar fleece!)
I arrived at the school gate this morning and caught sight of one of the GlamMums stepping out of her new snazz-mobile and caught myself thinking ‘I should get some lessons in clothes shopping from her’. Then I wondered if I need lessons in housework too, I’m really so pathetic at it.
Here I trudge home again wondering whether wearing heels and lipstick would make me feel better about tackling last night’s dirty dishes that are buried beneath this morning’s breakfast and school lunch making debris. Would an expensive outfit give me a sense of esteem as I scrub the toilets or grovel around chasing spiders, dust-bunnies and other creatures that lurk in half rotten food under beds?
Hands up if you are a women like me who has struggled with the consequences of giving up our careers to stay at home?
So the big question I ask myself is, would getting dressed up to look nice or going out to work somewhere other than home make me feel better on the inside? Will it give me a greater sense of importance in society? Maybe for a bit, but I know it would only be white wash.
Sure, some of the most glamorous and professionally successful people in the world are the most deeply unhappy – take Marilyn Monroe/Ernest Hemmingway/Robin Williams/Kurt Cobain for example. In fact if you do a quick search online for famous suicides the list is horrifyingly long 😦
When I was in my late teens I had my life all mapped out, I knew way more than any forty year old would, of course! There were so many adults who seemed to have got life all wrong, I would do it my way, have all my cake, eat all of it. I will work, have kids, go back to work, do it ALL. So off I went to study, work, get married, etc, etc, etc. After a few years I became proud of my four year university degree, the career as a cool graphic designer, the fact that I didn’t just go to uni just to find a husband, no sirree not me!
But I did! I met him there, married him a few years later, had an unreasonable amount of kids a few more years later, and now here I sit, at home, no career, up to the neck in odd-socks and soap scum. (Well not right now ‘cos I’m trying to explain).
Life has a way of teaching us some valuable lessons though, usually not the lessons we like to learn. I couldn’t have looked forward to the future but I can look back and recognise how things have worked out. Here I am a couple of decades later reflecting how a potential career could have cost me the most super valuable time I’ve had with my children. (We have four who are still growing up and need a bit of attention now and again).
But this, THIS I feel is even more important. Me being home is me BEING home. It’s not only good but necessary that I am here. For years and years my DH has been working with clients at risk of suicide, he is at the frontlines helping those suffering with depression and self harm and he’s doing amazing work helping to pull them back from the brink. I wonder how many live have been saved? I wonder how he does it?
The work obviously takes it’s toll on him, and the stress inevitably has it’s way of creeping home. We need ways here to cope with what he does out there. And for us that means that I can do the jobs he’s really bad at, like being tidy, finding stuff – using my LAYOUT skills 😀 And being a mum? Sheesh, endless opportunities for creativity, efficiency, management for our messy lives! At home I’m creating order out of chaos and he looks and me and says, ‘I don’t know how you do it!’ Wow.
So this is the truth I told myself today, I am free! I can wear what the hell I like at home to do what needs to be done at this season of our lives. Because I am the wife and mother who does the behind the scenes unrecognised very important dirty work. It may change in the future again, as our kids grow up, but I’m going to look back on this part of my life and say, ‘I’m glad my work was you, the ones I love, instead of all that stuff I could have done to make me feel cooler/glam-mer/’liberated”. You have bound me at home to do what could only have enriched me and set me free to love well.