Okay. I’m taking a deep breath here, because I’m going to admit something that is not so common in my current cultural climate, and possibly not so common in my generational bracket.
I like being a stay-at-home mom.
Another way to say that might be ”I don’t like to work.” Which leads one on a spiraling string of thoughts like ”man, you’re lazy” and ”you have to earn the right to not work” and ”what is wrong with you?” and ”your kids usually sleep through the night now, so that ‘too tired’ excuse is used up,” etc., etc., etc. with the word ”failure” whispering its way throughout…
This is on my mind a lot lately. I was working. I was working 50% in a ”job practice” scenario aimed at teaching me the language as applicable to my field as well as a glimpse of the health care system. Fifty percent is manageable. I’m embarassed to admit that it was even only from 8 am. to 2 p.m. Manageable. But now I’m making myself feel bad again for not loving it, which was not the point of this post.
The point is supposed to be that last week I was finally able to put my finger on what it was that made me so unhappy during this ”work practice” experience.
(Actually, there are probably a number of things that factored into 3 months of discontent. Sick children, minimal sunlight, the hormonal readjustments that come with the end of nursing, an entire family not used to getting up and out before the sun comes up… Take your pick. )
Oh, elusive point, hold still and be pinned. The point is that last week, the boys were in barnehage for three days. It took three days, but I got the house relatively clean. We went back to having nice meals almost daily instead of weekly. More importantly, we had dinner guests. We had people over to eat with us three times last week. All of which was able to happen somewhat spontaneously.
This, friends, is what we do ChezLyngstad. We like to keep the door open. With plenty of food on standby. People are important to us. Maintaining connections are important to us. Celebrating and pondering the vast differences within the human species is important to us. Jesus knew what He was doing by instituting the breaking of bread as the holiest form of interpersonal communion. I feed you because I love you.
When a new friend mentioned in the barnehage parking lot that her husband was gone for the week, I could say, ”When would like to come with the kids for dinner?” When I realized on Friday morning that I wasn’t totally drained of all energy, we could say, ”Wanna eat pizza with us tonight?” When another friend was single-parenting it for the weekend, we could offer the craziness of our house as a change of scenery.
I realized that what I was missing during those weeks of stressing about being on time and obsessing over language/cultural differences was the time and the energy to be available just in case someone needed us. Just in case the opportunity to pay forward even a fraction of the help and kindness we’ve been shown in the last years came up. Every time one of my friends could have used some help in the last months, and, I knowing my physical limits all to well, just couldn’t offer it — every time that happened I felt a little bit more smothered.
I won’t always not work, of course. I think the profession I’m trained in is important and needed. I even grant the possibility that there might be a nursing job out there that I not only feel is important and needed but that I actually like. The kids won’t be small forever. So pinning down at least a portion of what made this last experience so emotionally challenging (and we won’t even go into what it’s like to be a foreigner in a work place) will, presumably, help me balance it out next time.
But for now, as always, I work to embrace my failures and wisely spend the time I now have supporting the people and causes that I feel connected and close to. But with a cake or two in the oven, just in case.