Have you noticed how the things people say sometimes stick with you for years? Somebody once told me never to fall out with friends over things our children have done. Wise words indeed and ones that I return to regularly.
Today I was thinking about the thought provoking words of another friend. It was when I still had children at home and we were having that conversation that stay at mums often have about the likelihood of ever returning to the workplace in any meaningful fashion. Her children were older than mine and she said that she did not intend to return to work. However, she commented, you have to work really hard at not working.
I have thought about that a lot over the subsequent years. Whilst I do have a job of sorts, things are so quiet at the moment that it doesn’t really count. In essence I am a busy, stay at home mum. I run the house and the kids and fill the rest of my time with things that I enjoy.
Sounds a doddle doesn’t it? Take today for example. I have nothing particular on my agenda so this morning I have done some washing, laid the fire, tidied up and made some brownies. Then, as my treat I have a had a bit of a bash at my book. This afternoon I have a couple of errands to run in town and I would like to push on with the book I’m reading. Sounds lovely I’m sure to all you working people. And it is.
But actually, spending day after day with no structure and no boss requires a massive amount of self discipline. There are days when I can find absolutely no motivation and it’s all I can do to make my own lunch. This is why I take on so many other things. It is an attempt to maintain some sense of self worth for it doesn’t matter how many times your husband tells you that you are doing a wonderful job. It can be soul destroying staying at home all day
And that’s what my friend meant about it being hard work not working. How easy would it be to slip into either a malaise of boredom and stagnate or get swept up by fun and totally ignore the dull stuff? What would happen if I didn’t do the ironing? Eventually my husband might complain that there were no clean shirts but to be honest he is more likely to get the ironing board out himself. If there was no dinner on the table then there’s always beans on toast or the chippy. No one is going to sack me for having a poor attitude – or at least not immediately.
I remember a while ago talking to someone who had lost their job. A few months into their new lifestyle, they were confessing that they would have to find something to do or they would go mad. But that is my life you’re moaning about, I thought and has been for ten years. The lack of daily structure and the endless list of mundane tasks is how I fill my days. Having no job is not always the soft option that people think it is.
Of course, I love that I am in the incredibly fortunate position of being able to stay at home and I really wouldn’t choose to do anything else. I fill my time with a wide variety of things both fun and not so fun to make sure that I feel fulfilled at the end of the day. But in the end, I have to agree with the wise words of my friend. It’s hard work not working.