Some of you may know that about 3 months ago, I quit my full-time job to stay home, take care of the family, and hold down the fort. Please enjoy these recent photos of things around here while I rant.
Staying home is hard.
Not because I miss work. Not because I feel lonely or out of the loop. I’m not finding any sort of difficulty in being overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks. My house isn’t in chaos. I have schedules and routines. I clean the washrooms on Thursdays. I mop the floors on Wednesdays. Laundry happens everyday. Most days I get a little baking in and I always have a nice square meal on the table at 5:45pm when Chris gets home.
The hard part is in all the little grey areas. They nag and annoy like a sort-of scratchy tag in the side of a new shirt that isn’t quite scratchy enough to go get the scissors and cut out right now. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Is this the right way to be a mom/wife/home-maker/house-keeper? Unlike being at work, there’s no boss to tell you “good job.” There aren’t any co-workers to measure yourself against. You just have to know. Or fake it really really well.
Am I doing enough? Well, I could physically do more. I could get up yet another 30 minutes earlier and get one more household task done. Does that mean I should?
Or am I doing too much cleaning and organizing? All these people with their messy houses and their “just toss the mess out of the frame of the photo” attitude, are they on to something? Should I be ignoring all the little messes and be focussing more on big, noticeable renovation style tasks? What will they think if I do? What will they think if I don’t? I have a streamlined system for getting lunches packed easily and on time, but that’s not something that’s particularly noticeable when you walk through my front door.
And what about this saying that goes “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Is that what I should be tackling? Should I just be really really happy, all the time? Should I have a messy, chaotic house and unfinished projects, and unstarted projects but just be really super relaxed about it? How relaxed is too relaxed? After all, I know it well that a big part of the goodness that comes from my being home comes from my just being there. And Kennedy knowing that I’ll be there. With snacks and help with homework and time on my hands to sit and do nothing after school for a while.
I guess what I’m saying is, I can tell, just from the shear amount of thought that I put into this new job of mine, that I love it, and it’s something I care deeply about, but staying home is hard!
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.