Rethinking housework (from servitude to honour)

Stay at home mom = wake, cook, coffee, clean, eat, shower, cook, clean, eat, cook, clean, sleep

Or something along those lines. Maybe with a bit more Instagramming, diapers and Elmo.

I’ve said before that I believe it’s easy to lose your sense of value as a stay at home mom. I mean – is it useful for me to spend days folding laundry into neat little piles;  honing my gluten-free waffle making skills, or overdeveloping my character range for story time?

I started thinking about this when I read the Tassajara cookbook a friend gave me. The author outlined the honour the monks take in cooking. Everything is meditation – an act of service to perfect and perform each culinary task. Each task is honourable, from picking beans to chopping an onion. Each step is part of a ritual worth your time, effort and attention.

Of course, I’ve heard of this notion before – that everything is an act of worship.  It includes the mindset of taking everything you are blessed with (your time included) and honouring it, honing it, and offering it back to God. I never really thought about it pertaining to my own everyday life. Until I gave up my job to be a mom and found myself cursing the flood of mundane domestic duties.

What if everything we do harkens back to a time where everyday habits had meaning.

The way you folded your laundry was a speciality,

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how you made and poured your tea a ceremony,

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or how you peeled vegetables was an offering,

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Most days my life feels like this…

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As modern moms, we can sometimes shun those domestic duties as jobs that are beneath us. We (me) complain and procrastinate on the chores. After all, I had a career before this! I could be off changing the world and making an income and wearing pants without bananas smeared on them! BUT here I am, at home, changing the world of these three kids.

I still dread chores and dramatize them. I get anxious and overwhelmed and everything piles up even more. I swirl up our lives into this great rush out the door.

So I’m trying something new. I’m trying to be less ‘busy’.

Because what I changed my mindset from this being beneath me to something I can put my hand to? What if I took pride in these duties and making a home for my family. What if I gave it the value of being everything I have wanted for years – instead of a sentence of servitude.  What if this is something that moms, for generations past, have struggled with as well?

What if we took one everyday habit and just thought about the ancient rituals that made time stop and made this an act worthy of our respect?  Back to a time where you didn’t have enough clothes to make five loads of laundry a day. In a time where you didn’t own enough possessions to become unorganized. Where it was a place of dignity to be pouring the tea.

What if we put the honour back into all the work our hands are capable of.  We don’t have to be maids in our own homes, but we can respect our ability to ‘make a home’ with gratitude in one pocket and our iPhone in the other.

I’m not saying I do this, I still avoid the kitchen most days so I don’t have to be face to face with the dishes piling up. But I am thinking about it and it kind of makes me slow down a little more and makes the things I initially found useless a bit more sacred.

I want to give my all wherever I am in the world.

I want to do small things with big love.

So I am choosing little habits to pay more attention to.

My current one is ‘breaking an egg with one hand’. With just a few shells sometimes.

Ok, most of the time. Fine, every time.

The little things matter.

pinnable image for blog post: a photo of dishes with title overlay

 

 

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