I am blogging today for a few reasons: one is that I actually have some down time! Unbelievable. The other is that I can’t work on my books because my spirit is off navigating the world for a new camp site. The last reason is that I am filled with excitement and nerves and can’t just hang out at this time.
I am a writer and building a career slowly and painstakingly. I am also a mother and homemaker. These are my favorite positions and of greater value than the author job. The author job is for fun and because I always have this nervous, albeit good, energy that keeps me seeking new and fun things to get into. When one is homebound due to little children, well, one becomes a writer! Or one annoys others by calling them all the time to chat out of boredom. There really is only so much cleaning, cooking, playing legos, and singing of nursery rhymes that a lady can handle. The writing and blogging have turned into a fantastic journey. I meet people all over the world and my vocabulary has expanded. My books are even selling now. So, I figured I had graduated and moved into fiction. I gave myself a pen name, something fancy and french. Then I wrote some fiction. One is good according to a couple readers, one I can’t seem to give away to save my writers bottom, the other two I took off the internet bookstore shelf for some major reworking so I wouldn’t shame the family.
Now, the other things going on are that we have started the home buying process and after a flurry of stomach tightening, stressing work all day yesterday, sending files and taxes and pay stubs…now I’m in the “sit and wait”. I feel like the family must feel waiting in the hospital lobby as the mother labors away at producing another family member. I just really need the doctor to come out and congratulate us now and let us see the new life. So, I wait for the lender to call and give us a thumbs up.
I have never owned a house. I have been renting since I was 19 years old and I’m 46 now. 27 years of being careful not to put too many nails in the wall, of not planting the forest I would like to plant in the bland backyard, of getting in trouble with my husband for spending too much money on a yard we will be leaving behind, of stressing out when the kids and dogs cause scratches on the floors or damage the walls with runaway dump trucks.
I long for my own house to paint and decorate any way I please, to do all kinds of crazy things to the back yard. eI could paint the fence purple if I like, and the walls green inside…not that I will choose those exact colors but the dreaming is fun. I can plant a mini orchard, have my big, organic garden, hang my clothes line. I can’t wait! And yet I must because no one has called and I can’t act like that crazy lady with nothing better to do than crank call the lending office all day.
The children are homeschooling and that is why I have peace in the valley. Thank you ABCMouse. They love that program and it consumes them for long stretches of time. I don’t have to feel guilty because it’s educational media. The boys are too young to really start school but they enjoy it and why not? If they are ready, I say go for it little boys, go for it.
I hear some homemakers that feel so stretched. They say it’s the hardest job they have ever had. I wonder what makes it hard for them. I think part of it may be that some woman and men just don’t want to be doing it. This is a job that you either love dearly or dream of the ending of your perceived prison sentence. I, personally, feel like I’ve been on vacation for years now. I used to work out there in the wild world of offices and retail. I always had two jobs and three during holidays. When I became a housewife I was so relieved. I was concerned I would get lazy and fat and not live up to the homemakers standard. I hadn’t thought about the loneliness and boredom that does drop by unannounced at times.
In the end, I didn’t get lazy, I actually became quite ambitious and later found a way out of my isolation through my writing. I turned my writing into a career with all the fear and insecurity trying to talk me out of it at every mistake or flailing period. Now, a year and a half later, I feel confident even if I am not one of the top 20 or even top 1,000 best authors. I am a simple gal and I’m just happy to sell enough books for coffee and book cover money. I love writing. I feel connected to the life force, to the Universe when I write. I write books to help other homemakers. I am of the belief that these women, and some men who choose to stay home, are making this all a little too complicated.
Downsizing and simplifying everything has made this job 50% easier. Not micromanaging the kids and dogs and husband has created a lot of peace. Having a career for me has increased happiness and productivity. Creating a lot of down time and pockets for doing what I like to do keeps me sane and cheerful.
Let’s talk about how this happens and how you can create this for yourself and home.
First of all, we went from a really big house. We are talking 1,200 square feet or more, two living rooms, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. We had huge front and back yards, side yards. We spent all our time doing house cleaning and yard work. We also lived 30 miles from town, which isn’t a problem except that we lived in a farm and river land were there was nowhere to walk, no good parks, and no decent shopping. We had to really travel to shop and play. The house was old and cost a fortune to heat. It required wood and gas in the winter.
We downsized everything; house, furniture, belongings. We moved into town in a working class neighborhood where I could walk everywhere with the boys. We were now 2 to 4 miles from great parks and shopping, big libraries and classes. Our house is now 860 square feet and takes 1 1/2 hours to really clean and 45 minutes daily for light cleaning and tidying. We save $600 in utilities, rent, and gas since the commute is shorter for the man and I walk with the children. I don’t even need a car and would get rid of it but that would cause a tiff between me and the Mr.
For some time I cut and slashed bills, even the cable went. I loved the antennae but we live in the city with trees and the reception wasn’t good and there was no PBS. I returned to cable but the mere basic. I spend $30 on it. I miss the local channels. I fill the truck up once a month. I spend $600 a month on groceries and we do a lot of Paleo type eating with the organics and grass fed, free range, certified cruelty free kind of shopping. Our wardrobe and all the baskets and tubs of toys are curtesy of the thrift store.
I have cleared the calendar off completely except karate classes for our eldest because it’s great for him learning honor, respect, focus, and discipline. It takes a village to raise a child right? Well, it helps. I have chiropractic appointments and there is a yearly dental, maybe a check up at the doctors. I was checking out homeschooling co-ops, however, I found the lady heading the one I chose to be so pushy and it started feeling like the military so I broke up with them. Anything added to the schedule has to be so positive and life enriching for us to actually take the time. Or really fun. Mostly I just schedule good times with family and friends and travel. My kids are young, these are the years to have fun, fun, fun. I could care less if they know their abc’s or numbers. I want them to know themselves and their personal power. I want them to learn to be compassionate and loving, how to be great friends and that their family is the most important thing. My kids are wicked smart and in tune. They can only count to 10 but they can name all the dinosaurs and gases on certain planets. They don’t know what order the abc’s are in but they know all about farming and construction sites. They know about Universal things that I never taught them. So who cares about the basics right now.
I don’t plan or oversee their play. I don’t play with them all day. They become consumed in their worlds and that’s great. I go off and write. I am here to love on them, chat about their various thoughts, to make snacks, and break up a squabble now and then. When they do the ABCMouse I read novels. When they take their evening bath I clean the bathroom and talk to them or I sit in the bathroom and finish the novel and make sure they don’t drown each other. In the afternoon I fold laundry and watch a movie. The boys “help” me with their dump trucks and excavators getting the piles of laundry from here to there. When they play in the sandbox outside I sit out there and play for a while and then have a chat on the phone with a friend. In the mornings when they are having hot chocolate goats milk and PBS cartoons and playing I have coffee and blog or work on a book or exercise.
There are many hours in the day there is affection, books read to them, lot’s of listening to their new life ideas. But children don’t need us to sit on their heads or be in their space all day.
As for the house cleaning and cooking. I have a nice home that I’m proud to have visitors. You will never catch me with a filthy house. Messy with toys yes, but dirty and unkempt no. This is what I’ve learned to do with some advice from other mothers and books. I pack up 75% of toys and store them in the garage. I leave out what they really play with daily. Then I take that 25% and store in a cupboard. They have a big wicker basket with main toys, such as a dump truck, garbage truck, a couple dolls, big blocks. Daily they can choose a box of goodies like little legos or Tinker toys and play all day. When they are done they clean up and put those away and then choose another toy. This has saved me hours of cleaning up. I used to have the toys in baskets in the kids room and living room. They would dump out EVERYTHING in the middle of the living room floor and then go off someplace else to play where it wasn’t so messy. I would be cleaning up little legos for days. This also keeps the house looking fairly nice.
I set a timer when I clean and see how fast I can go. This is silly and it works. I don’t have time to think. I just bust my rear and it often motivates me to tackle a cabinet or pantry too. I spend 45 minutes to 2 hours a day on cleaning depending on the jobs at hand and if there is some organizing and decluttering involved. I have the rest of the day to play and work on my writing. All over housecleaning day is once a week, laundry is that day too. Daily is just the basic bed making, sweeping, dishes.
Cooking and shopping. I shop once every two weeks and if we need extra fruit or milk to make yogurt I have Bali pick it up on the way from work. As for cooking; I cook in the morning, make a big snack plate late in the day and then cook one big dinner in the late evening. This is also Bali’s lunch and possibly dinner for the next day also. For example; I made a big chicken and tons of veggies and rice yesterday. We had dinner, I packed a lunch for Bali from it and we will be having it tonight too. I don’t have to cook today. Yay! My people don’t mind leftovers at all. It all depends on what the leftovers are.
Now, my new project is getting us a new home of our own and I have put my writing aside because I just can’t be creative and do business right now. I also had a melt down days after I first started writing this and it turns out that I need more time to myself. My solution is to go to the movies every couple weeks and go grocery shopping BY MYSELF once a week. I need breathing and thinking room. I have also taken up meditation and I wrote about that earlier in another blog. I will discuss this all later, however, for now I just wanted to share how I make life a little easier at home so you can find time to write and not completely lose your marbles.