Suburban Housewife or Earth Mother Hippie?

Who am I supposed to be? Who do I want to be? 

Who SHOULD I be?

to-be-yourself

My mind is a world unto itself.

When I relay my dreams to my husband he is most always incredulous. They are full stories, with characters, odd scenarios and they have a clear beginning and end. When I give myself over to my little gray cells to contemplate a subject, my mind can turn tirelessly for days while I still go about my daily activities.  I have no choice, my mind just needs to work it out, regardless of my thoughts on the matter. Today I am still turning over a thought line that started many days ago.

It all started with my IPAD.

I have a Facebook account with zero information on it. I signed up to see some photos of my friends new baby 8 years ago and once I started getting “friend” requests from people I barely knew and others I no longer wanted to know, I never returned. That doesn’t stop Facebook from coming through my email and I haven’t taken the time to decipher how one leaves Facebook. If one can.

Laying in bed I checked my email, Facebook wanted to know “Do you know these people?”. 

And there he was, a former, hmmm, not boyfriend, but more than friend? Whatever he was in relationship terms, he was a dear friend whom I shared some amazing experiences with. But…he was different now.  We spent countless hours talking about dreams, plans, ideas and ideology. We leaned more toward the live in the bush of Alaska and sew our own hemp clothes. Nature was like a religion to us, hugging trees was no joke and our best moments were spent sitting completely surrounded by the works of Mother Earth.

Finbrooke 048

That is not the man I see on Facebook.

He lives in a perfectly suburban home complete with decorative accessories, his wife is the picture perfect kind, makeup, scarf and earrings for every snap of the phone camera.

Where was the cabin in the woods, the organic veg garden, there aren’t even any trees in his .17 acre backyard. Did he change? Or did he bend?

Part of me was envious of his life. The idea of living in a new suburban home with a tiny backyard has always sounded good to me. Then I would have time to decorate each corner of the mantle just so. Salon appointments would be more regular than veterinarian visits and that frumpy feeling I seem to have day in and day out would no longer exist.

But then there’s the other me, the me who still wants to live on a giant partial of 50 acres, where you will find clean sustainably raised food and dirty kids in second hand clothes (because health and happiness are not found in a  J Crew dress or bottle of Purell).

The fact is, I want them both. I want an apartment in the city with a standing pedicure appointment and a farm in the country with a fairy forest to ramp through hand in hand barefoot with my girls. Whichever way I “bend” it will always include a French Country farm kitchen, toile and an English tea set. This much has always been clear.

my_fairy_forest_by_indojo-d3gu8l8

So who am I? A friend once dubbed me a  “Hippie Princess”.  Although I’ve always thought that was an apt description, it really doesn’t answer the churning in my brain.

Although in my youth these questions were fun to explore, as an adult and parent they seem disconcerting. I should already know these answers, how else am I to parent without a strong sense of self. Who am I? What a  ridiculous question for a woman of my age.

The reason for these questions becoming almost unbearable is simple, I’m looking at real estate.

For the money we can spend…..

we could get a nice little suburban home in a pretty little neighborhood.

a b

Or….a storybook house with 15 acres in need of major renovation, that could only be afforded over time. 

Storybook House

What would you choose?

If I was worrying about feeding  my children while making a 5 mile trek to my village with 50 pounds of water strapped to my back, I would not have these thoughts.

*sigh* , definitely a first world problem.

 

 

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Neutral? Children’s Room Done

“Neutral” Children’s Room

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I did my best to stay neutral, but in the end, it’s a girl’s room. I truly despise categorizing genders.  Unfortunately I am in the minority and I have to think like the majority in this process.

I decided on an owl theme based on researched trends because I had a set of full size owl sheets and no full size bed. They got ripped up along with a matching shower curtain to be repurposed. I bought some matching wall decals to make a lampshade and wall art, repainted a lamp and nightstand, even tried my hand at a throw pillow owl. It didn’t come out as expected, but still cute.

Before and After Owl Kids Room 2

Before and After Owl Kids Room

Four rooms down, two thirds to go. 

Don’t Even Think About That Hole

Mother-and-Child-with-a-poppy-xx-Frederick-Richard-Pickersgill

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well, matters very much.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

When I started this blog I made the promise to myself  I would never just throw out my real life problems without first coming to a solution. I did not want my readers to feel downtrodden or in any way negative. Today I am going to break that promise and I’m sorry.

I’ve always known that homemaking was not going to be a role with which I would excel. This is why I made the declaration of “no children” before I agreed to marry. Despite declarations and preventative measures, there are two sweet souls sleeping in my bed right now who needed to exist and I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

What I would like to change is how I present Motherhood to my girls.

I want to feel like I know what I’m doing. I want to lead my children with confidence in my decisions, they deserve that kind of role model. I also don’t want my girls to see me sacrificing myself. I don’t want them to think that being a Mom means giving up everything we want for ourselves.  That will only lead to them being, well, ME.  A reluctant, overwhelmed Mother, burdened with guilt and regret.

The answer I’m searching for is not perfection, it’s balance. I don’t know when to laugh over the spilt milk or cry. They say don’t sweat the small stuff, but as a parent it’s almost always small stuff. Dozens of small things that are the sum total of our days. When do I demand that the house be cleaned and the good food be eaten and when do I say “hang it, wear what you want and let’s eat cake for lunch”.  Because let’s face it, some of our best childhood memories are those moments when our parents broke all of their own rules, just for us.

Go ahead, play it that mud puddle, I’ll even jump in and get muddy with you. Let’s stay home from school today, wear our jammies and eat jelly with a spoon.

But this can’t happen all the time, order and rules are the boundaries that make children feel safe.

I’ve met the Mom who’s home life is clean, organized and a machine, each piston firing with perfect rhythm. Their children are always well kempt, well behaved, bright and do well in school. But I didn’t see much joy in the face of the children and the Mother seemed exhausted.

I’ve met the Mom who seldom does laundry, children wear mismatched sometimes not so clean clothes. The floor is dotted with various toys, books, banana peels and day old sippy cups. The kids are unruly, don’t mind, loud, and can’t sit still for too long, but they are imaginative, sweet and full of life.

I believe that both of those Mother’s are doing their best, and quite likely their children will turn out fine, but residing somewhere between these two Moms is the harmony I am looking for.

motherhood

There should be a company, a national, fortune 500 company comprised of accomplished homemakers. Women who come to your home to consult, listen, kvetch and console. Women who’ve been there done that and know what the next step is.  I would empty my savings account for such a service. Why doesn’t this exist? If I had to venture a guess, I would say they are either too busy or they don’t exist.

The horror of parenting is seeing ourselves look back at us when we look into the face of our children. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s anguish. For me, it’s often times too much, too much responsibility and I just want to find the nearest hole, crawl in and sleep forever. I would of course never do this, I ignore that hole like the pile of laundry in my closet and I know that how ever much I experience failure, I am not the kind of parent that would ever make use of that hole. That in itself, tells me, somewhere inside of me is the ability to overcome the challenges of Motherhood.

I’m just so exhausted from the search and
that hole is getting harder to ignore.

 

The Deeds of Children

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The deeds of children are a testament to the upbringing they received from their parents.  ~ Christopher Paolini

A child’s innocence is a precious gift. It should be protected, harnessed and revered for as long as possible. For there will come a day when it is ripped away despite the most conscientious parenting. That day was yesterday.

There are certain words that are never uttered in our home. Words that carry emotion and do harm. Words that coming from the mouth of any human, no matter age make me sad inside. But when they come from the very innocent I actually die a little.

Hate

Stupid

Shutup

Kill

Yesterday my highly sensitive empathetic 4 year old began her progression down the back deck stairs to play in the yard and passing through a swarm of gnats, this phrase came out of her mouth. “I’m going to kill those buggies, I hate those buggies”.  When I asked her to explain what she just said, she didn’t quite fully grasp it’s meaning.

We quickly had a conversation about the words she used and why all God’s creatures were given life and it is not for us to unnecessarily take it. “Buggies have Mommies, Daddies and Sisters just like you do. Wouldn’t they have been sad if one of their family didn’t come home?” 

Now I know some of you are thinking “it’s just bugs”, well first of all, no, they are living things, secondly my daughter does not think, act or talk like this normally. If you think I’m overreacting call me a Buddhist and feel free to unclick that follow button on the upper left corner. You are not my people.

 Where did she learn this?

In this house we don’t KILL anything. Spiders are to be left untouched until Mommy can identify it’s nature. Bees are our friends who only harm those who try to hurt them. Wasps are relocated and all others are dealt with swiftly if they have been deemed a threat to my family. My children are sent immediately from the room, as there is a poisonous creature in their vicinity and it is not discussed.  So on rare occasions I defend my home, but we do not talk of killing God’s creations. The only thing they might overhear is the pitiful apology I utter as I do the deed.  And we most certainly NEVER use the word hate.

So where was this coming from?

It took me a full day to remember that just a few days ago a young girl stopped in front of our house and began stomping an ant pile exclaiming “I hate ants, I’m going to kill these ants”. It was loud enough that it reverberated through the open window into our home where one thinks we can keep our children from the influence of the less than character building behavior of neighbor kids. But she was loud, very loud. It didn’t even occur to me that my little one heard it, but in hindsight, how could she not have? She was standing in the same room with me, no doubt watching as I craned my head in that young girl’s direction and grimaced.

Truth is on many occasions, the phrases, “I hate you”, “You’re stupid”, “Shutup” and “I’m going to kill you” is screamed, and I do mean at the top of their lungs, by children all under 11 in my neighborhood. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, quite the opposite. I live in a family friendly, church going, pay your bills, tithe and mow your lawn neighborhood. Yet these children feel it’s ok to say these things, bellowing them for all to hear and does not render any reaction from their parents. It’s heartbreaking, but they are not my children. Don’t get me wrong I watch out for the kids.  I’ve pulled toddlers off the street, taken crawling babies back inside their home when they’ve escaped, those sort of things, but this stuff is beyond the scope of a neighbor. And it doesn’t concern me, or so I thought.

Until my sweet innocent child repeated something she didn’t even understand.