Last night I spent a bunch of time reading a really sweet blog written by a mom of six kids. She's also a great photographer. As I was reading her blog filled with references to her home-schooling, bread-making, beautifying, and crafting, I realized I was feeling envious.
You see, I really love crafty homeschooling moms, who spend their stay-at-home days educating hordes of well-behaved children, baking whole wheat bread from grain they've personally ground, beautifying their spacious houses so they look like something from an Anthropologie store, sewing gorgeous dresses and crafting cloth books and woolen scarfs while watching period dramas to their hearts content with a glass of raw milk in hand. I love these families, and I'd love my kids to grow up this way.
But there are significant factors that preclude me from following such a path. My husband and I are Christian egalitarians (we believe giftings and callings are not given strictly according to gender) and consequently take issue with the gender restrictions espoused by some of those I admire. This doesn't keep us from being great friends with them, just from becoming exactly like them. I often feel constrained and concerned by their view of the world, their treatment of women.
There's also this pesky little factor called cost-of-living. I live in a semi-urban, super expensive part of the country where one spouse's middle-class income is seldom enough to meet basic living expenses if the other spouse isn't also working. No wonder so many people in Hawaii live with their parents (or homes inherited from their relatives). Plus, I have dreams for myself. There are skills I hope to continue developing. I aspire to write, speak, travel. I want to make a difference in the world, not only in my home.
It's hard for me to reconcile these two parts of myself. I guess you could say that I'm part Stepford wife, part Eleanor Roosevelt.
Perhaps I will become a different breed of mom—one who works and stays home, votes liberal (much of the time, sorry mom!) deeply values her responsibilities in the home and sews up a storm, yet has no problem with shopping online too. Perhaps one day I will get my chance to resurface old furniture, decorate my own house, fill it with happily learning children, and still be able to travel, speak, and write on the subjects so dear to my heart.
I'll admit this sounds highly unrealistic. Realistic for me right now is laying in bed for hours every day, letting my sole child spend eons of time on the iPad. What sounds realistic is snapping at my husband as he gets home from a long day. What sounds realistic is the sound of the microwave chirping at me, reminding me the burrito inside has been warmed and is ready to be consumed.
What I want is someone to take care of me. I wish God would appear in my house like a kind grandmother, clean it up, do my laundry, make a fantastic meal from locally grown ingredients, and then do the dishes afterwards. I'd bare my soul talking and crying with him as he makes chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins. Then we'd sit on the bar stools in the kitchen, sipping tea or coffee together (or wine if that's what He wants.) That all sounds great. (hmm.. It also sounds like "The Shack.")
During his dark night of the soul, the Biblical character Job, having lost all his children and possessions, challenges God to come down and answer for Himself. Job demands an account of why God has allowed him to experience such deep, comprehensive suffering. And when God finally surfaces, he does so in dramatic fashion, giving long-winded accounts of his creative power and accomplishments. Job stops asking his questions when he sees the glory and wonder of God and is content to simply be in His presence. Like Job, I sometimes wish God would show up to answer for Himself. I have some questions too, namely, why? Where are you? Show yourself! And while you're at it, can you stop by my house and make me some chocolate chip cookies?
I guess what I really want right now is to be mothered and cared for with nothing expected of me other than just showing up. I just wish it wasn't too much to ask for.