Like many days, I spent the morning cleaning my house. Today I tackled the kids bathroom; bleached the toilet (yes ..bleach, I know, I know..) scrubbed the tub, disinfected the sinks, mopped the floor and changed the shower curtain. It's quite a chore for a little space but as I was working away I realized that I really like what I'm doing. I have a sense of pride in my accomplishment when I clean my home; the place where I eat, sleep, hang out and raise my family in.
I used to work full time. I loved my job and for that time in my life it was a good fit. I'd sometimes feel mentally drained at the end of the day and would want to do nothing more than lay on the couch and watch TV. And that was okay because I could. No one else really depended on me then. I gave it my all during the day; put out all the energy I had in me to be sure the work I did reflected a job well done and in the awesome cycle of energy I would gain back from that what I needed to put into another day. And so on and so on ..until I became a Mom. I had my son in the daycare centre in my place of employment; very convenient some might assume! But I hated it. I hated the rushed mornings where he would have to hoover his toaster waffle down in the commute, I hated leaving him with other people, strangers, who would get to witness him take his first steps, I hated having to feed him dinner at my desk because I had to work later hours than what the daycare was open, I hated that I was so mentally and physically drained by the end of the day that I had no desire to do anything else with my son once we got home ....I hated it all. But it didn't last long. In a matter of months I was expecting again, gave birth to my second son and never returned to work again. Instead I set up shop in my home and for six wonderful years I ran a home based child care centre and never ever missed what I once had. A few years into doing daycare in my friend from my previous place of employment called me with an offer I couldn't refuse. She had a very part time position in which she wanted me to take for five hours per week on the weekend. It was perfect for me then and since the children have all grown up and my childcare business phased itself out I've taken on more hours. I couldn't be happier.
I've been offered positions in the last few years, one of which was with the head office and would have required me to travel, which was not an option at all for this homebody. Recently another one has come my way and I've felt sick about it since it was put out there. As I cleaned my boy's bathroom I thought about my friends in high places; how my teacher friends, lawyer friends, police friends, real estate friends and top business exec friends manage their work/life balance and realized the things that occupy my life are not a part of theirs. They have people to clean their homes, a nanny to watch their children and cook their meals (and who they also take on vacations with them) They have gardeners to tend to their lawns so that they can spend their weekends at the cottage in the summer and someone to shovel the snow and hang their Christmas lights so they can be away at the condo skiing in the winter. Some have their kids in private schools and others take vacations a few times per year. (and some do both) If I could bring home a decent salary, which I believe this position would pay, we could have a few of those extra luxuries as well, ..but I don't want them. I like it here where I am. I don't mind cleaning my own mess up and scrubbing my bathrooms. I like cooking a homemade meal for my family. I don't travel much because I don't care to. Shovelling snow counts as my workout some winter mornings. I like my not high places life. I feel so much anxiety around being away from my home life any more than I already am. When will I find time to do the grocery shopping let alone plan a menu for the week?! Who will balance the bank book and get the bills paid? What if something goes technically wrong at work one day where I have to stay late and miss out on one of my kids activities? Who will get them to Baseball, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis etc etc?! When will I have time shop for the perfect gift when they are invited to the birthday parties of classmates, or for the family or for Christmas? How do I squeeze in time to take them for haircuts every month, when do I go get my nails done, when do I plan our little camping getaways or water park weekends, when do you go for bike rides and ice cream, when do I do date night with my husband or go out with friends without feeling I'm sacrificing family time, what about dentist and doctor appointments and what about volunteering on school trips?! When that time is consumed with working more hours, how do I manage it all? Because for me to take on a full time, mentally draining job such as the one on my plate right now it would have to enhance my life, not take away from it. Soon enough my kids will be old enough to stay home by themselves, make plans on their own and I'll be needed less. But I like that they need me right now.
And as I stood on the steps of my bathtub hanging the new shower curtain I looked around at the sparkly sight of my hard work and realized nothing I'll ever be offered from any employer will ever compare to the sense of accomplishments I feel from being a housewife/good mommy. Yes, I have friends in high places, but for now I love my not so high places life.