Guess what America, you know who you owe lots of debt to? Moms. Or people like me anyway. Caretakers. Taking care of the business many claim is below them or a “chore”, mostly I get this stuff done by my time and the efforts of my two hands. Finding shoelaces to replace the broken ones. Mending clothes and wiping down muddy shoes and airing them in the sun. Shaking out the down comforters and hanging my husband’s shirts on the line so they last longer, smell better, are stain-free. Taking care to reuse and recycle and donate the things that may be useful to someone else. Hunting down the ice cream truck and giving my kids $5. I will give them ice cream money any time I can afford it and even when I can’t.
Back to what I got up to today, it’s a good thing I believe in the inherent dignity of each person and every kind of work. You know what’s weird, I keep getting told about jobs, the kind that suck your LIFE and TIME up, and hearing Hey you should go out for that. Where the fuck have I indicated I want or need a total disruption of our lives? I dunno, it could be just the climate in Grays Harbor which supposedly has a record unemployment rate in our state: 13%. Everyone’s got paid work on the brain.
There are of course always bills and rent. We had to say No to a few things we really wanted to do this month. We’re also short on food money but – that’s okay. We’ll figure it. I wonder how many do the footwork to enjoy what they have in the Now. As opposed to those who future-trip: things they dread, or things that will mean SUCH an improvement, when they get the house refinanced, or when they get the promotion, or when they’ll start the new job, or when they finally clean out the garage, or whatever.
I don’t want to live that way any more, and I mostly don’t.
One hilarious aspect of my day out with the kids was a delightful visit to our SOUTHSHORE MALL, which any resident knows is the most thrillingly depressing and yet prevailing, triumphant edifice. I actually didn’t get that many pictures. Less photo-taking, more enjoyment of the children.
Bleak, but in a way that feels deeply comforting to me.
Noble big cat heads rendered in resin. The kids enjoyed smelling all the different kinds of incense in the shop. In fact Nels did smelling until it made him sick. Oops!
Believe it or not, Sears was kinda hoppin’.These televisions were in sync – but I see here now that somehow the phone captured this smarmy talky man in different facial aspects! SPOOOOOKY…
So in other big news, today Nels lost a tooth. This was only his third, even though he’s seven and a half. Little guy hangs on to those things. He was quite anxious about the whole business in the afternoon when it first caused him a bit of pain, and he iced for a while (okay, like two hours). Then later in our backyard bonfire (we had, quite suddenly, five extra kiddos, and my mom, all descend on our property!) he realized the tooth was gone. He was quite relieved.
I remember the feeling. I hated having a dangling or loose tooth. It actually gets me all set to puke just thinking about it. Why on earth I thought, for years, I could hack it as a forensic pathologist (this was WELL before all the trendy television shows I’ll have you know!) is lost on me.
When I worked, and would talk to my coworkers (also working moms) about how much I missed or enjoyed being a stay-at-home parent, I got a lot of “I could never”s. They would talk about how boring or monotonous or unfulfilling it surely must be. I always got the sense that what they really meant was they couldn’t live with other people’s perceptions of them not really doing anything important. Which in turn I always interpret to mean something with monetary value. Nowadays I’m glad I got laid off before my 2nd baby was born, and wouldn’t go back for a sackful of gold.
At the same time, I’ve come to be more of a future-thinker, penny-pincher, save-for-rainy-day-er. I’ve had my fill of laissez-faire personal economics and almost got us into Very Deep Trouble. And in general, I have felt irritation every time someone expresses appreciation or admiration for something I have made or done only to add, “You could sell that/make money doing that/whore out your time and talents for a few measly bucks.” But, er, I’m changing my tune recently for a few reasons. I want to take my kids on some life-changing world treks. And free my husband from the shackles of shitty employers. And I want very very much to help other people with their material needs. As of now, I feel like I barely meet ours. And I want to finish a scarcely begun basement remodel that will give the kids way more play/work space…So I’m doing more because I want to DO MORE and reap some longer term benefits of that, and I feel like that wins out over the momentary joy of the ice cream truck, but only when I’m ALSO enjoying my labors.
Even if nothing pays out cash-wise and I never get to China or even make it very far out of the land of the working-class poor, I will still have had some interesting adventures and made some super cool stuff and learned things I feel are worth knowing. And all of that is worth it to me.
Oh, the fun time we had at South Shore Mall. I have fond memories of dancing around to 80’s music, while no one else was around. When it was cold and rainy outside we would go and jog there… and power walk as soon as we saw security guard.
Thanks so much for your comment! What is it you are thinking of doing for money, if I may inquire? My partner has a good job but I’ve often thought of how much he says he wishes he could be home more. I can’t facilitate that much in any way other than I’m doing but I’m open to his suggestions if he’s serious about it! For now I think we enjoy the (not-really-but-feels-like) security of a straight-hour job with good insurance benefits.
If/when you visit again a trip to the mall is definitely in the cards. I know you hold it in a fond place like our family does!
Well I am planning to sell some handmade puppet sets and other handsewn items on Etsy, but that is mostly for seed money to start our board game design company. I’ve taken in an extra kiddo 3 days a week to help cover the weird little expenses that pop up from me not devoting every minute of the day to household management/food prep/coupon clipping and general thriftiness. And I am doing a bit of web design, like http://www.riversidetheatreco.com, though I am mostly bartering for future advertising space as opposed to pulling cash there. And I may have a few custom costumes to work on in the near future. So, to sum up, a bit of this and a bit of that? That’s how I’m happiest though. I can’t stand to do the same thing all the time.