Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Change of Direction Creeps Upon Me...Or Does It?

When I started this blog, I thought it was going to be about homeschooling, and about education and children, the life we make together. Instead, it has become a housekeeping blog, a development I could not foresee, mainly because housekeeping is one of those things that has historically made me start feeling faint and in need of a cup of tea and a lie down. But who can predict where the winds of life will blow? This past year I have reorganised the house and garden, taken up dusting as a hobby, established routines for daily living, thrown out masses of suddenly unappealing junk and even begun to tackle the mending pile. It is all most unlike me, and at times I am a little startled by this mysterious new self, who mops the bathroom floor, and actually gets jobs done before seven in the morning. The other day a friend suggested that maybe it is like the nesting instinct in pregnancy, the desire to have everything prepared for the advent of a new life, and that maybe some new creative project is just around the corner...

Well, at the moment I think 'not toooo creative', and 'please, not just around the corner'. All this organisation is seriously tiring. I have been following (more or less, mostly less) Jitterbug's vintage housekeeping project. The thing is, she is much better at it than I am, and way more consistent. I have been trying to weigh up the comparison. On the one hand, she has a full time job and has to do all her housekeeping after hours. I am at home all day and can housekeep during work hours, but she has a four room apartment and I have a two storey house and a large garden, and she has only herself to keep house for, and I have six people, four of whom are always home and making messes. Plus I homeschool, but two of my children are very useful and help with the cleaning and cooking. All this is just to obscure the essential point - Jitterbug is working tremendously hard and powering along, and I am working harder than I used to, and just hanging on by my fingernails. The whole organisation thing is only ever twenty four hours away from total chaos. This is what has always exasperated me about housework - its incredibly ephemeral nature. Nothing to proudly stand by and say 'Look what I achieved,' because the results disappear almost as soon as they are completed. Perhaps this accounts for the beautiful craft work that women have always historically produced alonside all the housework, the cooking, the childcare. There at least is something concrete, something to say, 'This is me, I walked this way, I left this thing of beauty...'

Of course, the work that we do does have lasting value, but sometimes it doesn't make itself obvious until many years have passed. Happy children growing into fulfilled adults, memories of a happy childhood, children who know where their food comes from, who know how to cook healthy food that makes them happy, a sense of home being a safe place, a warm shelter, a place of peace and beauty. This is what I am aiming for. Sometimes that boils down to cleaning the toilet, spending far too long in the kitchen and attempting to answer damn fool questions with grace and patience for the hundredth time today.

So this blog started out being about homeschooling, and it turns out it is more about deliberately setting out to create a beautiful life. Which is why I started homeschooling in the first place. So welcome to this nice blog about homeschooling....

4 comments:

Gina said...

What a thoughtful post Jo. You've got me thinking. I'm struggling with the chaos in my place at the moment, and I've been wanting to find the right rhythm, the right way to clean and organise, but everything I do gets undone so quickly (partly kids, partly because it was not done thoroughly enough in the first place). Also, I know I do too much craft!
I'll happily keep reading a housework blog because I need lots of tips, perspective and encouragement!

Sara Padrusch said...

I love your beautiful blog! I think that for us homeschooling has to take place in a tidy home, otherwise I can't focus on teaching my kids because the dust bunnies are driving me crazy. I too am always just keeping up. But I am also really really enjoying having my kids home with me. Thanks for so eloquently describing the heart of homeschooling- creating a beautiful life.

Jo said...

Thanks for your lovely comments ladies. Parenting and shaping your environment - both offer such learning curves, don't they?

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