I was speaking to a wise and insightful priest who was giving me some advce about structuring my life and he said something worth passing on. He said that there is a difference between work and labor. That labor is cyclical and is never really finished (does LAUNDRY coming blaring it's trumpet into anyone elses minds?) while work produces a lasting product.
A great deal of my life (of any homemaker's life) is consumed with necessary labor. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, diapers, even a lot of our schooling can easily fall into the labor category. This explains why occasionally I will spend a week making really nice, time-intensive meals - even though that means that we don't have a clean house. It also explains why I sometimes spend time cleaning out baskets, drawers or cupboards that no one ever sees. Or why I enjoy hanging the clothes on the line in the summer even though it takes me longer to finish the laundry. I am trying to imbue some more meaning into my labor by taking extra time with it, to give it dignity and raise it closer to the level of work. Because it is very hard to do this full-time mothering thing long-term.
This video from TED describes a study that was done about work and meaningful work (or labor vs. work). He describes how they gave people lego figures to build and first told people they would be disassembled eventually but put them under a table. In the second instance they actually dissassembled the finshed lego figure as the person was building the next one. And at about 7:40 into the video (the whole thing is worth watching - especially as fodder for contemplating a homemakers life) he makes this excellent point. "By breaking things in front of peoples eyes we basically CRUSHED any joy that they could get out of this activity." Ummmm...can we say, "welcome to my life"? There is is folks. Science confirms it.
Every person who stays at home just to watch their children systematically destroy every bit of effort and work that they put forth can give a hearty "AMEN" to that point.
I actually experience home-schooling to be more work then labor and it is one of the reasons that I am able to stay home with my kids even though so much of my daily life can seem uninspired and uninspiring. I mean one can only read so many of those "savor the moment, young mother" memes and still have them mean something to you. After a while you just want to DO something that stays done! Like teaching someone how to read or reading the Secret Garden or even planning for next year. That is one way I cope. Blogging is another...unless of course Blogspot deletes my post...sometime's it's as bad as my kids.