Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a bit of a brave leap & some words on housework


I was recently asked by a new blogger {who happens to be a mom of three from my hometown} if I would like to be a guest blogger for her site.  I agreed to the challenge and thought it would be a good opportunity to write with the goal of creating something that may be suitable to submit for freelance writing. 

I have been a longtime lover of words and freelance seems as though it would be a natural fit for me.  I may not be the most technical writer and my nitty-gritty grammar skills could use some work, but people seem to respond to the content and that seems pretty important these days.

Rather serendipitously I found the website of a beautiful magazine called Seeing the Everyday.  An hour later I had finished my article and submitted it to them.  There is no money involved and I am sure they have many submissions to sift through, but it was a bit of a brave leap for me.  I struggle with both putting myself out there, and self promotion {or perhaps it is believing in myself}.  But am quickly learning that if I want to stay home with my children, these are all things I must polish up on.

I have no idea where to go from here, but I received a note from the Universe today that simply said:

                                          Don't resist, Erin.   Don't resist.  Don't resist.

Our lives are the sum
Of each moment and interaction.

Each day we work, eat, laugh, teach, play, read, remember...
And work at it all again the next day.

Within seemingly small moments we find opportunity
To build relationships, develope character, find joy
For the price of our time

Life's most essential possibilities are realized at home
Where we share, teach, grow, learn, serve, give
Our best without praise or fanfare.

Because every effort, every moment matters
In development of a person.

Nothing is really routine.
{seeing the everyday magazine}

I easily find serenity in the wind and scents of hanging fresh laundry on my beloved clothesline. Nestling into wind and sun soaked sheets on an early summer evening is one of life’s great decadences. I understand the happiness of dirty hands, a sweaty brow and sun-warmed shoulders while working in the garden. To sit sipping cold tea with tanned hands after a cool shower and look out at what you have done is a simple thrill. To swipe away fingerprints and nose prints from the windows so the sun can reach just a tiny bit further across the floor and touch my cold toes in the morning is a good thing. Sometimes, when the mood strikes I even enjoy the hiss of a hot steamy iron smoothing away the creases in linens and work shirts as if by magic. It reminds me of my grandmother’s patience as we learned the art one summer afternoon in the farmhouse kitchen.

One chore I do not love is that of washing dishes. There is just something that seems so cruel and relentless about it. I have been known to have standoffs with a sink full of dishes that last days. The tidy person inside of me always surrenders and dips her hands into the hot water and reluctantly opens the mysterious lunch containers to be cleaned. Just as I am about to raise my arms in victory of completion, I spy a tossed aside sippy-cup under the table or a lone glass on the nightstand and so the cycle goes; no time for celebration.

Or is that necessarily true? As a stay at home mama trying to keep her nest in happy order I am trying to change my perspective on the everyday duties that are required of me. In a sense, to be resentful is to be ungrateful, not to mention to fight a losing and very tiring battle. I have always felt a stir in the pit of my stomach when I read the quote “Be happy for this moment, for this moment is your life.” After years of looking at these words they have finally taken root and challenged me to change something about my behaviour.

On good days I try to be aware, as I sort through sticky forks and knives and oatmeal-cemented bowls, of the constant flow of life. I remind myself that by resenting the constant cycle of doing and un-doing, I am resenting the natural flow and energy that is in everything we do. The day begins and ends. The sun rises and sets. We sleep and we awaken. Each day is the same until we focus on something either brilliant and brave or tedious and mundane; a picnic under the tree or a sink full of dishes.

Rather than resenting the tedious tasks of our nests, perhaps we can focus on the slow rhythm of sorting, the soothing sensation of soapy water on tired hands, and the shiny gem of a just washed glass. Perhaps we can take a moment to think of the stories and lives behind each tea cup and handmade mug that passes through the suds. Be grateful for the opportunity to be utterly present and still in a moment of gratitude for everything we have and can do.

We can’t have the picnics under the tree without the clean dishes nor can we have the picnics without making more dirty ones. To accept that inevitable truth will only make life more enjoyable.

I will tell you I am no saint and have moments of sheer exhaustion as I watch a pink clad Poppy as she spins and sings at the top of her lungs and sprinkles dog food on a floor I just swept or paints a milk picture on a floor I just mopped. But I am learning and transitioning into a different way of thinking and these things take time. Be patient with yourself and know when to surrender. Be kind to the makers of messes, for they are the teachers. Take a deep breath and begin again without resentment. Think long and hard about changing even the slightest thing about your life without first considering how it might change the rest of it.

go gently & be wonderful



  1. This is beautiful. Is it crazy my eyes are welling up? The dishes are also my one household downfall. Thank you for this.

  2. So true. Having 3 tiny messers constantly buzzing about can make it feel like I am always doing something! There was a bit of letting go that needed to happen as our children grew older and our family became larger. Those moments of frustration become fewer; I see less mess and find myself praising the little successes of the day.

    I think it is wonderful that you have submitted your writing, congrats!

  3. Thanks Erin for guest blogging for me today! It made my transition back to work just that much easier today!

  4. hello- my husband and i recently had a laugh over my philosophy about doing dishes...he was curious how i can remain positive about yet another dish(we raise four children in our blended family), i explained to him that i use the warm water as a reminder to meditate and give thanks. i started this action while taking hot, relaxing, too long showers. i now, when i remember, do my very best to transfer the peace of the shower to my kitchen sink...the place i find i spend much of my time. thanks for your lovely words. juliet

  5. Thankyou! So true, it is so much more pleasureable to clean the caked on cereal bowls with a joyful heart! Lovley to read someone else is doing the same things I am! xo

  6. Thank you for this text, it's just what I needed to hear today.


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