I stress when people are coming over. Torn somewhere between the desire very much to entertain friends, be a perfect housekeeper, a great mother and a business woman helping to provide for her family too. Torn between being down-to-earth and polite and tidy. I so love it when things just flow with grace and ease.
I couldn’t entertain much in my old house. Not enough room or privacy. Here I have some space finally. Guests can even stay overnight.
But I work from dawn ’till midnight most days. Constantly behind. The dishes get done and some basics, but that’s it. Here and there, customers get first crack at my attention. Kids next. The school needs what now? Hubby and I make it work somehow. He’s working his things too. The kids are busy with homework, every day, even on weekends. Then there are the volunteer things and other obligations too. And the kids can’t drive yet. Who can afford it? The load has to be shared by just us two.
Then I start thinking about people coming over, look with different eyes and – OMG, is that cracker crumbs in the corner? Then I rush through and cram in a giant clean session for the coming gathering. If I had my way, I’d pace it little by little every day, routines saving most of my life. It’s my preferred modus operandi. But when life is one long series of emergencies, with no space to come up for a breath of air, pacing is a luxury not often realized. And routines fall by the wayside.
The truth is, no one can do it all. Not without support of some kind. Somewhere you have family who help you, babysitters, a church congregation to lean on. Heck, some churches are almost like country clubs. Pay your membership fee and look at the benefits. Even those who don’t have a church network to draw from sometimes hire out help, or otherwise delegate tasks that make life work. Or they exist with different circumstances that require less effort to maintain a home, like officing somewhere else besides home. Or eating out for most of their meals, etc..
And well, I have none of that. Except the kids doing their chores and the occasional guest who pitches in. And it’s OK. It’s the life I chose to lead. Free, hard, better for my kids, and all mine.
But I love Sunday after a Saturday gathering at my house. The stressing is over. Everyone’s gone. The house is clean, mostly. And nothing screams too loudly.
Suddenly I can breathe. Suddenly I can put my feet up and rest my throbbing ankle. Suddenly time slows down. Time passes more slowly away from the computer too. It’s wonderful.
For just a bit, worry can be suspended on a Sunday like that. Not even the mail screams at you on Sundays. And today the weather is so fine. I love the fall.
And there was one more gift today. Daylight savings ended and gave us back the hour it stole earlier in the year. We slept in, had coffee and a slow morning, and felt great knowing it wasn’t as late as it seemed.
And it got me thinking about that whole thing: An extra hour – what a luxury.
With just one more hour, what could we do? If all we knew was that we only had one hour left, what would we do? And during the last year of my child’s high school career, what do I really want to do?
Because I can tell ya. The answer ain’t stress.