We are cleaning up from supper tonight, or at least I am, and my husband bemoaning the fact that I am going to put some hours in at my job answering emails and I still have to do the evening chores. One child has taken off for parts unknown after the meal, the other sits at the table, forever the last one to finish, DH is on his computer, and I start getting ready to work (like for actual pay). Into this scene, my 9-year old says “Dad works harder than Mom all day and Mom, you should be done with your work and visit with Dad!”. Now, I don’t know about you, but this sort of floored me. I waited half-halfheartedly for someone to say something, anything, but there was nothing. So, I got to work, put 30 minutes in, spent 10 minutes looking at my own farm stuff, heard complaints when people found out I had not done my chores yet, then donned my hat and coat and went out into the icy weather to spend an hour working in the barn. Came in, found the kitchen still a mess, finished putting food away, decided to leave the dishes for morning (I may still load the dishwasher, but hand washing is cheaper), filtered the milk, and sat down to write this.
Anyone else experienced something like this? Man or woman, what makes being the one that stays home with the kids less worthy (especially in their eyes?)? How does farming equate to not working as hard as someone who works in an office or drives around all day? I am not belittling any job here; the fact is, we ALL work hard and it takes all of us, in every family, to make things work. We couldn’t pay for our home or the myriad of other bills without my husbands job, but we couldn’t afford to eat without the work that I put in. The house would not stay clean and farm work done if the kids and I did not bust our butts day in and day out. Not to even mention trying to homeschool. It was sort of like being hit by a rock to have my child have this perspective of me and what I do (and not have anyone say anything different), particularly after I killed 3 roosters today, dry-plucked so I could clean and sell feathers for fisherman and crafts, been out in the cold checking on stock, been wearing myself out trying to balance working at meeting required responsibilities as a mother, wife, teacher, farmer and workforce member. I spent a total of 20 minutes reading a pleasure novel today, and thats the first time in over a week! So, yeah, I feel like I got a good knock upside the head.
Things never change. I will always work my butt off for those I care about and serve people that are not thankful and take me for granted and forget to really think about what I think and feel. I know there are many others like that in this world. Servers often end up in the middle of people that like to be served, its instinct for both types of people to find each other as servers want to serve, and those that like to be served will not feel happy with others of the same mind-set. It still gets frustrating. It still hurts. It still makes you want to selfishly walk away for a day and let everyone else take care of things. But you don’t. You stay, and usually quietly continue what you are doing, day in and day out. Sometimes you complain, but its your nature to nurture, and you can’t escape it. You learn to turn a deaf ear and set limits so you don’t go crazy. You learn to tune out those around you for brief periods to give your mind and body a break. And then you return to reality and life with a thud and go on. Sometimes someone says something nice and makes you realize you are valued and what you do is recognized. Sometimes you get a hug or a kiss with a thank-you. Sometimes you just don’t hear complaints. And through it all, you take moments to smell flowers, to bask in sunshine as you hang clothes on the line or to delight in ice crystals hitting your cheeks as you haul water through a storm. You snuggle with the animals, watch a movie with your family, eat popcorn and roast marshmallows. Its your life, and in the end you are still happy because you know, even if no one else does, that you did as much as you could for those you love.