Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I know I'm fakin' it

In pondering the question of motherhood loneliness, I have come to realize two things.

1.)  If I want to find other mothers with young children, I have to go to them.  They won't come to me.  Many stay-at-home-mothers are busy running their toddlers to activities such as Kindermusic, swim lessons, story hour, and tumble camp.  They have carefully arranged schedules, and plan play-dates with like-minded mothers. I do not.  I do pack the bags and head for the library each week for story time, and check out a week's supply of new books to entertain the kiddo, but my life doesn't revolve around him.  Not entirely, anyway.  Most women today stay home to take care of their kids.  I stay home to take care of my home--the bathrooms, the laundry, the dishes, the floors, the dinners, the husband, and the child.  I feel just as much obligation to scrub my toilet and wash the windows as I do the change the diapers and put my son down for a nap.  Therefore, I need to spend the majority of my time at my home.

2.)  Friendships will be difficult for me, because I'm becoming increasingly weird.  On top of my uber-conservative Lutheran values, I've been influenced by the Wendell Berry school of thought.  I dream of raising chickens and pigs, and canning the vegetables I've grown in our garden.  I intend to homeschool my children, and am skeptical of current trends in higher-education and women wearing pants.  I've planned to teach my daughters the womanly art of housekeeping, sewing, and cooking, and my sons to be wood-chopping, door-holding gentlemen. Add to that my opposition to feminism and birth control, and you've got yourself a certified weirdo.  Well, at least a certified weirdo in the works.

But for right now, and probably for the next couple years, I can fake it.  We have no chickens, pigs, or garden.  My child is too young to swing an ax or go to school, and I only have one.  I attend story hour because I have time to do that and the dishes.  The inner weirdo is covered up by what appears to be your run-of-the-mill stay-at-home-mom, gallivanting off to toddler events, chit-chatting with other moms, and desperately wishing for a play date.  But soon enough that weirdo will come shining through- either in words or actions or number of children, and I won't be able to contain her.  Perhaps by then, she'll really be stuck at home dictating sentences and boiling jars for homemade jam so that she has no time to ponder her loneliness.


  1. I love Wendell Berry, not in small part because he is named Wendell. :D

    As for loneliness: I've found it does become easier to bear the older my oldest child gets. But it is still sad-making to be the only variety of weird we know within a 300-mile radius.

    Jesus is coming back. And in the meantime, we have these fine Internets. ;)

  2. I keep dreaming of the day my son will be able to have a real conversation with me. (Also because then I can start delegating chores!)

    The internet has been wonderful. Keeps me from feeling too shut-in.

  3. One of those things I've been trying to think about articulating is how long it takes to actually become that mythical "big family" with the chickens and the jam and the homeschooling proper. There are a LOT of years of little kidship that have to happen first, and they're pretty much chaos. I feel like we're only just starting to get there.

  4. I've been thinking a lot about that lately, too, seeing as I have at least 4 more years before homeschooling is even an option, and we're only one kid into this gig. But I'm glad they come one at time (mostly), rather than the whole gang at once. Gives me a chance to adjust gradually.

  5. Adjust gradually......yes. With my oldest 19 and my youngest 3 months, and..........we have ten acres and have done the chicken/pig thing, I would definitely suggest taking it all slowly. Do things small if you can. My dh can not do anything small and we were buried with work with the chickens, turkeys, laying hens, and pigs. The youngest child to participate was 7 at the time and raised 25 turkeys on his own. They all learned a lot from the experience but it also ties you down for a good part of the year. Small.......I reapeat..........small. We have actually given all of that up in favor of dh working with the kids on construction and woodworking. You don't have to get someone to watch wood. We have definitely learned a lot from the whole thing but am sort of relieved to be on the other side now. Nine kids and helping older ones fly to coop is huge. This was just a word of caution before getting carried away.

    Oh.....I personally have talked my kids to death in conversation over the years and yes, it is very sweet to have your kids close and being close together. I love to stare into their eyes and just love them for who they are. It gets better all the time!!!!

  6. It's okay, we other weirdos out here are with you.

    And why have I always loved the idea of a farm?
    Or is it just a romanticized idea of a farm I want? The simplicity, the satisfaction of producing the things we need on our own land with our own hands, the boys being with their dad more...
    I think about it but it just isn't what I'm called to do at this precise time I suppose.

    I just found your blog on the Concordian Sisters page. I like it. I have noticed this "other Leah's" comments there quite frequently :-)

  7. BikerMom- Thanks for sharing your experience. It will be a couple of years before we can get anything set up, and everything will depend on where (and if!) my husband actually gets a call.

    Leah- I've wondered a lot of I'm no better than those Renaissance poets, idealizing pastoral life, sitting around writing blog posts...