What I do all day

The life of a stay at home mom is all about housekeeping, taking kids to the playground, watching soaps, and a good deal of being bored. Or, at least that is a common myth. There are some moms where I look at them and wonder what they do all day. For example, there is one woman at my husband’s company who works only part time, her youngest is 9, she doesn’t cook, she has a maid service, and she doesn’t seem to volunteer or be involved in anything other than an insane amount of hockey. Can someone truly be kept busy and mentally sharp on a diet of pure hockey? Anyway, I am not writing this to criticize someone else, so I had better get to my point. While I have had my moments of boredom when James wants me to build a tower so he can knock it down for the umpteenth time, I have never been lacking for things to do. My to do list just seems to keep growing. What is on that list, you ask? Here is a peek inside my life.

Yes, I do most of the housekeeping and practically all of the cooking, and I occasionally watch Oprah, but I can not stand soap operas. The times I have seen bits of them, I can feel my brain screaming. I listen to the radio a lot, particularly Minnesota Public Radio. My days do involve a lot of repetition, changing diapers, washing dishes, and vacuuming up food bits, again. Most of my time is spent dealing with the mundane details of existence. But that is not all I do.

I enjoy sewing. I typically have a couple projects in progress. My sense of fashion and requirements of durability, washability, nursing access, modesty, and a low price can make it difficult to find acceptable clothes in stores, so I am gradually working on sewing a wardrobe that I can enjoy wearing. I also sew to save money. We needed a new bedspread so I am trying my hand at making a simple quilt. I needed new handkerchiefs, but couldn’t stomach spending $2 per handkerchief. So, I found a 50ยข remnant and made ten handkerchiefs. I just finished sewing a couple cloth shopping bags to use as give aways at our church’s Earth Day event.

Which brings me to another thing I am involved in… the Environmental Action Team at our church. We look for opportunities to make our church building, congregation, and surrounding community greener and better educated.

I hate politics, but I believe that it is important to be involved, so I jump in anyway. This past weekend, my hubby and I were both delegates to our congressional district convention. Yuck. I was amazed at the amount of sliminess and name calling that showed up even at this relatively local level. Thankfully James had a great time with my in-laws while we were gone.

Hubby and I also volunteer with the Minnesota branch of National Marriage Encounter, an organization that helps couples prepare for marriage or strengthen and heal their existing marriage. If you or anyone you know are engaged or married, this is a great experience. Check out Twin Cities Marriage Encounter

Other things I enjoy (not in any particular order):

1. Baking bread the old fashioned way. Bread makers just don’t give the same results.

2. Playing piano and singing when I get the time. Don’t ask me to perform though, I’m very shy about letting others hear me.

3. Reading. I love books. Fiction, non-fiction, I’ll read nearly anything depending on my mood. I am currently reading: The Soul of Sex by Thomas Moore, How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons, and The Ravenscar Dynasty by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I also read a number of blogs regularly. Take a look at my blog roll if you need more reading material.

4. Having debates with my husband. When we were dating there were people who thought we could barely stand each other and argued all the time, but there is a difference between arguing over something that you care about and debating something that you may or may not believe just for the sake of a little mental sparring.

5. Playing with James. Flying him through the air, reading to him, having crawl-chases, dancing… He is such a happy kid, I’m really spoiled.

6. Writing poetry. Some good, some not, but all rhyming. There are very few non-rhyming poems that appeal to me.

7. Getting together with friends. I am a member of a couple local stay-at-home mom groups. We get together for playdates, trips to the zoo, etc.

Generally, I have to be choosy how I spend my time. There are many more things I would like to do, books I would like to read, and people I would like to see than I will ever have time for. Why do I spend time blogging? Because writing has always been a therapeutic experience for me. It helps me clear my mind and organize my thoughts. If these writings happen to be useful or interesting to anyone else, that is just a bonus!

All Things Erratic

The world seems to be very changeable around here lately. On Sunday, the wee one and I took the bike and trailer to the library. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny. Yesterday and last night it snowed like crazy, one last gasp for winter. Now this snow needs to hurry up and melt so the tulips can be blooming by my birthday.

James has also been rather unpredictable. In the last month, he has started occasionally skipping his afternoon nap. Then he usually goes to bed a bit earlier. His morning nap has always been his longer, better, reliable nap that is only skipped when we are out and about all morning. Not so yesterday. He wanted nothing to do with sleep until afternoon. Tired though he was, he refused to take a nap even then. Finally, about 4:30pm Mr. Cranky took a short nap, right when I was debating if I should just keep him up until bedtime. After that, we was refreshed enough to stay up until 8pm then went down for the night. And when I say “the night”, I mean the night. He didn’t wake up until past 7 this morning! This is the boy who has never gone through a night in his life without waking at least twice, and usually more, for “nummies” (nursing). I kept waking up wondering why he wasn’t calling for a snack, but I would hear him shifting in his bed or a little cough, so I knew he was fine. Who knows what this kid will do next… I would love to believe that sleeping through the night will become a habit, but that is probably just wishful thinking. And, truth be told, I’m not sure that I’d be willing to forgo naps in order to get it!

Spherical Cows Explained

No, I am not crazy, but, yes, I do believe spherical cows exist. There is a joke that puts it this way:

An team of dairy farmers tried dramatically increase the milk production of their cows, but after many attempts and much money spent they were only able to produce a small increase. So, they hired a few scientists to help them out. After conducting studies and pondering theories, the scientists returned with a report which proved that it is impossible for cows to produce milk. The report began, “Consider a spherical cow…”

The idea is that some things are too complicated to understand if you try to get it all at once. We need to study a simple model to understand the basics before we can comprehend the real version. Of course, absurd simplifications can lead to absurd results. You must still check your results against reality, but us finite beings have to begin somewhere. If we wait to act until we comprehend everything perfectly, we will wait forever. “Progress not perfection,” as FLYLady says.

It seems to me that spherical cows are used in many areas other than science, take morality. How can anyone understand the complete moral implication of their every action? They can’t. Is it better to brush your teeth or not? If you don’t, your teeth will rot. But if you do, you might be using water that could have been put to a better purpose. We simply do not have the time or capability to analyze every step of our lives like that. So, we have world views, religions, and political parties to help us figure out what we should be doing.

Yet too often, we forget that our cow is not actually spherical. Someone else yells, “You idiot, that cow is a cube.” Next thing we know, we’re fighting a sphere vs cube war when we should be investigating the true cow-nature. How can we make this world a better place for people and cows? Obviously, I don’t have all the answers, but especially in this election season, let’s skip the name calling and go for a deeper discussion. Who knows, maybe us Sphereists can learn a thing or two from the Cubeites’ point of view.

Hello World

I am tempted, in this post, to try to tell you everything about myself, but that would take as long to write as it has taken me to live. So, I shall settle for brevity instead. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to subscribe!

Charting the Labyrinth will cover whatever I feel like writing about, be it managing your finances or considering spherical cows. Seriously, have you ever considered a spherical cow?