First Gearin’ It

Give a woman a snow day and she’ll milk it for all it’s worth. I love days like these that serve as impromptu holidays, a reminder to celebrate exactly what I am blessed to have.

My day included early sledding, mid day book browsing, a brisk solo hike to get my head back on straight and now, sweet blessing of a sunny afternoon at home, alone, during which I aim to make soup, write here and hopefully catch up with a sister. I have already done a Tasmanian devil-like dervish in the living spaces.

In some respects, I am always striving to break free of habituation. It shows up in traveling, devouring stories, expanding my palette and tending home where I am always looking to freshen the spaces, improve the flow of where and how we gather, turn out new baskets of toys or books. A bogging down quality I have noticed is in my bodily self-care, which I imagine sounds rather typical: easy food choices (read: chocolate), increasing amounts of caffeine and alcohol, a falling away of regular exercise and staying up too late in the evenings.

I am feeling dreadfully grateful for this slow, cold season that we are in. There is loneliness to this season and this piece touched on it so well, but I am reluctant to let that be encroached on much right now. Staying at home (rather than being out in the work world) means every day is loaded with potential and the shadow side looms long: “wine at lunch, why not?”, “clean all day for distraction, isn’t that all to the good?”. A lot of the days leading up to Winter Break seemed as though I was steeping myself in one distraction after another. I feel better in so many ways when I check my email once or twice a day, but the urge for instant feedback and interaction surges strong when home all day with the semi-verbal.

Habits form easily and with the new year, I try to shake them off and start anew, fresh slate-like, in that supple space we can also find after a journey, going on retreat, unplugging from the intergaze, ingesting modest amounts of psychedelics and the like. For me, for us, it is sticking to more mindful, moderate approaches to what we consume and making sure to add daily doses of fresh air, movement and connection.

Not that Now is perfect, nor do I judge anyone wrestling these same noonday demons as less than-in fact, we should talk and compare strategic notes and chocolate bars. But, there is a light filled energy to this new-year season where changes in approach and habit seem within reach and that is where I am diving in headfirst.

The housework mania in me is finally settling like water, finding the low spots, which for me is knowing the best time to get the most done and that shifts with the sun and the clock and my mood, so I am trying to honor the tidal pulls within me, as long I have this freedom to do so. There is that funny compulsion in women of my generation, it’s a cultural wave we’re riding: to get it done, to be productive, etc. (See Homeward Bound, then we can go on all day together. I’ll bring the tea). I came across the idea of giving over five minutes per room per day to tidying and I like the finite quality of this approach, but find I need many fewer rooms…

Names and labels hold weight for me and I recently revised one of mine from Stay At Home Mom to Be Outside More Mom (ahem, making me the BOMM, you see). Remembering, I am not beholden to my home and it’s ceaseless chores is darn refreshing. For me, good medicine is to be drawn out of doors again and again, connecting me to myself and to my children in a way that doing chores with boys under foot infrequently does.

This brings me back to housekeeping, which in many ways is where I began this blog account. I have been known to geek out over order, beauty, freshness and the like. It was recently reflected back at me that not too long I was “sick of touching things” (a housewife’s lament), but as I ease back into tidying my ship I am reminded that in some ways I am soothed by this work and so choose it both out of habit and from keen interest in the possibilities realized. It is, after all, concrete and immediately enjoyable in contrast with the often subterranean work of soul growth, marriage evolution and parenting young children.

And, it has arrived in my home at last, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which speaks to my minimalist soul. It is a hot trending book of the moment and the process is being well documented around the web, so I won’t add to that fray (I’m following along here at RootSimple) except to say that I am eager to implement her protocols for moving to simplicity and the falling away of constant “tidying”. In keeping with this first gear season, I will wait for that high tide housekeeping urge to come surging in before I start strewing socks, old letters and kitchen gadgets all over the floor.

For now, it’s back to the soup pot for me.

Where is your attention drawn these days?


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