Musings Over Tea

Everyone should have three marriages, even if it’s to the same person. (#MMead)

It’s almost as if I did not what I was doing when I entered marriage and child rearing with near simultaneity.

Listening to Helen Fischer and Krista Tippet’s recent conversation, there was resonance with my experience of romantic relationship, when they spoke of the temporary insanity of lust: as a species, we will do anything, foregoing eating, sleeping, friends, family, home to be with the person we are desiring. Say true. And this too, how would a family function if the parents were still chasing each other around the dinner table every night while the kids waited for dinner…indeed.

My marriage is swiftly approaching its seven-year anniversary and I have an itch to sweep out the cobwebs of our accumulated habits, burn the smudge stick again and step into this next phase together and intentionally. The first chapter has been dominated by adjusting to parenthood while testing out new career paths and searching for a place that feels like home. While our hands are still weaving those threads every day, we are ready to start digging deeper into our careers and forging a deeper connection with our community.

When brewing tea, I open my cabinet and see so many mugs (4 sets, many oddballs) and think how I’d like to have a few beautiful mugs, handmade by friends, carefully set on the shelves and empty space around them. I am going to check my privilege here and acknowledge that I am grateful to have a home with such problems as too many mugs.

I am favoring open spaces, a few elegant choices and everything in its proper place. What does this point towards, I wonder. My hands enjoy finding two objects on the counter that need to be put away and scooping them up together.

This type of behavior does become problematic as a parent when I enter the whizzing around, tidying at lightening speed phase, my toddler will chase me down and attempt to hand me objects that he has picked up which won’t fit well in my full hands.

I have been drinking more tea, less coffee. That helps. I aim to treat my home like ikebana.

Cleared horizontal spaces (floor, counter, shelf) give me peace of mind. Dust free corners, edges and floors in general give me liberty to dance, roll on the floor with my boys or unfurl my yoga mat.

I have taken to heart Marie Kondo’s advice to store things vertically rather than stacking, it’s a very satisfying method of creating space. I even got wild one afternoon and stored my laptop thusly alongside some notebooks, and enjoyed the clear expanse of desktop rarely seen.

Looking at the mug collection, I finally got it: this is what women are planning for when they create bridal registries, something I obstinately refused to entertain doing.  Though, I do not think that on the threshold of marriage, I would have been able to see what it is I see so clearly now. The aesthetics are aligned, but I imagine if I had gone picking and choosing my way around the internet, the noise of our culture and it’s proliferation of disposable goods would have drowned out my good, calm sensibility in homemaking. that is currently arising. Perhaps, if we had made an appointment at Sears, Roebuck & Co., it would have been a different experience.

I fear that I am showing my age, but this excess of choice is quite deafening to me.

Then, there are the toys. They seem to grow up out of the woodwork and I take the gleanings out of circulation to too many holding places. When I’ve been home and feeling productive in my attempts to clean out, organize and freshen our living spaces, there is usually a pile of evidence; all over the kitchen counter, my desk or the guest bed showing the fruits of my labor that still need to be dealt with. So, they got shoved in various out of sight places to be dealt with in the next round of organizing.

A research idea for my hypothetical PhD in Anthropology would be a survey of what falls from the dryer after failing to empty out the pockets of the kids’ clothing before washing. There would be the gender lens, the age lens, the culture lens, the socioeconomic status lens, the educational background lens and on. I can see the images now, Instagram would eat it up, as would a scholarly journal, I am quite sure.

Along these lines, you know your child is immersed in Waldorf culture if he is sneaking sandpaper to school in his coat pocket…in case he finds a piece of wood that he wants to sand on the playground. Recently, he made a fine job of a wooden dagger.

Housekeeping poll:

What regular and seasonal tasks around the house are most enjoyable to you?

Which tasks do you avoid or put off entirely?

How have you learned to tend your space? Were you instructed, a student of method, or have you invented it as you go along?


2 thoughts on “Musings Over Tea

  1. He Dev. I’ve always enjoyed vacuuming, with a good vacuum. Nothing more satisfying than hearing all the miscellaneous remnants of your day get sucked up in the vac. I love the lines in the carpet the vacuum leaves, it’s the little things sometimes that make a ‘chore’ enjoyable. and you may remember from last spring, folding freshly cleaned laundry and returning it to it’s dresser is a task I also don’t mind doing. Some hate vacuuming and laundry, not me. I really don’t like emptying the dishwasher and dusting. All in all I’d rather be outside “pulling weeds” as Grandpa used to say than inside cleaning house. And I, and I believe most, definitely used the invented as you go ever changing method to tend our space. As the space and occupants evolved, the methods did the same.

    1. Hi Aunt Cathy! It’s fun to find you here, thanks for sharing some of your inner life as it relates to keeping house. I’m all about pulling weeds these days. We have been having weekly snow that melts fast and I call it weed pulling weather because those suckers are tenacious when the dirt is solid dry. Also, Liam’s become my go-to vacuumer which is pretty great. And, I didn’t realized vacuum had two “u”s until just now. Cheers!

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