I need a vacation from this summer vacation. I'm alone in the house for the first time since the last week of school. Perhaps it's too early to start on the typical stay-at-home parents' rant, but I do feel overwhelmed. And we haven't even hit the bored fighting overheated August phase yet.
So far it's been all fun - parks, playdates, fishing, Canada Day train rides, sneaking onto a friend's trampoline while they're away, bike rides, Vancouver family visit this weekend, Texas friends coming next week. So much fun that Zekiah asked today, "Since we've been going out out out so much, can we just stay home today?"
My regular all-alone times are few: 5:30-7:00 weeding, the occasional bedtime when Sarah puts them down and I escape back to the garden, and 10 minutes of caring for the animals 3 times/day. Then there's 2.5 hours four days a week when my work-from-home wife and I are working on our own projects, and the 3-4 hours after the kids go to sleep that we can either work or play.
About 142% of the above "spare time" goes into the work of running a farm as well as a household, some short-term contracts, writing this blog and magazine articles, and (these days) food preservation. The long and short of it is that there's precious little time for the rest of Me. So little that I'm going to have to think about what I would do with more off time. Let's see:
- piano, guitar
- finally getting down to writing at least one of the 3 books that are filling my brain
- yoga, exercise
- adult playdates
Quite honestly, with more time I wouldn't be meditating and communing with nature; I'd do more projects. If it weren't for my strong desire to use this afternoon to write this and take a nap, I would be working on Sarah's new downstairs office, building a kids' treefort and/or zipline, writing, building the outdoor shower, creating a new farm-based education/experience destination business, or buying Craigslist furniture for the new guest/dormer room we're planning. And spending a lot more time in the garden than I'm able to squeeze in with the kids. Those action/outcome oriented activities are what call me these days. For better or worse, I am a Do-er: happiest and most fulfilled when my hands and spirit are creating something in response to a calling.
Have I just replaced my work addiction with a home project addiction? Even if the answer is yes, it feels healthier and more grounded. I am more relaxed, more centred, and focusing my energies on projects and activities of my choosing, in which I truly believe and want to invest in.
Sarah pointed out the other day all the creative ideas I am coming up with these days, even if there's not the time to fulfill them all. That same creativity used to be almost exclusively channeled into my work, resulting in a fantastic contribution to African education and an underdevelopment of other parts of me. Now alot of that same energy and time is poured into my children, which is just as immensely rewarding, and leaves enough left over to at least be visioning other directions for myself.
The mantra I keep repeating to myself is that it doesn't have to all happen Now. This is the time to slow down, to invest in becoming a Play-at-Home Dad and farmer and writer. That's already 3 full-time identities to explore and embody and nourish. The business and books and community activism and consulting and and and... can just wait a while. Should just wait a while.
This is a time to grow inside, to dig myself back down to the roots and see what new self emerges. Then find a way to share that self with the world. I truly believe that some new and beautiful work and expression and identity will blossom if I just give myself enough time to compost and replant.
So enough of the Stay-at-Home complaining. For now I'll just be thankful for being overworked by my beautiful children and for the medley of lessons and meals from our farm, and continue gathering in the seeds of new ideas that will take root and germinate and burst up into the sunlight whenever the next Soul-Spring season comes.
Write to Renew - One of our previous graduates, the talented Jay Nahani, is leading us in a Write to Renew workshop June 14th. For writers and non-writers alike, this one-d...