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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Be Home and Happy

It has taken me five years of marriage and half of that being a mother that my calling to be a home maker and a mother is not to be taken for granted and is infact a serious thing. I have written about being lonely earlier. But as time has gone by, I am suddenly struck by a realisation that I am actually lonely no more. You see, if I was/am doing my job at home properly I would hardly get time to breathe or chew or wear my coordinated churidaars (Indian pants worn with a long tunic) and trust me that wont make for a sexy sight!

 No, I am not talking about filling my schedule with mindless chores the entire time but even so I'd say, if I was/am putting in my best efforts in my everyday homemaking/parenting routine I wont have time or the energy to be 1.discontented and 2. resentful 3. lonely. I entered wedlock with the best of intentions ofcourse. Everyone does am sure. I had visions of being the ever loving and understanding wife. My recipe  journal was full of lovely south Indian stuff to be cooked for hubster. I looked forward to being his companion in the true sense. But a few months in to it and boy! I was in for a shock. I would like to clarify that my husband is extremely non-demanding. But anyhow, many things didnt go the way I had envisioned married life to be. I mean, why but why do you have to drink coffee when I make better chai-latte? And why must you insist on eating rice for all meals when I am a chapati girl? And why must you watch the news after work when clearly you can use that time to sit with me, hold my hands and look deep in to my eyes and tell me that I cook better than your mother? (Err, I am obsessed with food I think)

None of those things happened and if I were to get real it never does! It's not like I was a terribly young and a naive bride. I got hitched at the grand old age of 28! But as they say, some folks dont wanna grow up...looks like I didn't either! Over the years being married (mainly), I developed a deep sense of self-entitlement. My needs. My wants. My shopping. My outings. My friends. My lonliness. My comforts and convenience. What about me?? I had no clue that marriage by it's very nature is self sacrificial and involves loads of dying to one self. And mothering takes the cake. Although whatever I do now for my son does not feel like a sacrifice to me at least. But it is no doubt tiring and exhausting and that can be eroding physicaly if nothing else. I am diabetic and overweight. I do workout but for the longest time I never did, thus running low on energy fuel all the time leading to much impatience with life in general. It was only after I started doing something about my heath and weight loss that I realised how much I was missing in life by being sickly all the time. So yes, in a way it all started with me. If mommy ain't happy- nobody is happy. But my sense of self went much deeper and at alarming depths. And that was making me a deeply lonley and an unhappy person. It didnt seem like hubster understood much of that. As far as he is concerned, I am married to the love of my life so what's all this nonny about being lonely and restless?

About six to seven months ago, I started praying really hard for some kind of perspective on my emotional state. And slowly as days went by, the layers started peeling off. I found that my entire being and identity is connected to God and my walk with him. So while I was running restless the answer was to be still in the Lord. Just as gradually it started dawning on me that I am nowhere near fullfilling the purpose God has assigned to my life. My home and my family was to be my calling and my purpose. Everything else comes after. If my laundry for the day is not done then I really dont need to sit down with a long and a needless phone call. If dinner is not ready on time then I have no business going out for a coffee. If any of my chores for the day is not done properly and on time, then in essence I am guilty of neglecting my calling to be a wife and amother of real virtue. It is not about performance you see. The kind of person I am, I need to have order and beauty and structure to thrive on a daily basis. I think it is wonderful that God has ordained that I work this out for myself and not be at the mercy of an external agnecy to provide that stability and structure. It is so apt that I dont work outside. I would go mad because I draw great encouragement and satisfaction from a job well done. If i were hold a job, I wouldn't be doing justice to it or to my house and family. And God knew that even before I was conceieved (Psalm 139)! And that to me is very humbling. To know that each one of us are perfectly made and given assignments according to our inherent nature and personalities. So some women thrive on a profesional challenge some women like me, totally dig being home makers.

When this realisation dawned upon me that I am the CEO of my home-ministry a lot of things fell in to place. My restlesness settled down and the biggest thing of all I have learnt to prioritise and say 'no'. I used to mourn about lack of meaningful friendships/girlfriends but I also realised that in this season of my life I really cannot invest outside my house in terms of time and energy. Oh yes, I do love to hang out with people. I love to party, love to dress up and go out, love shopping and everything else out there.  I am an extrovert to the core but then this season is also about learning hard lessons. My marriage is still young and my son even younger. God willing, we will have more children some day. And the lessons learnt now will come in so handy in the years to come. Hopefuly I will have more emotional maturity, stability , a happy marriage, well groomed children and a loving home to show for it. In order to achieve even some of that I need to be STILL now and keep my ears and eyes open. If I am not able to call a friend for a long chat or if I am not able to attend a Bible study or a small house group study, or volunteer at church or go out for any random outing with a girlfriend or not be able to organise tons of playdates for Yohaan- so be it.

I know my own capabilities and how much can be accomplished by me. I am a really efficient and a fast worker but have a tendency to get overwhelmed when the workload is huge. It begins to bother me and I start obsessing over strategies to overcome. Which is what I have been up to these past few months...devising plans to be a happy home maker and becoming efficient and learning along the way. I hardly thought of blogging, and it has taken me around six months to breathe easy now. I think I can safely say that my house is running on well oiled wheels. Routines have been developed, tweeked and re-tweeked and sucessfuly implemented. Mornings, afternoons and evenings are in control. Has it been easy? Heck no! I am sinfuly lazy and keeping myelf motivated has been a challenge pretty often. But oh, I sleep better at night and I am a lot more fit than I have ever been. Thats a huge bonus apart from a happy family which is well cared for. Err, I am still hopeless with the family socks though....I dont know what happens to them and hubster has to keep buying more and more. Not funny ok? So if you guys ever wondered why do I keep disappearing for such long periods it is because I was busy building my nest and now with the new found ideas, rest and time are ever, ever out of reach. I am not complaining though just saying.

As if to affirm whatever stuff I was getting convicted of  'not doing' with  my time, energy and talents a situation arose which seems to me totally godsend. I had a maid for a few months. Loved her. She was a young muslim lady from Bangladesh. Honest, dilligent and caring about all of us and our house. But with my new self I was getting increasingly convinced that I needed to be the 'worker' at home and not hire a paid employee to do 'my' work. I have nothing against hiring domestic help. They give us tremendous comfort and convenience no doubt, leaving us rested and free to pursue many other things on our agendas. My maid was a real sweetheart but I was finding it very difficult to terminate her services. Poverty stricken and miles away from her own husband and children she needs every dirham that she can make. I also dont think she would have understood my position. So i kept delaying asking her to leave. But then God worked in His ever so funny way! She got pregnant when her husband visited her briefly and she was too sick to work. She gave in her notice and stopped coming . I am happy for her but worried too as to how will she handle her finances now. But  I was also silently thanking God for confirming it with a sign to me that my house and family has to be looked after by me - chiefly. I have decided not to hire any more help and am totally relaxed about it.

Here are some things I decided to implement in order to become more like a Titus woman i,e looking after the affairs of my home and not going around gallavanting!

1. No TV. Easy for me since I am big time anti TV anyway. I watch like 10 minutes of TV in a month maybe.

2.No ladies Bible study and No mom-toddler church meet. Once upon a time I longed to belong to such groups but am over that need for now. Maybe one day my house can be used to meet up though. Till then I shall be happy to be home.

3. Time spent on the www. A biggie for me because I love to net surf , facebook and blog hop. It had become an epic addiction. Not anymore. This also includes blogging. I have so much to share but no time to do it as often as i would like to. I did have ambitious plans for this blog but looks like it shall all have to wait....but then again if I am more organised and efficient I could sneak in a post or two, for those of you who must miss me so much. I hear you buddy, I hear you. FB takes away a lot of quality time and now except for status updates I dont stay on it for longer than 5 minutes literally! Good job eh?

4. Wake up way earlier than the rest of the members which would be hubster and Yohaan. I now wake up at 6 am everyday except saturday when I take my day off and do no cleaning or cooking. All meals are either a takeaway or we go out. I personaly love visitng IKEA for breakfast, easy on the pocket and nutritous too.  And it helps that we live very close to it. Lunch on a saturday is always a seafood fest -Kerela style(love crabs and shrimps) and dinner is always something from our family favourite Pakistani joint. Here I go on about food again.

5. Getting up early gives me a great headstart and I dont find myself running around like a headless chicken the rest of the day. Once I am up, I finish my shower and get fully dressed down to my shoes even! And yes, yes ofcourse, there is makeup carefuly applied and coordinated jewelery too! I have a lovely collection of silver stuff which I love to wear on a daily basis. It' just my small strategy to beat early morning blues and lethargy. Guess what! Many ladies in my appartment complex have actually come up to me and complimented me on my efforts and some have even told me how I inspire them to take more interest in themselves. So the new rule? No more lounging around in pajama's or sweats or God forbid a tattered nightdress all through the day. Crisp cottons are laid out the previous night, hair is oiled and washed and conditioned regularly, nails are trimmed and well groomed as are the feet, shoes are comefy but stylish, sometimes colour coordinated bangles are worn too which can be a bit of a pain while doing dishes but never mind- all for a good cause after all ! :) It makes me feel ready for the day and pretty and the best thing is that my son already notices all this and will sometimes kiss me with joy if I am looking very colourful that day! How sweet is that huh?

6. Finally, every friday we do our grocery shopping. I buy my fresh produce for the whole week ahead, including meat and poultry and sea food. As you know, weekend in this part of the middle east is fri/sat. So the next morning saturday, the only work I do is wash-chop-dice-slice-marinate. I chop and dice ALL my veggies and bag them up in ziplocs ready to be used. All the meat is portioned and marinated if required,bagged and frozen. Ginger and garlic paste is ground and stored away. Tomatoes are pureed and boxed in the fridge. I never ever buy any canned goods. I buy blocks of cheese and grate them all on saturday and box it. I also make a week's worth of some Indian chutney. I rarely run out of fresh produce. Everything has it's place in the fridge and makes taking inventory also super convenient. Throughout the week, because my menu is pre-planned, all I have to do is pull out the required bags of vegetables and meat and enjoy my cooking. This takes me about two hours in total on a saturday morning and is sooo soooo sooo totally worth it. Maybe some of you can try this. Try chopping every vegetable that is well, 'chopable'. Life will rock!

I have a lot many more strategies to make life at home productive and joyful and contented. Will share ideas as we go along. For now, I must hit publish post because I have taken the whole day to write this in bits and pieces between chores. And it is late and I have tons to do tomorow because the day after we are going to India for a week to see my mother in law. As usual, yours truly is looking forward to some major shopping in India. Now, your turn to write in a share your home making ideas with me. Ok?

1 comment:

vaidegi j said...

thats a real consolidated piece, of how youre going to go on with your life with all the enthu and determination. liked it. wish i follow up mine too, and take some of your ideas too.