Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Toilet Door

I think I've had a lightbulb moment this week. And I am just on the cusp of being able to put it into words.
I think it started about 3 years ago when the beautiful baby I'd always wanted turned out not to be the experience I'd always imagined. I didn't expect to be bored. And not the kind of bored where you have nothing to do but the kind where you have lots to do and none of it is what you want to be doing. I had a 'rule book' I'd been given that I was following but he wasn't. Every week I'd turn up to new mums group trying to look like I had it together, that I was enjoying this. But I also came empty handed. How did they all have time to bake? To sew? To make it to the cafe with a nappy bag that was actually full and useful. I was just getting my head around having time to eat.

Then I went back to uni. Ahhh.. I thought. I know how to do this. And I did it very well. I studied post-war women and the books that taught them how to raise their children, find satisfaction in their homes, make love to their husbands, wash, iron, cook and clean, and all in high heels.
And it started me thinking, maybe this idea of the perfect homemaker wife didn't start in Bible times (an idea which gave it some credibility to me) but in my grandmother's times. Maybe we (Tim and I) could decide, in light of our preferences and values, how we wanted our life to work. But what did that mean now that I couldn't press rewind or sell him on eBay?
It sounds awful, but it's really how I felt. My preference was not to be washing, feeding, changing, washing all day, but my values included feeling uncomfortable with putting him in full time daycare. I was stuck. Don't get me wrong, I liked him, he was cute. It was just the job that I felt I didn't choose.
Exciting toys (vacuum cleaner included) are left behind
to seek out the exciting cords hidden behind the fridge.

Fast forward to the week I wrote about in my last post: 2 kids, bad back, busy husband. How is this possibly worth it, I asked myself. And then I remembered some of the things that made it. It started a bit of a process of rethinking what I'd been blogging about, how I'd been seeing things.
Then we travelled down to chilly Victoria last week for a rich, people-filled, kids-not-sleeping type holiday. We visited the kind of people who have quotes on their toilet door. The kind who don't have a TV in their living room. Who drink tea and find beautiful things in op shops and apologise for the mess (but their house doesn't feel messy, it just feels warm).
One of the quotes on the toilet door was by C.S. Lewis, one of my favourite authors. It said, "If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."
It's pretty heavy, I know. And probably doesn't seem to relate, but it reminded me of a saying by an ancient Jewish prophet who said something along the lines of, "If you want to save your life, you'll lose it. But those who lose their life for something bigger than themselves will find it."
Roses from my thoughtful, generous friends.

And that started me thinking that maybe 6 months (or 20+ years) of sleepless nights and days lying on the couch and trips to the emergency ward at 2am for an asthma attack, to create a whole, new person might be worth it. And that as I learn to let go of my agenda, I'll be able to see something beautiful (in me and around me) I might otherwise have missed.
Do you agree?


  1. Beautiful thoughts... Its the kind of beauty that sunrises are made of after you've struggled to get out of bed. Thanks.

  2. It's getting rid of the "shoulds" and enjoying the journey! Yes I agree!

  3. PS: I do wonder if you had said how you felt at the Mum's group, if there would have been a big sigh of agreement!


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