I’ve been clearing out my suits. Recently I went through our wardrobes, pulling out the things I will never wear again (neon orange sweater? Why?) or that no longer fit (goodbye Levi’s 501s; hello elasticated waists) (Sigh). I took a good, long look at the various suits I used to wear to work and decided that they need to go to charity. I hope to never wear a suit again.
That’s not to say I’m done with the world of work. I love developing my interests, coming up with new ideas and following them through. And like most people, we need the money. So ever since I gave up my suit-job, I have been doing things here and there to try to use my skills, learn new ones, and make an income. But I have so little time, and by the end of the day, not much energy. It’s not easy.
Lately I’ve been feeling frustrated that I can’t really ever do my best at most things I do. Tonight I burned the dinner. My yoga lessons are good: I just wish I could do a bit more to develop them. I keep getting spam from copyrighters who tell me they are finding typos on my blog, and…might I need their services? (Concise answer: nop.).
If I can’t do my best, why bother? Is the effort really worth it? Last month I had somewhat of an existential crisis about whether my work was worth doing.
Then someone said something that helped me so much and I wanted to share it with you. She said, “Homeschooling your children is your full-time job. You’re trying to do a part-time job and a full-time job.” I don’t know why I’d never thought of home educating my children as my career. After all, when my children were babies, I saw myself as a full-time mother and considered that my job. Somehow I stopped ascribing enough value to what I do, to really understanding its importance and size. Home educating my children is my main job. How could I forget?
Maybe I am actually doing my best at all of those other things. Maybe right now this is the best I can do.
There are a lot of things I don’t do so well, but I know that I am good at my career. I am good at home educating my children. That’s not to say I’m perfect, because who IS perfect at their job? Sometimes I’m not a very nice mother. I get angry, impatient, frustrated. At times I use harsh words or blurt out the first negative thing that comes mind. Sometimes I want to disappear into the only room in this house that actually has a lock on the door (the bathroom) with a bar of chocolate, and just be alone for five minutes. Sometimes I actually do that.
Being good at something doesn’t mean that you never make mistakes. It doesn’t mean that you always get results. It doesn’t mean that you’re smiling all day, every day. But when a day is going well, or even if a half hour is going well (let’s be realistic), there is that marvellous sense of flow, where effort fades away and the edges of separation between my children and me seem to blur. There is connection, mutual inspiration, learning. This is how I know that I am good at it: because most of the time it feels good, for us all.
Also, I don’t have to wear a suit. That’s a biggie.
Words and pictures © Lisa Hassan Scott 2015