I suppose it didn't take long to write my book but it seemed to drag on at times and certainly gave me cause to think about how I usually spend my days. I still do a bit of freelance writing when it comes my way but the majority of my time is spent as a homemaker. When I first gave up paid work, I wanted to close the world out, spend time in the garden collecting eggs, vegetables and flowers and along with that, I hoped to renew my spirit. I needed to do it; I was on the verge of being burnt out.
I thought the garden and the chooks would help me recover from spending years in the workforce and shopping malls, and of course they did. What I didn't expect was the charm and pleasure I found in ordinary domestic work. Sweeping the floor, making beds, baking bread, making soap, mending and knitting slowed me down and revealed to me that being the kind housewife I became was exactly what I needed to strengthen and save me.
I guess I am what most people would call an old fashioned housewife, but what I'm doing, the way I do my day to day tasks, isn't old fashioned to me, it's how I was taught and what I saw everyday as I was growing up. I was born in 1948 so I was a child during the 50s and a teenager and a young 20-something in the 1960s. All through those formative years I saw the women around me washing up at the sink, hanging clothes in the sun to dry, mending clothes, walking to the shops to collect fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and milk each day. What I am doing was imprinted on me all those years ago, every day I am thankful for the knowledge it gave me and I see no need to modernise.
I've grown used to the workings of a simple home - the baking, cooking, sewing, gardening and mending. When I didn't have the time to do it all while I was writing, I felt deprived and a bit empty. I don't think anyone should be defined by their job, but I know I am what I do. I am a housewife. I keep house, I volunteer, with Hanno's help, we make as much as we can to support this life we live, and we are not deminshed by that, we are enriched and energised by it.
I worked in the community yesterday but today I'll be working here, along side Hanno, doing the things I missed during the past few months. I can't tell you exactly what it is I missed - what part of it or what particular task - I missed IT, the entire thing, doing my house work, which usually started by writing a blog post and sending it out to you. So here I am, back, ready to continue on, open to everything that comes our way and very grateful that soon our family will grow and, once again, the cycle will continue.
Addition: The book is called Down to Earth and will be published by Penguin early 2012.