Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
— Roald Dahl
Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.
— C.S. Lewis
February has been a gift. I’ve surrendered myself to the mundane— stopped making lists, stopped holding myself to daily word counts, and stopped even remotely trying to be efficient. I intentionally unschedule each day. I allow time for meandering walks through the snow. Long meals eaten slowly. Reading books. This month, I’m a consumer, not a creator. No pressure to produce.
The Bear still wakes up twice at night, but in the morning, I get about a half-hour face-down pillow-time while the sisters play with him. Leena is especially reliable, nurturing, and attentive. I get far more done when the girls are at home. We’ve been skipping Fridays at school (oh, it’s terrible, I know) to get started on the weekends early. A nasty habit we’ll have to break in the spring. But right now, I consider these “skip days” highly necessary winter mental health days, both for the girls and for me. Treats for the psyche.
These three fill the house with so much energy, purpose, and joy. I get swept along in playtime until I remember “oh! I should prepare a meal for us to eat!” or “oh! I should start the laundry before we go out, and then the load will be ready for the dryer when we get back!” I feel so lucky to live in Quebec, where I’m afforded a year’s paid maternity leave. Being American, it seems like some kind of suspicious and miraculous trick. Any minute, the auto-deposits into the bank account might stop. I’m astonished but finally accepting the fact that I inhabit a society that acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. The importance of women’s work in the home. The importance of nurturing young children. Happy homes build happy societies. This is such a special, privileged time that I get to be here at home, pulling people places in a sled, taking it easy, making sure that each day, I am the mother I want them to remember.