Thursday, August 30, 2012

Redefining Productivity

Every night at dinner we have a little family tradition that gets the conversation rolling. We ask each other, "What did you do today that was fun?" To be honest, I don't even know how that began, but each night I look forward to the kids' answers. Lately, they've had difficulty coming up with stuff, and that has made me sad.

When I was a little kid, a productive day involved filthy bare feet and dirty hair from running around outside and swinging upside down. As I got older, priorities changed. In high school and college, a productive day involved finished school work and a successful basketball practice or workout. After college it was a solid work day and a relatively clean apartment.

These days, as a stay at home mom, I've found that my priorities and my definition of productivity have been skewed by the fact that I don't have a job. Because I don't go to work with a 9 to 5 each day, I don't feel productive unless the sink is empty, the floor is vacuumed, the laundry done, and the clutter picked up. When I don't do these things, or am unable to do all these things such as right now, post-baby, I don't feel productive at all. In fact, I feel pretty lousy about myself and what I have to offer my family.

With Elijah's homeschooling officially beginning on Tuesday, and a newborn baby in tow, I'm realizing that my definition of productivity needs to change. My children have a right to the fun that I had as a child, even if we don't have a big back yard all to ourselves. My children have a right to be able to sit at the dinner table with an endless list of things they did that were fun. Today, amidst heaps of laundry, unmade beds, dirty dishes, and endless clutter, I made a choice. Chastity asked for pig tails today, which was a daunting task given the amount of days her hair went without the proper care. I sat with her and did her hair during Word World. The kids wanted to practice using scissors. I let them cut up tiny scraps of paper until the floor was covered in shreds of blue and pink. They wanted to go to the park. I put Isaac in the sling and we turned our backs on the mess, and I watched them dig through sand, run around barefoot, and swing upside down while giggling at each other.

That was all before 1, and now, as they nap, I can't help but feel like this has been the most productive day I've had in months. As it turns out, I have a lot more to offer my family than a distracted "Wait until I'm done with fill in the blank."

When school starts next week, I must remember this feeling. I look forward to spending that quality time with them, teaching them, and molding minds. I must force myself not to freak out when people might stop by, and hope that they understand that the Greene household is well lived in and cluttered with love. =)

No comments:

Post a Comment