Just spent a couple of days on the beach with my in-laws; now we’re in the bush with my parents! Aidan is away again with work, another five weeks, although with all the visitors and visits the time is flying past!
Having a lovely time, sharing the load with the kids, getting a bit of rest.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a cold, conjunctivitis, an ear infection, and some bizarre unidentified rash all over my neck and shoulders. It’s all cleared up now except for the ear, which is irritating me no end! I’m pretty sure the infection is gone; I was on antibiotics for a week and the pain has gone. But I’m left with the feeling that somebody’s stuffed cotton wool into my ear and won’t let me take it out. It feels blocked, and sound is muffled. Sometimes I’m nearly sure the blockage is about to come out, and I shake my head around like a lunatic to dislodge it, but to no avail. I think I’ll have to go back to the doctor for this one.
If I were feeling particularly cruel, I could post a picture of my eye. Apparently rubbing at your eye too much – which one does when one has pinkeye – can burst blood vessels and you end up looking rather demonic. But it’s not pleasant to look upon, and so I shall not post it here. If you’re a sucker for punishment, you can click here to see it! (It got worse than that, but I didn’t take any more photos.)
In a quick aside, I should note that today I finally bought some “food rings” to use for making crumpets, muffins, and so on. Egg rings are tolerable only for so long; I needed something taller! Most of my creations rise up above the egg rings and spill out. Oh, and the lady who sold them to me, coincidentally, also can’t eat gluten! I’m finding us all over the place. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I still half-expect a “What?” response when I say I can’t eat gluten. Instead I get, “Oh, me too!” or, “My sister/friend/mother/neighbour can’t either!” It is becoming more and more common, which is great because increased demand increases supply! It’s simultaneously becoming easier and cheaper to eat gluten free foods.
I’m going to try a new bread recipe either this afternoon or tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I bought everything I need for it today – I’ve never needed citric acid before, I wasn’t even sure where to get it, but it was easily found in the baking section of the supermarket. Anyway, if it turns out well, I’ll blog it.
Again and again I see people assert that being a stay at home mum is a lifestyle choice, not a job. It only leaves me wondering why it can’t be both. As I see it, most jobs, careers, and workplaces are chosen with a degree of lifestyle in mind. You wouldn’t take a job that was incompatible with your lifestyle, and you would be more likely to want to work in a place which holds similar values to yourself and, hopefully, a place where you can be yourself and enjoy being there. Is that not a lifestyle choice? I fail to see why we need to draw stark distinctions between things which in truth are similar, related, or intertwined. I chose to be a stay at home mum, and I like it. I feel no regret. But I also acknowledge that it is work, a job. Like any job, it has ups and downs, good and bad bits. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, and sometimes it does. Believe me, I didn’t want to be awake at 2am this morning, but that’s part of the job and part of the lifestyle.
I also feel that claiming motherhood, or being a stay at home mum, is not a job somehow devalues what we do. “It’s only a lifestyle” belittles it and overlooks the effort we put in. It might be a lifestyle, but there’s no mansion or pool or eternal sunshine; instead there are midnight feeds, dirty nappies, and tantrums.
For 2,500 years, humans have been trying to formulate ideas about how we should live, what constitutes a good liife, and how happiness may be reached. We have considered material goods, the pursuit of duty, the application of pure rational thought, resignation, and a variety of other methods to reach a good life, as well as endless combinations of these ideas. We hope always to improve our lives and to become better people. But after 2,500 years, can we be said to have improved, to be happier? When one reads ancient letters, journals, and essays, one finds very much the same concerns and activities as those which occupy us now. What, then, is the purpose or point of philosophy? Is there one? Sometimes I feel that the point is to make the philosopher feel smarter or better than the general populace. It seems very much a pursuit for the benefit of an individual rather than society. In the 300s BCE, Epicurus told us that happiness could be attained with friendship, freedom, and thought, and that we habitually and needlessly purchased expensive goods to satisfy the needs of our souls; modern corporations still use this habit against us. In the first century CE, many Roman orators and writers described politics as being more about personal glory than the greater good; this appears to continue as it was. In the 1500s, Montaigne made similar observations about education as might be made today: that it teaches fact without teaching understanding, what to think but not how to think. Socrates himself told us to question every presumption, to apply logic and rational thought in all matters, and that a view held by a figure of authority or by a majority or for a very long time is not necessarily correct simply because of that fact. When you look around and see what we have done with such wisdom, one might be forgiven for taking Schopenhaur’s grim view of the world!