I was talking to a friend (she is also a "Retro Feminist") this morning at my mom's group about how we are measured in our society on our productivity. The first thing we ask people is "how are you DOING?", "what are you DOING?", "DONE anything new lately?". It is interesting to think in these terms becuase we are expected to have something on the go at all hours of the day with a break only to sleep so we can re engergize to DO some more tommorow. The success of our days is measured through the achomplishments that can be tallied at the end. In raising children this is a difficult to do. Today for instance I sang dozens of off key songs to Ben, I hugged him, kissed him, tickled him, laughed with him and corrected his behaviour. I brought him to a preschool program for toddlers where I met with my mom's group and then learned about developing literacy though play. We came home for lunch and I talked to him while we ate. After we read some books and played with his farm he had a nap, now I am writting this blog. I am tired as I write this from having done so much. If someone were to walk around my house however, this morning and again at the end of the day to calculate my productivity level on this particular day that is like most others I would probably score on a negative level as a homemaker and a mother. The dishwasher will likely still need emptied, a dark load will still be on the laundry room floor and I will be struggling to get dinner on the table while Ben whines at my knees in his dirty shirt with a runny nose to be picked up.
When my day is full of little moments I am trying to make meaningful it is difficult to calculate my productivity. How much nurturing did I provide today? What is a satisfactory level, what did I teach and how much did he absorb, How much did he benefit from my efforts today? There is unfortunatly no fairy god mother of mothers who comes around each night to stick a gold star on our foreheads after a day well done.
Because we as homemakers and mothers cannot measure in a exact amounts our productivity levels at the end of each day even though we are DOING all day long we can easily feel defeated. It is very difficult to stay motivated and inspired when the result at the end of the day is a mountain of dirty laundry that you are too exchausted to tackle....
The workload of motherhood then cannot be measured in a way that society as a whole finds acceptable. It is not a tangable or immediate accomplishment but a series of small success's. At the end of years of determination, nurturing, selflessness and hard work the measure is in the person in front of you, hopefully a thinking, feeling, knowledgeble and contributing memeber of society you can hold out in front of you with pride and say "THIS is what I did today!"