Seasonal Work: Stay-At-Home
I am no longer on sabbatical. But I also don't know what to call myself. I freelance on art projects, web design tutor, design projects, and web design. But my main focus is on homeschool and my creative universe. Right, now I am going to use the title "stay at home" mom. Before my sabbatical, I thought to be a "stay at home" mom; you had to be privileged. But walking in this community for almost a year has taught me that that assumption is not valid. I know about 25 women from one child to five children that live very well without a substantial income (many with partners that are artists or choose a life balance over salary). And you'd never know the difference. They live mostly on the East coast. They range in racial backgrounds. They have beautiful homes full of homemade wooden structures, gorgeous garments, clay mugs, and art on their walls. Their homes are usually tidy, because of their minimalist approach to spending. Although neat, the living spaces are lived in, cozy, and traces of children are in every crevice exists. All, but maybe three, have one car. Many home school their children, and so trips are on public transportation or "daddy pick up" is a part of their daily rhythm. The mamas and babies dress well. Learning how to be creative with mix and match or know the exact times to hit the Good Will (or actual bargain shopping). They send out free fun events - ears are always to the streets. And know how to make magic out of beans and lentils. They have this art of shopping at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the markets where they eat sustainably, fair trade, and healthy while keeping their grocery bill unfathomably low. I still haven't mastered that. Reusing is not a word but a lifestyle. They have contentment that boggles me. And work/ talent trade is a beautiful communal exchange. "I'll re-twist your locks - you crochet the blanket?" or "My hubby will build your wooden play-set, as you watch my children. I'm going to give myself a spa day full of essential oils, herbs, and homemade elixirs." Their skills are crazy unique, and plentiful. And their knowledge full range. I've learned so much, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this community of women. On this journey, I've had moments of struggling with finding my identity. For so long, it rested in my jobs. I had such a sense of pride and accomplishment, saying what I did because, in many ways, it told a story of academic success and achievement. When I say "stay at home," mom - no one knows my story. There is such a broad range of "SAHM"s. But these women have shown me that there is so much complexity within the community. In essence, they are artists, teachers, advocates, health and wellness coaches, writers, chefs, political powerhouses, activists, chemists, psychologists, designers, producers, and entrepreneurs.