One of the plainest changes that worldschooling has brought to my life is that it has shifted a considerable amount of my time and effort from the workplace to taking care of domestic responsibilities: attending to the children, the home, shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and more.
Okay, not so much the laundry. Janet still does almost all of that.
But we have organized much of the domestic responsibilities between her and I, and it’s still a lot. And it doesn’t end with the physical, as domestic caretakers are often the ones that do a disproportionate amount of emotional labor that sustain its inhabitants and smooth the interactions that turn a house a home and individuals into a community.
When I was growing up, I didn’t have a deep appreciation for the amount of domestic work that my mother did, nor of the maid that we had for some time. I took it for granted. Even as an adult, I’ve found that remembering to honor and give respect to the oodles of unseen domestic labor that people do is an ongoing work in progress.
What I’ve come to believe is this: unless one does a considerable amount of domestic labor on the regular, one doesn’t fully appreciate how much work it takes. My gratitude and respect goes to…
…my mother Pilar, who kept a home for me for so many years
…to my wife Janet, who has juggled the demands of home, a veterinarian and three children with such grace
…to my mother-in-law Nancy, who taught for so many years, raised Janet to be a wonderful person, and now attends to so much and to so many grandkids in the home we share
…to all the parents we know, who do so much for their children and still manage to find time to care for themselves and for friendship in ways that single people take for granted
…to the single parents (here’s looking at you, Amie!), who do all this on the double!
…to all of y’all with or without kids that share a home and do any kind of emotional and physical labor to care for one another in ways that are seen and unseen
…to friends who have welcomed, hosted, and cared for us in their homes in ways that make the extra work that requires seem effortless and cheerful (most recently, Colleen and Jason in Polcenigo!)
…and to women everywhere, who have shouldered an unfair and disproportionate burden of domestic and emotional labor since always.
I see you and I appreciate you.
Below: the fruits of domestic labor feeding our children a surprise treat of fresh strawberries and cake from the local market
Below: the love behind domestic labor that has an elderly man working and nurturing the the ecofarm we’re staying at in the heart of Rome
Below: the unseen moments of domestic labor that finds us a place to sleep, holds space for one another, and prepares us to face the day