Someone was telling me last week that there is a new study out suggesting that being a Stay At Home Mom is the most stressful job there is - at least in part because it is the only job you don't really have the option of quitting.
So, as one of those Stay At Home Moms, there are things I do with my own time to counter the beautiful chaos that is raising children, and to feed my soul. For the last year I have been moving my body, I socialize, I make things, I write, and lately, I have become an Audiobook Queen. With moderation, audiobooks are the most wonderful invention in the world. The physical pain of running and the tedium of washing dishes and cleaning a house are made sweet by the experience of listening to good literature as I work.
But literature + socializing may be the very best way to enjoy good writing. Years ago I joined a book club with friends who are sometimes very alike, and sometimes very different than myself, and since we rotate assigning books each month, we have read things we might not have reached for on our own. This month my friend Chelsea assigned "The School of Essential Ingredients" and, inspired by the book's story of a cooking school, she planned a night for us to cook and eat together, which we did, happily, until midnight. Do you know the last time I had a meal that took three hours to get through, simply because I ate slowly, and conversed with friends, and savored the work and art of my hands? All of us are moms and loved the pace of our meal together, so different from our day to day lives.
At the end of the night not one piece of Chelsea's grandmother's china had been broken, although a piece of stemware had toppled over (unhurt) when a sentence was punctuated with a wild gesticulation. The book we discussed was about the power of food and senses, and the way that cooking together can create warmth and community, and as I drove away that night, I felt like we had achieved just that - such warmth and community. In my life there are a few things that make me feel very rich, and these kind of evenings are richness of the best variety.