Friday, March 14, 2014

Mere Au Foyer??

Earlier this week I blogged about our family's new routine. What I didn't write about is how I actually spend those precious hours between school drop off and pick up. I've been thinking about this a lot over the past couple of days and am not sure how I feel about what I came up with......

Perhaps I eat bon-bons all day? Growing up in a community where it felt as though my mother was one of the only ones who worked outside of the home, I longed for her to be a stay at home mom and eat bon-bons all day. In my oh so naive child's way of thinking, that is what I thought mothers did all day while their kids were in school. As I got older, I realized that rarely is that the case.

So what do I do in my six hours (which really isn't as much time as it sounds)? Unfortunately, I'm not as productive as I like to think I am. I check my email to see what transpired while I was asleep and I try to carve out a small amount of time each morning to blog because writing is very important to me. Sometimes it happens while other times it doesn't. While I'm at it I might read another writer's blog or two and before I log off I check out Facebook, Pinterest, and other Internet vices. But I set strict computer limits for myself since it would be all too easy to get sucked into the world wide web while the day passes me by. We are still settling in so each day I make an attempt to sort through a box or two. Sometimes I find that misplaced item I was searching for and other times I find myself wondering why we had bothered to pack this stuff in the first place. And as is the case whenever we are settling into a new house, I find myself needing to make one to many trips to the local hardware store to get picture hooks, mops, transformers, or any of a million other things. (Because I am unfamiliar with Belgian retail stores, just finding the right store and getting there can be a day long project unto itself!). Now that we are home each evening I need to actually cook each evening and with a microscopic pantry and European sized refrigerator I'm finding myself at the grocery store on an almost daily basis. In the wake of my time in Albania I am fascinated by the variety of items I can find in the store; this leads to spending too long roaming the aisles and browsing the shelves. But much to my delight it appears that I can find everything I could ever want and then some on a single shopping trip. And of course there is the dreaded cleaning of the house. On the best of days I am not a stellar housekeeper but after three years of having the luxury of a housekeeper the responsibility is now back on me and I must say that I'm not enjoying it. With the amount of dust that accumulates in this house, keeping it clean could be a full time job. I am almost relieved when my six hours of "freedom" are up and I must return to school to brave the carpooling masses.

In re-reading what I just wrote my routine sounds so boring and perhaps, at the moment it is. But things are looking up. I realize that I am lucky to be living in a place where there is so much to see and do so my goal over the coming months is to establish a more exciting, intellectually stimulating routine. Having moved here during the off season we arrived after so many of the military organized classes--language, art, dance, exercise, etc. had already started their spring sessions. And there are other programs and events whose hours just don't work within my drop off and pick up parameters. But that doesn't mean all is lost. While I wasn't able to take advantage of many of these classes right away when the next sessions start up I will be right there. Plus I have the whole of Mons, Belgium, and Europe at my doorstep. There are museums to explore, historic sites to visit, and the local culture to get to know. I just need to get out and see it all.

But for better or worse, like it or not, this is my new routine at the moment. After years of fighting it, looking down upon, and eschewing the title, in reality I am now a stay at home mom. Some people fully embrace the position but I'm honestly not sure if I do (or can). Does this position fulfill me? Not entirely. (I am however, digging my low maintenance and comfortable style). Do I long for more intellectual stimulation? Absolutely (although trying to decipher French labels does make my head hurt on many days). Will I be able to keep this up for three years? Only time will tell. But I have a plan and like any good planner I will implement it. But as I am in Belgium, after all, perhaps I should use this opportunity to eat a bon-bon or two. At the moment, it is either that or clean the house!


  1. I smiled as I read I felt exactly the same way when we first moved to France...It was really hard checking that box on forms "au foyer"- not quite sure why - but it just didn't seem to fit who I saw myself to be..especially after working full time for almost 20 years. I also laughed when you talk about time at a new "foreign" grocery store - I think it was months before my shopping routine was cut from 2 hours to an hour in the store..labels, names, location - all took time to learn - and then try same scenario in a different grocery store because it's convenient - I could be out of the house the whole day!! It does take time to adjust - I know I still feel like we are adjusting - but I can say it's better now - 2.5 years in. Have a good weekend!

  2. I enjoyed your post! I remember how I felt when we moved to Mexico. I love adventure!