It's so simple to be wise.  Just think of something stupid to say, and then don't say it.     Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Occupation As Balance

(No, not that kind of occupation.  I truly, honestly do not know how to address that topic in this forum, or with which vocabulary, and so I leave it aside).

Why I don't call my good friends more often than I do?  This evening I picked up the phone and dialed my friend N, and rediscovered how fantastic, how comforting it is to have those conversations and compare the day-to-day... The freshly-discovered gutter leak in the newly-purchased house;  the parallel laments over negligent school systems long-overdue for an over-haul;  our mutual agreement that the Obamas' extended family support system will only benefit them as a young, busy, professional couple preparing for the next busy stage in their lives... and on and on.

The conversation reaches that inevitable topic:  work, motherhood, how to do it all and keep the guilt minimal, the multi-tasking maximal, and everything in between relaxed and stable enough to keep everyones' lives together and whole and enjoyable.  

N works a much longer day than I do and gives her husband A a lot of credit for his super-husband abilities, especially in recent years, but reminds me of what it takes to reach household stability.   Sometimes one of them is down, sometimes the other.  But they know to take it in turns.  Both she and A cannot both let themselves feel drained.  

Or, as N put it, If that space is occupied in the house, then I know I can't be there... That is, she understands she has to stay upbeat and hold on to the energy level until A can get it back again, and then she can let her end drop a bit and let him pick up the slack.  

It's not always going to happen.  Within our own four walls, I know there's no guarantee that the two of us aren't going to hit some kind of simultaneous slump;  it just might happen, and it sometimes does.  We both get tired, cranky, past our peak.  Then maybe it's time, as it was last night, to just go upstairs and hang the laundry together, instead of trying to figure out whose turn it is.

Occupation as balance?  Maybe, if we can just hang on and take it in turns.  Hang in there, N.

Keep the balance,


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