I grew up, like many latch-key-kids of the 80's and 90's, with a working Mom. Monday through Thursday were working days for my Mom and for us as kids, that meant a strict schedule of getting out the door for school, afternoon snacks of our choosing, and a panicked clean through the house before we knew she'd be arriving back home. I never remember hoping that my Mom wouldn't work – it's just what was. We managed to fill our time with friends and card games and bike riding and general mayhem well enough.
But then there was Friday.
Friday was the one day of the week that my Mom didn't work outside of the home and also was a day that we still went off to school. This allowed my Mom time at home – by herself – to clean, grocery shop, help in our classrooms, and generally prepare for the weekend ahead. I'm sure for her, without question, this was the very best day of the week.
I can attest that as a working Mom myself, time alone is precious. Painfully precious.
But that's not the point.
Something happened on Fridays. I still think of it like magic. My Mom had this incredibly homemaking ability to make spaces feel fresh and tended to and beautiful and loved. She was (and still is) like those fairy Godmothers in Cinderella that go around tapping things with their wands, bringing them back to life.
That's my Mom. And that was Fridays.
Us three girls would pile into the house on Fridays knowing exactly what was coming: the strong smell of bleach from the floors, Comet from the bathroom, Tide from the laundry room, supper from the kitchen.(And if we were particularly lucky that week, cookies from the dining room table.) Fridays would mean the refrigerator would be full, the furniture would be vacuumed, the throw blankets would be folded, the scented candles would be lit, and Mom would be tired, but happy.
Fridays meant contentment. Joy. Beauty. Rest. Comfort.
In later years, when money wasn't as tight, we would go and get coffee after school on Fridays before heading to our local Blockbuster to pick out a movie for the weekend ahead (yes, kids, back when you had to rent one video at a time from a store). We called them M&M nights (mocha and movie, obviously.)
If I could bottle the feeling of Fridays as a kid, it would probably lift my heart higher than almost any other memory.
While I always appreciated what my Mom was capable of, I was never able to understand it fully until I began managing a house of my own. Tending to a home – to its major and minor needs – its positively backbreaking. (In fact, as I type this, I'm nursing a sore back after a day of cleaning the root cellar, hauling boxes up the stairs, carrying laundry all around as I washed, folded, and put it away, bending over a thousand times to tend to the kids' bedrooms, and fulfilling the farm chores.)
And there's still a stack of paperwork, bills, and receipts on the desk that still needs looked over. And about a million other things.
I'm sure my Mom had the million other things too. I'm sure she never felt as peaceful about our home as I felt as a child of our home. To me, it was perfect. To her, it was most likely a battleground of needs, wants, budgets, and challenges.
(I tell myself that to comfort myself on how my own children will remember their time here on the farm. Dear Lord, please make it a joyful memory for them!)
My Mom labored all week, both away from the home and in the home. And yet somehow, in that labor, she managed to created a home that was modest, but full. Lived in, but cared for.
I know a lot of you work away from your homes. Don't fret. You still have the ability to create a wonderful environment for your family (customized as that may be). Just like my Mama. Others of you, like me, work from home. This can also cause a severe doubt in what we're doing as we labor in our homes and in our work, never fully knowing which one to prioritize. And yet others of you, also like me, are laboring alongside your family at home. This can cause all manner of chaos! But it's okay, my friend. Rest easy. Though it will look unique for you and for your family, you have a wonderful opportunity and ability to love on your family.
You have a wonderful opportunity to fill your home with comfort, safety, love, order, rest, and beauty.
It won't be easy or permanent. In fact, you'll have to tend to it every day.
Totally. Worth. It.
Time to go clean! And maybe even bake some cookies. It's M&M night.