If some people are not really fancy the idea or the fact, I don’t mind growing old. In fact, I love it. I love this period better than ten years ago. Growing old makes everything more simple, when it comes to other people. Simple, not easier. I am getting more comfortable with myself, with what I think more important for me and care very much less about what others think. Growing old makes me more relax about things that are not in my control yet more conscious about what happens daily.
I am more comfortable with ‘Bu’ and ‘Mam’ than any other greetings from strangers. I don’t mind people knowing my real age. Even when people asked about what I do, I will clearly say it without hesitation.
When I was in London, ‘parent’ is considered a job and has a specific box to tick in any forms I fill.
Funnily, being what I am now, doing what I am now, it is a situation that I consciously wrote sixteen years ago in entrepreneurship class back in college. At that time, we were asked to make a dream board and dream book. At that time, I had my three big dreams in my mind already. I knew what I want to pursue after college. Although, I totally had no clue what, when, and how long it took to complete all those three.
When the third and longest one completed five years ago, I didn’t know it would feel so empty. Not knowing what to pursue is scarier than facing all the obstacles in pursuing something.
But, fortunately, the ‘what’s next’ question that kept disturbing the night sleep finally found the answer as written here. Up until now, we’re still trying to survive to get through this pandemic safely. Hopefully.
When I thought life couldn’t be more full of surprises, it came with even a bigger one, as big as London for the third time. As I boringly have written this thousands times, how 15 months in London were a life changing event, without I realized, it also ticked two items that I once wrote in the dream board and book many years ago.
The crazier thing, it was granted exactly as written. I was ‘retired’ from my 15 years job at 35 and the only title left is the one with which is written in red.
When many people considered such job is less-valued, less important, and totally not flashy, I had been observing for a long time that this one, just like any other jobs, is something which could make so much difference in one’s life, if it’s done whole-heartedly. In fact, this one is what makes one’s life keep running well. It is as well important and could be as fulfilling as any other jobs. It doesn’t matter about the gender.
Without someone in charge with all the house chores and home affairs, no one could function well outside. It’s either hiring someone to do it or we have to manage to do it ourselves. During master degree abroad period, I could stay till midnight happily working on my assignments, but always felt so pressured looking at a pile of dirty laundry in the corner. I could read pages of papers, journals, fixing power point for hours excitedly, yet, felt so anxious when it came to weekly meal-plan. It drained my brain to arrange what to cook and what to eat more than to deal and had presentation in front of a killer professor. No wonder, I lost my weight a lot during that period. Below 40 kg was the lowest that I could have in history.
Moving to London became the period where I had to deal with all the house chores on my own. Although most of main house chores are not new for me, but, it was the first time that I had to deal with them, with very minimal helps available, while taking care the other two members. My two biggest worries : how could I survive with cooking and laundry since I had been outsourcing these two for almost a whole life?
As always, most worries only happened in our head. There’s nothing we couldn’t do if it is the only way that we should do to survive.
Since London days and being a full time house manager and spend most time at home, for a big picture, instead of suffocating, most part of it feel liberating. It gave me more time and chance to be focused on important things that I missed before. One of the most rewarding ones how it changed the dynamics of daily habits done with the little girl. How a little bit of time spent working on things that we have never been done before could improve thing that we had been trying hard to fix for years. Like how learning and practicing piano and Quran daily 7 days a week without excuse has significant impact on little girls’s speaking, confidence, and if I may say, happiness.
When previously I arranged my home duties according to my work schedules outside, since London days until now, I have done the opposite way. My activity outside should be done accordingly to my at home duties. Because now, the outside one is negotiable but the inside ones are surely not. Thus, In London, my kind of week would be like fasting Monday for groceries, Tuesday for library and cooking day, Wednesday for volunteering in Little Village, fasting Thursday for house cleaning and Friday for my solo or date tourist day.
Returned to Jakarta, with current pandemic situation, choosing our activities outside is tricky and should be done carefully. Since we’re currently doing unschooling within the interval between the end of London days and new school year next month, staying at home becomes the only best choice to do.
Although returned to Jakarta means more helps are available, I am no longer the same me that want to outsource things that I did before. Although it’s far from perfect, not depending on others for doing the house chores daily is more preferable. We have no nanny or helper and deal with the tasks together, including the little girl. She deals with her own dishes daily and her own laundry twice a week. A must thing to do is : we simplify.
When people said staying at home means nothing to do, it must be because they never really stay at home for a long period. When someone work outside, they go because they’re paid to do the job and must do it, but it doesn’t work the same for this job. There’s no obligation you have to do what, how and when, it’s all up to you.
It’s all up to you what kind of day you want to spend and create for your child, what kind of food you want to serve, what kind of schedule you want to follow, you have all the freedom to decide. For some people, it could be a disaster. For me, that’s a blessing.
Being at home makes me much more discipline than I had been before. It makes me more conscious for not ruining the day and let my self being controlled by this leisure time.
It allows me to apply many things that I picture inside. Morning becomes the most important period of the day and more than half of our compulsory schedules are done before 12 pm and start as early before 5 am. Being at home allows me having four school days as once written in one of the posts last year. Doing daily schedule consist of Iqro, Quran, math, piano, reading and writing religiously seven days a week without rushing, arranging afternoon classes, and many more. Even in piano, we really go extra miles with two sessions of daily practices and four other classes with teachers. There’s no way I could do this years ago, in terms of time and energy.
Being at home makes me understand that clear sink and clean floor are the compulsory requirements before 9 am. The earlier, the better. Because only when those two are taken care of, I could start to be functioned well.
Being at home allows us to have a sudden plan outside like to go to the park, visiting my dad’s house or simply just going to ice cream shop or swimming downstairs.
I also have proper time to deal with the house chores that I don’t really fancy like meal planning and laundry. Only those who are in charge in daily meal planning will understand how tough it is to arrange this task. More people, more headache. I take certain hours to sit and think to decide what food should be served and cooked for a whole week. My meal planning is not only about what food to serve, but down to which food for when (or for who when dealing with the leftovers) considering the other people schedule for that day. Not only that, it goes deeper to have at least a back up plan if something happens. Last minutes changes happen a lot.
The whole house affairs and houseworks are as well taxing, if it’s not more, than the job done outside.
However, when it is managed well, and I certainly take this one seriously, this job allows me to have proper time to take care my self daily more than I did years ago. As one of this pandemic’s blessing in disguises, it’s been more than a year that I have no compromise and excuse for daily exercise, even during holiday. Reading daily also becomes my sanity.
When I chose to do volunteering in London, here, I decided to return to the class that I enjoyed a lot years ago since last January. It’s been six months since I returned to a class that I took during my 20s.
Restarting this class from the very beginning, although the lessons are pretty much the same, but, the whole experience is entirely different. Facing new way of learning, the technology, it’s been thrilling. This class becomes my happy place five times a week among other daily routines at home. Doing things happily turned out to contribute a lot to satisfying result.
Again, I am truly conscious how much privileged I am and we are to be able to make such choices during this pandemic. To be able to stay at home without worrying how to pay the bill means a lot during this pandemic. Thus, there’s nothing I want to take it for granted, especially the chance and the time which I could spend according to my will, doing things I like, with and for the ones that matter.
Thirteen years ago, I was one of the youngest students in the classroom. But now, I am the oldest one with quite significant age differences with the other. Even quite much older than the teacher. If years ago I had few jobs to describe, now whenever it’s time for introduction, I chose only something that described me most.
For the past six months, whenever it’s time for introduction and qu’est-ce que vous faites related questions, I replied with clear voice :
“Je suis femme au foyer”.
I’ll keep such answer for a while, living the dream life that I wrote half-conscious half mindlessly sixteen years ago, as long as it needs to be, while enjoying daily morning blessing below.