I have a confession to make. I love days when we have nowhere to go, no place to be, and no reason to leave the house. I get to enjoy a tidy house, bake bread, read a book or watch a movie, catch up on laundry, go for a long walk with the dog and, if the weather allows it, putter around outside exploring and studying the property. I get to indulge my inner domestic homesteader wife. The kids enjoy it, too. They always cheer when I say we aren’t going anywhere today. Yes, they enjoy their classes and activities, but they seem – like me – to really treasure those quiet days at home.
Yet I constantly struggle with the nagging feeling inside me that somehow enjoying these days makes me “lazy” and that I should make sure I don’t have too many of them, lest I be guilty of self-indulgence and indolence. It’s not as if I do nothing on those days. I clean house, I bake bread, I cook meals from scratch. But I also play with the kids, go for long walks with the dog, and if the weather is nice I go outside and meander around the property, gardening or doing small chores or just observing. I also spend time on the computer, take afternoon tea breaks to read a favorite book or watch a short film, and generally get as much done as I have the energy to do and nothing more.
I also hear nagging voices that say my kids should be “doing” something, that 2 or 3 days spent at home are somehow depriving them of experiences they require to grow and be healthy. A day spent in pajamas smacks of neglect in some way, as if the only activities of value require being dressed in street clothes. Of course they do get out regularly, engage in various activities with other people, and learn lots each and every day. But it’s also true that we enjoy many more unstructured free days than most people in our society. Of course, I make having such days a priority despite the nagging guilt factor. Because ultimately I recognize how good they are for us, relaxing and revitalizing both mind and spirit. So while I do feel a nagging sense of guilt, I am mostly just immensely grateful to have and enjoy these quiet days at home.