1/12th of a teaspoon. Less than half a milliliter of fluid. That’s how much honey one honeybee produces in it’s entire life. Honeybees only live a month or two. They work approximately 16 hours a day. They literally work themselves to death. They spend their entire lives working. Immediately after they come out of their cells they start cleaning the hive. They can fly up to 10 miles a day, making more than 10 trips to up to 1,000 flowers a day.
Honeycombs are made of hexagons, which uses the least amount of wax for a beautifully stackable structure. Bees don’t destroy anything to make their hives; they use whatever cavity is already there and fill it. Honeycombs are beautifully perpendicular to the earth; no matter the tilt of the object they are built in.
Honey is the perfect food. It is a natural antibiotic. It contains antioxidants. It can store indefinitely. While making honey, bees pollinate plants. Once back at the hive, they add some pollen and enzymes to the nectar and partially dehydrate it by beating their wings, blowing air on the mixture. Nectar is 80% water, and honey is no more than 18% water. Bees make almost twice the honey they need. It’s like they plan on sharing.
They only sting if they think it will help protect the hive, as they die after they sting. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we, as people, waited to “sting” each other as if it would kill us if we did? Can you imagine how that would change the world? We are so hard on each other. We can be equally hard on ourselves.
I identify with bees. With ten children, I do a fair amount of work. When I’m running children around, doing dishes, cooking, changing diapers, laundry, shopping, school and everything else, I do sometimes feel like I may be working myself to death. A 16 hour day is extremely normal. Sometimes at the end of the day if I measure what I’ve done it feels a lot like 1/12th of a teaspoon. Of course, my children do not start cleaning the second they are born; that may make a difference.
We measure ourselves. We compare ourselves with other people. We use crazy standards that are unrealistic and ridiculous. Even when we rely on our eyes or our ears, it doesn’t work out. We can see the messes, we can hear the chaos, we can anticipate the endless laundry and dishes, we know when we last showered. By measuring we are focusing on the wrong thing entirely.
It is true that what a mother does may not look like much, but it lasts forever.
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.