Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Mid-mom crisis

I just finished editing the manuscript of book a couple of Andrew's colleagues wrote. They gave me about three days to turn around a 300+ page manuscript, which ended up being a rather intense deadline because—have I mentioned?—I'm also a stay-at-home parent.

Interestingly, I've been worrying a lot about the eminent collapse of my stay-at-home empire lately. I feel like I'm entering another phase of reinvention in my life and that's somewhat scary. Although I realize I have years of "at-homing" yet to do, we—I—have a lot of changes coming up in the next few years that I need to prepare myself for.

  • I have spent the past 12+ years pregnant or nursing or both, but soon (within the next six months) I'll suddenly be doing neither. 
  • After this school year Zoë will have one more year before she begins kindergarten and then I will have only one child at home during the day. That hasn't been the case for nearly ten years.
  • Alexander is going to eventually begin school as well. 
  • ...AND THEN WHAT?!
Perhaps that doesn't sound like a huge issue for you, but this is my whole identity on the line here and I don't know what the next step is!

I do know that I'm not entirely cut out to be a housewife (I am not very good at keeping a clean house and I have no desire to stay at home cleaning and cooking and decorating and crafting and working out and (I don't really know what housewives do, okay?) while my husband and children are off filling their brains with knowledge). I'm kind of longing for some adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want to be where the people are (and, more specifically, grown up people. I want to converse with adults). 

So I'm studying for the GRE, because that's a door that might lead to a few possibilities (and it's a slow enough door that I will still be able to stay home with my babies baby and big girl,* which I love). 

But, the past few days have made me appreciate...well...me. 

As I've been neglecting my household and child-rearing responsibilities (as far as a stay-at-home parent can), I've begun to notice that what I do as a stay-at-home mom is important (whether or not anyone (including myself) notices I've done anything). I've erroneously assumed on days that I'm exhausted from "doing nothing" that I've, well, done nothing because the evidence (Exhibit A: my messy house) is rather condemning. 

However, what's actually happening is that I spend all my energy just barely keeping on top of the chaos. When I'm truly doing nothing (or little) to contribute to the running of the household, Exhibit A becomes much more...shocking. Just ask our kitchen floor.

So, this project has bolstered my esteem as a housewife—I'm not absolutely rubbish at it; I'm moderately okay-ish at it!—and has also given me more confidence about one (future) day, stepping away from this world of diapers and daycare and into a more...grown-uppy...world.

I enjoyed reading—and learning from—this book. I liked exercising my mind. I liked knowing that I was (on a very small scale) contributing to our family finances (this was a paid gig), even if it meant more post-dinner crumbs collected under the table than usual. 

I did not like powering through the process while my toddler and preschooler climbed all over me, begging for milk or stories, or pounded on the keyboard, or fought on the sidelines. It was very frustrating to work such long hours while also continuing my 24/7 job as a mother (Zoë watched quite a bit of television over the past few days), but it was fun to get a glimpse into what a version of the future could be.

Anyway, that's about been my rumination during my free time this week (which hasn't been much)—not that I don't love being a mother (because I do), I've just been thinking about how I'm going to need something to fill my days when my little ones are all out of the house (because I will).

* Zoë won't let me call her a baby anymore.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent incorporation of Disney lyrics - those are two of my favorite lines! Can't wait to see what you do next!

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  2. I tried to comment multiple times on my phone, but it kept not working, hence the delay here.

    It's fascinating to me that our journeys are flip flopped. I did the career thing and am only now starting the SAHM thing. You're doing it the other way around. And that's ok! We all have a different timeline to follow.

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