While I may have had many daydreams throughout my life about being a full-time stay-at-home Mommy, I always knew this was not the role for me.
I do wish I had more time with my kids when they were little and I did get 18 months at home around the time my third child was born. They were glorious days and I was fully focused on being a great Mommy.
I loved those days and certainly long for them as I watch my boys grow into men.
As the years passed I grew accustomed to the balancing act of full-time career and mother and did the best I could at home with the time I had. I have my regrets over the time I’ve lost with my children, but my life choices were clear.
Now, with three teens and no employment, I find myself, for the first time in my life, challenged by this role.
Part of me is embracing this time because it is a gift. It doesn’t matter if the boys are older, quiet time at home is still a gift. I love having more than one dinner a week with them. I love being able to watch TV or movies any time they feel like. I’m here if the mood strikes them to have a conversation or play a game. These things couldn’t always happen after work because of a multitude of reasons. You need the quiet space of days to just live in the moments. When you’re so busy with life, these are the things we take for granted.
On the other hand, it’s also the first time in my life I have (almost) no help. No husband. No au pair (though she still lives here until September). No grandparents. It’s all me. All these domestic things: cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, planting, shopping etc etc have been run under my guidance for years, but I didn’t actually do most of them on a full-time basis. I paid good money for someone to do them for me. Now I don’t have that money and I have to do them myself.
I don’t really like it. It’s just not my thing.
I don’t really like having to cook meals every day three times a day to feed hungry boys. I don’t like the mountains of laundry and turning all the clothes right side out. I don’t like food shopping twice a week because they eat too much and too fast now that it’s summer. I don’t like running errands to the bank, post office or drug store. No disrespect intended toward anyone but have been lucky in the respect that I haven’t had to do these mundane tasks myself and I’ve been spoiled because I earned enough to pay for the luxury of care.
Honestly, there is a large part of me that feels I need to stop apologizing for not liking these tasks or even feel the need to be good at them. No one is can do it all well, but beyond that, I don’t really like this role full time. I preferred the career mom role and even my kids feel this is right for our family. I should stop apologizing that I earned enough money to have live-in help and chose this path. It was an intentional choice I should be proud of but somehow I find myself constantly apologizing to those who are in different situation (I know this comes from years with the X, unfortunately).
Add in the fact that I have no husband to do the lawn mowing, home maintenance, or car maintenance. I don’t know how to do these things nor do I care to ever learn. I came home the other day and the air conditioning seemed not to be working again. Ok, it’s simple, I didn’t change the filter. So I had one the guy left for me and easily changed it. But now I need to go to Home Depot and buy more filters and put it in my calendar to remember to change the darn things. I’m not saying it’s hard, I just don’t care about it at all.
I feel very disillusioned lately about so many things, motherhood among them. With this role comes all these mundane tasks that I despise, yet I have the joy of time with my boys. I notice they are calmer and my challenging middle guy is talking to me more often. I make a point to compliment him and pay attention to him much more than I did before and I am seeing the payback. I know this is a job like any other in the sense that I have to take the good with the bad, but I lose my patience much faster and I’m not organized about caring for my home. The reward is seeing small things I may have otherwise missed and performing tasks for the kids that just need a mothers touch.
Right now the elder boys have been punished for having a party in the house while I was in San Fran, but that house arrest is over in a few days and they will be demanding to be driven all over town to friends homes. They also secured a job for the summer and start next week, so I am responsible to chauffeur them back and forth to the job as well. I’m used to having my time under my control but now I am under theirs.
I’ve put my foot down with their father that he needs to arrange transportation on his days if I make plans to be elsewhere. I can’t see the kids being happy about this but I have to maintain the ability to spend time in the city a couple of days a week to network or date.
I suppose, all in all, I am accepting this time as a gift and trying my best to enjoy it and not allow panic to set in when I have no income in 6 weeks. There are no jobs in my industry and many businesses continue to lay off loads of people.
I know the posts over the next few days are going to continue to reflect my over-arching ambivalence to everything. I feel that I am in a stage of my life where I am analyzing and evaluating everything. The choices ahead don’t frighten me, but they might be different from ones I may have made in the past and that may upset what has been a balance in my life for….well, my lifetime.
Although I am not quite saying I don’t want to be a mom some days, I just don’t want to embrace this role full-time for much longer. I don’t even feel it suits me. I see lots of great things happening between my boys and I, but I am not at financial liberty to stay home and not work so part of me is fearful of suddenly having to go back to work and missing this (another way I could say that is – I am afraid my heart will break when this time has passed – and I fucking know how much a broken heart hurts).
Some days I love it here, being with my boys, being a full-time mom. I’m lucky I can balance that through divorce and have enough down time for myself, but I still can’t quite get over the feeling of being selfish. I like my own time, my time away from them. Some times I feel guilty for not wanting to do everything for them (there’s a post coming on that) as some people are able to do – I am clearly not a selfless mother, I cannot give over my entire being to my kids.
Is that fair to them? It’s a question I struggle with almost every day now. A question I had put to rest many years ago when I made the career choices and parenting sacrifices I did. I made a decision and I chose to accept that decision. Now I am in a state of flux again and I don’t really know what I want, what I should want, or what’s right for everyone.
I may just want to go chase a Pokemon.