Since becoming a mother some years ago: First I stayed home for six months, then I worked part-time, then I stayed home and worked part-time in different sequences, eventually having my second and then third child. Then I worked full-time for three years, had yet another baby, worked part-time for seven years and since then have worked full-time for the last nine years. I've done it all with one to four to one kids in the house depending on which year on that timeline you select.
In the early 90's it wasn't cool to be a 'Stay at Home Mom' (SAHM). My intelligent salutatorian self told me it was the exact right place to be (or at least I imagine that now) but as they say, society didn't value the idea. I found a magazine called Welcome Home that I clung to, and then found a national group called Hearts at Home which I considered my professional annual conference for a good ten years, getting involved to support their cause..
Now I am old(er) and I miss those days. I'm not career-oriented like I 'should' be. I try to wear both hats, but I like sipping my coffee while the laundry spins and I have a new book next to me to read. I like planning meals on a chart, walking the dog at 10 a.m., working in the garden, organizing the hats and scarves. OK I don't like housework, this is true. But time to catch up and do what you want to with the day, I never took that for granted in those SAHM years. As a full-time employee, I have been unable to 'do it all' and work. Truthfully I don't even come close. Every so often I take a day off work to catch up. To remember life isn't about work. To realize my surroundings have edged into the ludicrous in terms of disarray, that going 3 weeks without time to do my own laundry is not acceptable.
I know many women are perfectly capable of all of this. They get up an hour early to do the laundry. They pay the bills in the evening after working and cooking and running kids places. I can not. I have never had a fear of admitting my faults publicly and I just can't. I am exhausted after a full day at work. I am mentally exhausted. I know I have a combination of ADD and AO or 'Attention Overdrive'. I can work an hour straight and not realize five minutes has even passed. I have a terrible time with transitions (upcoming blog on this problem). I can't seem to leave the house in the morning for work, and I can't seem to leave work in the evening for home. Whatever I am in the middle of feels so important and worth continuing. So when I get home, I feel like a lump of lavender-gray playdough. Someone please feed me? Let me sit a minute, oops it is time for bed. Good night. Do it all over again.
Which brings me to today. The only time I feel I can stop and take stock of life matters is when I'm alone in my home doing stay-at-home tasks. Like right now I'm putting vinegar through the coffee pot. And I just gathered all the empty hangars from four closets. I'm going to sort socks, get out my spring clothes from the plastic bins they spend the winter in. I'm going to put away those Christmas books I blogged about in November (yes they are still out in my living room on display).
I'm not going to add to that list here because the day will fly by, two hours of it already has, and I don't want to make a liar of myself. It is only one day. But mentally, for me, it is a feeling of re-gaining a nice strong-ish grip on life. Of staking out my territory and reminding my IT Analyst self of the existence of this other woman. For one day I feel like there is time. I gradually become more aware of my surroundings, turning off the tv and facebook, doing a little writing (or at least clearing off my writing desk). I wish I could work four days a week, and have one of these every week instead of about once every quarter or so. But for today, I'm grateful for the ability to do this. To recognize that feeling, those signs, that my psyche is stagnated and still existing back in February. And to not just recognize it but to take action.
I'm so excited, you should see all the lime that came out of my coffee-maker! I'm a SAHM at heart still even though 50 hours a week I'm a 'working mom'(and I like my job, am very grateful for my job, am well-suited to my job) . She is still in there. Waiting to win the lottery so she can come back to live in this skin every day. My dog Molly is excited too. She is here laying on her back with all fours in the air. And I'm nesting. Maybe I'll write a letter with a pen and paper today? Maybe I'll wash the curtains? Maybe, I'll sit here with my coffee and stare happily into space, my most favorite activity. There is joy in the possibility.