I find writing to be very therapeutic. Especially when it's my attempt to unload something that has been plaguing my mind & will eventually make it down to my heart. And I hate it when it reaches my heart because although the eyes are closer to the mind it's the pain of the heart that causes the tears.
Sometimes I write with an uncensored state of mind not caring who may come across these words, but I feel that if I don't explain the context of today's feelings I very well might end up getting pushed off the edge of a pier. For all of you who disagree with my point of view please don't contemplate throwing rocks at me. We all have our own story, our own goals, our own desires out of life and just because they don't align doesn't make either of us right or wrong.
For the past couple days, hell maybe its been weeks (it's hard to navigate the inner workings of oneself) I have felt for lack of a better word, bereft. And after spending unlimited hours trying to figure out why I have felt this way it sort of just fell out of my mouth this morning. And so here I am about to drop a very loaded question on all of you. Like nuclear loaded.
Is being a mother enough for you?
And now we can start the rather lengthy, in-depth discussion comparing societal expectations, norms and views with that of my own expectations, norms and views.
To be frank, honest and blunt, I discovered this morning that for me - It's not enough. And as freeing and liberating as it was to finally unearth my feelings behind my recent distress, figuring this out didn't exactly make me want to skip & jump rope in my meadow of happiness. If anything I feel even... worse?
You see, I feel no matter what your answer is to the above question, it inadvertently puts you in a position of "Your damned if you don't, and you're damned if you do". So let's get one thing straight...
I. Absolutely. Love. Being. A. Mom.
It has single-handedly been one of my greatest accomplishments and decisions of my life to date (and I hope to repeat it 2 or 3 more times). But, unlike a rather large portion of the "Mother Population" it doesn't define me, it doesn't consume it and it doesn't fulfill everything I want out of life. I do not make this statement to say, that all of those mom's out there who do feel defined by their title of Mother and who feel consumed and fulfilled by their children, are in the wrong. In fact I salute you.
I, however, feel like I am missing out on something by thinking that this is enough.
And here is where things get sticky. You have the feminists who will tell you if its not enough then GO BACK TO WORK!! Go and be successful, climb that corporate ladder and turn in your apron, sweatpants and slippers for a 3 piece suit & 5 inch Louboutin's!!
But, its not that simple and this is where I am reminded that on very rare occasions are you allowed to have your cake and eat it too, because the truth (at least for our household) is that me going back to work would be a very selfish choice. In the economy today, I would be lucky enough to even make half of what I was making before we had E. That doesn't even include the cost of childcare we would have to incur because free childcare isn't an option. And then on top of that I will then have to deal with some other woman "raising" my child, while I go work, so that I can feel "fulfilled." It just doesn't make sense and I am not even going into the deeper issues that would eventually be a result of this i.e. not enough time for husband, being burned out, feeling detached from Eliana, a myriad forms of depression come to mind...
So the truth is that I want to be a stay at home mom. I really do. And I realize what a blessing it is for us to not need my income to survive. I also realize how much me not working is easier for our marriage and works well for how we operate as a unit. I am not bitter that I get to stay at home all day with my child and raise her, love her and nurture her how I see fit. Most days I love it, enjoy it and relish the new found freedom I have by not having a 9-5. It's just those other days where I start to realize that its just not enough.
I have so many things I want out of life and to be honest I miss getting a paycheck. I feel like I have talents and abilities worthy of getting paid, but how to make it all happen without compromising the stability of my household, husband and child seems almost impossible. Obviously working from home is definitely an option, so is starting my own business, writing a book, finding that random part-time job that allows you to bring your daughter to work?! haha I can dream. But if I focus on any of these enough to actually make-it-happen! Something suffers.
So I guess in reality, what I am trying to do, is find balance. Or find the magical-key-to-ultimate-joy-and-never-ending-happiness, but I don't think it exists. Life isn't easy and anything worth doing is going to take sacrifices, lots of effort, plenty of patience and time. Not to mention we aren't done having kids and I know my amount of available "free time" is only going to get thinner and thinner with every child that comes our way. And I eagerly await those days. I really do. I can't wait to have a house full of children playing and laughing, screaming & crying. It's going to be awesome. It's just that I never realized the sacrifices it was going to take.
I still have plans to go back to school and get a Masters in Counseling. It's what I want to do when my kids are all in school. I just have to remind myself that I will never be too old, until I am dead. Being able to set-aside certain dreams, goals and desires today, so that I can have the family I want tomorrow, in effort to create a future worth living, is vastly more complicated then I ever thought.
And it still weighs heavily on me that this all should be enough. Maybe its my spoiled generation. Maybe it's this world of "opportunity" we live in. Maybe if we moved to the middle of nowhere I wouldn't feel the same way. I don't know. I do know that my grandma never came close to having the life I do at this age and I doubt she ever complained a single day in her life.
Then again, maybe I wouldn't feel this way if our society truly accepted & supported the importance of Motherhood.