Friday, September 4, 2009

Writer's Block

I cannot sleep and I have writer's block.  Do you ever have so much drama in your life that it's difficult to process?  Things so dark, you can't talk about them and feel you must keep up a happy face?  This post has little to do with parenting, free-range or otherwise, and more to do with my own need to get some things out of my system so I can be funny again.  It's been so long since I laughed until I cried, I fear the lines around my eyes will disappear, and not in a good way.  No one likes a complainer, so I've been keeping things to myself.  The problem there is that my own head is not a good outlet, and I am sheer misery to be around lately.  Witty comebacks?  I got nothin'.  Clever repartee?  Nope.  Here is a short list of the reasons why, and if you know me, I could really use a hug the next time we meet.  It's funny that some of you believe I am confident with a life to be envied - it's all smoke and mirrors.  Here's the whine:

1.  My husband is cheating again.
2.  My brother is going to prison for 2-3 years in Montana.
3.  Because of the above, my mother is a mess and must be consoled daily.
4.  I am heartbroken that I am no longer homeschooling, even though I know it's for the best.
5.  My dearest friend has medical issues that may or may not be resolved.
6.  I have a perpetual lump in my throat, despite crying most nights.

Whine over.  It feels good to write these things down, and I hope none of you readers find offense or feel uncomfortable.  Here's hoping for some positives to come down the pike!  Thanks for listening, and I promise to keep smiling in public, as a well-bred girl should.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Don't Want It All

I could have had it all. A career, the kids in school, and some dignity not often afforded stay-at-home moms. For a week, I was to be gainfully employed as a teacher at a private school. Heady with the thought of an income, the ego boost of still being employable, and of having a title to proclaim when someone asks what I do, I plunged right in to lesson planning.

Then the anxiety crept in. After nights spent awake adding up the staggering costs for extended-day Kindergarten for twins, afterschool care for 3, before school babysitting and transportation when my husband travels – with no tuition discount offered at the school I had planned to work in, I had decided to keep my children enrolled at the stellar Newbury Elementary – and the emotional cost of losing so many prime hours a day with my children (essentially becoming “Aunt Mommy”), I boldly reached a decision few would make in the current economy. I realized I don’t want it all, and returned my classroom keys and teacher’s editions in plenty of time for them to find someone to replace me.
Immediately, the squeezing sensation in my chest disappeared. Worry lines sunk back into my forehead. Over the last several days, I have reflected on my decision with no feelings of regret. I came so very close to doing what goes against my instincts as a mother. So close to giving up my free-range ideals that children need not be cooped up all day, so close to thinking of my children as objects to be moved from one place to another to accommodate my work schedule and for what? A few hundred dollars, if that, after I paid for other people to care for them? My decision was affirmed by the cheers that erupted forth from my children when I told them I wouldn’t be teaching this year after all.
Instead, I am embracing the huge changes coming ahead this year. My babies will be in half-day Kindergarten, the other one in third grade. For the first time in nearly 9 years, I will have two hours and 45 minutes per day free, to run errands, write stories and perhaps teach a preschool art class here and there. And wander Plum Island, go on long bike rides and get to know what it’s like to be just me again.

I know, you mothers of older children are spewing forth liquid from your nostrils because you realize that less than three hours a day is not the Shangri-La I think it’s going to be. I am determined to revel in my denial, however, before I get suckered into the PTA, classroom volunteering and all the myriad things that go along with having children in schools. But I can’t wait!

There are many, many years ahead to have it all. This is just not my time. As a Gen X woman, I have been given so many conflicting definitions of what it means to be a thirty-something mom. As I have realized of late, though, the only definition that counts is the one that fits who I am and what my priorities are at any given time. For now, that’s full-time free-range mom of the three best kids one could hope for, part-time writer, and starting in September, free spirit for a few hours each day.