I am home with the kids and revising all the time what that means to me. I am not gonna lie; at first, I had every intention of going back to teaching in September, when my youngest was six months old. After all, teaching and being a working person has forever been part of my identity. But… the economy had different plans and after several job applications and interviews took me nowhere, my partner and I revisited our family budget and realized that it more than works for me to stay home.
Budgeting aside, it’s been far from easy. This baby was not a regular sleeper and there is still the older child to think about… its much different from just having the one kid…in many ways it would be easier to be work outside the home because at least I would get some mental space, some time with adults, even just an opportunity to complete a thought. ( If this blog is any example, I’ve been drafting this and several other posts on and off for several months!) But, as with everything, we’ve learned to adapt and adjust. With the support of my partner I take self-care and me-time very seriously. This support is not something I take for granted since I know and (and feel myself) how very strong the current of “status quo” is on mothers and women in general in terms of caretaking and valuing what we do. As much as I understand and want to change gendered roles and the effects of patriarchy, that shit is so deeply woven even in the most “woke” of us that I often stumble. So, no, I could not do this at all if my co-parent wasn’t the determined badass that he is.
With that said, once I get over the ever-present mom-guilt, I try to get writing time in at least one evening a week, go to excercise classes at the local YMCA a couple of times a week, and get together with other moms and in general, grown-ups as often as I can. Winter time feels isolating enough as it is, but not getting out and about while taking care of young children felt extra isolating. Now that the baby turned one and with Spring around the corner, the care taking load feels much lighter and life, less overwhelming. I encourage all moms new and seasoned to find their tribe. We were never meant to go at this alone. That is why I decided to include this lovely comic by Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. This hit me right in the feels: “To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy … but it’s still allowed.”
So while my “life’s meaning” might have been defined in one way when I was a 22-year-old new teacher, I am allowed to revise what that means to me know that I am 32-year old mother and always in the future.
You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing…and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you are doing…
Yes, yes, and yes! Oh my goodness does this ring true in a million ways! I needed this reminder that self-care, self-love and just being in the moment is a revolutionary act. After all, these kids will grow up in a blink and the work world will still be there waiting for me…
Thanks for the reminder;)