The same thing I always write about
This week was spring break. No school, no preschool. I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time and I was right. It's been both nice and awful. Basically I'm exhausted. I feel like those random women who'll see me with three and say things like "Wow! Three! I could never do it!". I'm watching myself and wish I could do it. Wow! Three! I am not doing it! I mean I am, but it never feels like I'm winning this race. I'm the one at end, coughing and gasping for air, trying to catch up because I didn't train for it enough or right, or maybe I didn't train at all.
The other day I was waiting for a store to open next to two other ladies, a mother and her adult daughter and the mother was going on and on about something, I don't know what it was, I wasn't even interested but I noticed myself getting excited about this conversation that was about something, anything and even though I wasn't even part of it. I noticed myself daydreaming about having a conversation with someone about something mudane or current events or nail polish dammit, but it was a conversation and the other person never screamed at me, nor peed her pants nor started whining about how I always make her do chores, but most of all the person listened and I I wasn't repeating myself like an idiot, always saying the same things over and over...
Ok, so I was feeling sorry for myself a teeny bit. But really, the hardest thing about staying home with small kids is still the loneliness. And that's saying something, because there are plenty of things to choose from. (Still feeling sorry for myself there.) I know in my case I'm responsible for it to an extent. I moved to a brand new place with my first baby being about a year old and I made some friends but I also had two more babies and new friendships require time and energy and I had neither. It doesn't help that I'm not really energized by superficial socializing. It drains me and after hanging out with people I have nothing in common with I feel even more isolated. I crave something stable and familiar and new acquaintances don't fit that profile. At the end of the day I have the equivalent of one dollar of time left. I can't afford to lose it, but long term this kind of loneliness takes its toll.
I heard this song on TV "9 to 5", I think it's Dolly Parton, but anyway the lyrics go something about working 9 to 5 and I immediately thought: "Awesome. Give me 9-5!!!" What a dream job. What would I do to be done at 5 every day! I realize this is "the grass is always greener.."-type of thinking, but I need to elaborate on this a bit. It's not that I really think a 9-5 office job would make my life perfect. I've done it and I don't miss it. I'm also not sure I want to hand off my kids at 5 pm every day. What I'd love is to not be so invisible. Taking care of little kids and managing a household are completely undefined and unspectacular activities that no one sees you do. What can be said of substance about staying home with children that isn't some kind of cliche? I don't know where to begin. And still I catch myself wishing someone would know what it was like today. There are no co-workers to rehash the events with, the dumb stuff no one else cares about, but that maybe you and someone else have been scratching your head over all day. There are no witnesses and when there are no witnesses it might not have even happened. Maybe this is silly, but it does make me feel weird that even though I know I am exhausted for a reason and I know why I am doing it and that it's worth it I will still wonder if any of it had any impact on anyone.
Maybe I'm the only one with this problem. I wonder how other people deal with the invisibility aspect of it. I know some women turn motherhood into a career. They are perfect housekeepers in a beautiful house and make sure all their friends see it or their kids' success becomes their own and they shine as their #1 fan. I also realize some women enjoy tending to their kids and house a lot more than I do, which I have wished for occasionally but only because it would make life easier for me, not because I really want it. My problem is that doing this job is a choice by default. It's not that I wouldn't like to do something else, it's that I can't accept someone else being with my kids instead of me (because of them and because of me). I want to be here even though it drives me crazy at the same time.
And so... basically I'm exhausted.
Posted at 03:15 PM on April 24, 2010