I am failing spectacularly at my New Year’s resolution to write every day. I haven’t written here in over a month. I’ve written in my personal journal only a handful of times. Life has been difficult lately and although I know that “it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to”; I don’t really want to write only to complain. I know from past experience that I tend to turn deeply inward when time are tough. I retreat into a cocoon that centers on my home and family. While isolation can be damaging for some people, I mostly find the quiet time to be healing. I have actually figured out a lot of things over the past couple of months; rather important things, among them:
- I am not my best self as a stay-at-home mother. I enjoy the lack of schedules and mostly enjoy the huge blocks of time I am spending with the kids. But….I am crushed by the feeling of complete and utter dependence on Husband. I hate having zero income and zero time to myself unless Husband is with the kids. I also constantly feel a lingering sense of failing myself for not having meaningful career at my age. While I think that being a stay at home mother is a completely valid and important ambition for many women, I never dreamed it for my future and I just can’t get past wanting more.
- I need exercise like some people need medication. I can’t skip a few days of exercise without negative consequences for my mental health. I just need to put on my running shoes and go. Period.
- I don’t need big, expensive things (or a big, fancy house) to be happy, however, I do need what I have to look nice. I cook, well, constantly and I have always wanted a larger, remolded kitchen. It turns out I don’t want such a thing as much as I thought. We’ve owned our house for eleven years and never had baseboards in the kitchen. What we did have was ugly damaged plaster (from where linoleum used to be coved up the wall). Over the holidays we had our stained, warped kitchen floor replaced with beautiful linoleum (the real stuff – made with linseed oil, not vinyl) and then coved up the wall. It looks stunning. We also had chipping, yellowing paint and I have, single handedly painted all of the kitchen and pantry walls a lovely fresh shade of blue. I am surprised how much more I like my kitchen now that it looks fantastic. I am applying this same idea to the rest of our house, my car (turns out my eight year old car is much more pleasant to be in when it is regularly vacuumed and washed), and my clothes and it has made a huge difference in my satisfaction with what I have!
- I do not want to be a nurse. I had thought that nursing might be a good option for me. Lactation consultants who are also RNs have many more job opportunities. A certified nurse midwife is a very attractive career to me but I do not want to go to nursing school. I simply don’t think like a nurse. This option is no longer on the table.
- I am too old not to be happy. I am willing to work hard. I am willing to start at the bottom and work my way up (painful as it is for me). I am willing to do what I need to do, take the classes I need to take (no matter how inane), in order for me to have a meaningful career. But I am not willing to spend large chunks of my life unhappy. I came upon this realization while considering nurse-midwifery as a career. Many nurse midwifery programs require working as a labor and delivery nurse (in a hospital) prior to entering midwifery school. And I just can’t do it. I so fundamentally disagree with so many hospital birth practices that I could never, in good conscience, carry them out. But this realization is much larger than my career. Fundamentally, I don’t want to live for a “happier future”; I did that for over a decade. I want a “happy today”.
There is certainly some truth in the the tired old cliches of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “Adversity builds character”, but I am pretty tired of all this forced enlightenment. The universe doesn’t seem to be letting up on me though. I am going to try my best to write here, to write about my problems in a way that maybe will help me and perhaps others because those problems aren’t going away. I needed some quiet time, but now it’s time to talk.