Monday, January 16, 2012

Weird head space

So. I think I have transitioned from the, "Yay, so many choices! The possibilities are endless!" option to, "Oh my word, there are so many choices. The possibilities are...endless."

If you haven't figured out by the title of my blog, I am a very goal oriented person. I like plans. I like knowing what the next step is. I like crossing things off of my to do list. I have been known to write things on my to do list after I did them, just so I could cross them off.

I love a feeling of accomplishment. I like other people being able to see what I accomplished. I like being able to say "Done." and look about and see what I have finished.

I have known what the next step of my life was going to be since...junior high? Graduate, college, marriage, advanced degrees, kids. All of these were planned for and accomplished. And though there were some detours and scenic routes, all of these things happened.

And now I don't know what it is I am supposed to be accomplishing next.

It's unsettling.

I have a question: Is it okay to be - and I'm going to get slammed for using this word - just a mom? I don't mean that being a mom is easy because I am under no illusions there. And I don't think being a mom is of less importance than any other thing women do. Caring for another human being has to be the pinnacle of human experience. But is it okay to just mother. And not mother while being an A-list blogger/raising heirloom tomatoes in a multinational organization to preserve seed diversity/spinning yarn from the fleece of the pygmy goats that I rescued from experimenters (fleece? fur? hair? What do goats have?)/developing a plan for international peace/sewing my own clothes/founding a multimillion dollar empire dedicated to...something?

There is sooo much pride embodied in this question: Am I allowed to just be mom for a while? I have above-average intelligence and a good work ethic. Combine that with being told "Unto whom much is given, much is required" on a fairly regular basis all my life, and I feel like I have to be extraordinary or I'm failing. I was voted "Most Likely to Conquer the World" by my senior class. The guy who was voted the same died in an accident a year after we graduated. I kind of feel like I need to conquer the world for him as well. And for his parents.

I feel like it's okay for me to quit my job because now I am going to home school Cooper and that is noble and virtuous and provides a reason for me to be at home. It isn't enough, in my own mind at least, to say I am going to be a stay at home mom, and my kid is going to go to public school, and I am going to have several hours of the day to myself with little to no responsibility to anyone other than my own soul and conception of the good.

I need to accomplish something.

I just don't know what yet.

And yes, I know parenting is an accomplishment and the most important work I can do is parenting well and it is never done blahblahblah crunchy platitudecakes. I know all that stuff. In my head. It just doesn't seem like truth to my heart.

3 comments:

Becca said...

The answer is yes. And no.

It is TOTALLY okay to be just a mom, but our culture will not acknowledge that. Ever. I get slammed for it all the time, even if just subtly. People really truly believe that you can't be just a mom and be a happy, fulfilled person.

The question is, of course, what is the goal of your life--to get something done? To be happy? What does it mean to be a happy, fulfilled person, anyway? And only YOU can answer that question.

So, yes, it's okay to be just a mom. That said, all the happy SAMs I know are women who have something they can work on for fun at home, too. Something to think about while they wash dishes. Something they enjoy more than cleaning toilets. Something with no pressure and no deadline and not even a reason to show it off. Just something you like to do. For me, it's writing novels that I don't plan for anyone to ever read. I also write school curricula for my homeschooled kids--but that's really for fun for me because I enjoy it (and because I can do it on bad fibro days from my chair!)

YES being a mom is enough. But not according to the world. I have not forgotten the guy who told me, "Well, MY wife likes to contribute to our family." (meaning she has a job and you don't, so you're wasting your time).

Just so you're prepared: It's NOT okay for smart women to be just a mom. Not according to our culture. But it really IS okay. I've been doing it for a few years now, and it's okay. You're not the only smart mommy out there who has fibro and really can't run a corporation on the side. It's humbling, but it's actually a relief not to have to.

Give yourself 3 months. It takes about 3 months to adjust to any new life circumstance (mission, new baby, new job, etc). You'll figure out what makes you happy--and isn't that the point? To be happy?

Ruby Hill said...

So I may be a decade behind everything you have accomplished... since i'm barely working my way into grad school and such, but i can totally relate to the "just mom" issues you are facing. of course, i'm now a single mom and don't have the luxury (dare i say such a word??) to even contemplate staying home... but the thought has crossed my mind. another woman is raising my child and that is slightly unnerving.

you are an incredible woman and have done what you needed to do. you're self motivated, brilliant, and i'm just lucky to have had you as a professor when i did. you need to take care of you now as well as your boys. homeschooling sounds like a great challenge. love ya!

lesliele said...

It's okay. It's going to take a long time to accept, if you're anything like me (and I think we've established that you are, a bit!)... Graham is turning 2 tomorrow, and I've *just* gotten used to it and accepted it in the past few months. Every once in awhile, something rears it's ugly head... a thought will cross my mind, or my student loan papers come in the mail, etc. and I'll think, "Am I wasting it all?" but I'm not. And you're not.

YOU are enough. Remember that.

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