Will Work for Personal Gratification
I have been a stay at home mom for 11 years. 11. Years. As mentioned in a previous entry, I threw myself headlong into being supermom. My house was always clean. My kids were usually clean and dressed nicely. Fresh haircuts. Portraits every three months on schedule. Trips to the park, storytime and various educational venues were a regularity. I cooked dinner every night. And I felt gratified, because my children were small and they needed me. I was being what's known as a "good mom" and that gave me a sense of accomplishment.
For a lot of years, being at home was what I wanted to do and I did it, happily. I secretly sneered at women who went back to work. I thought them selfish and short-sighted. Now I am realizing, it's okay to need something more. I'm understanding that people need external motivation and validation. They need accolades. They need respect. What has brought about this realization? Well, it's been creeping up on me for a couple years. But....
Today I slept until 1:30 pm because I couldn't think of a good reason to get up. Not one. (Don't call CPS...my husband is home) My toilets are all dirty, I need to do laundry and the cat boxes desperately need chaging, but that could not provide the impetus I needed to drag my ass out from beneath the down comforter and I was struck with the realization that I don't really care.
Why scrub toilets when they will only be shit in again, probably only a matter of moments after I have finished. Why mop floors when they will only get spilled upon exactly 32 seconds after I put the mop away? Why make beds and tidy the house when two boys will blow through like a Hurricane leaving a path of destruction and chaos behind them? Why prepare hot meals from scratch only to hear "Yuk" and "What is that anyway" and "I think I'm allergic to lima beans."?? Why spend hours doing something that I don't enjoy and that I get absolutely no satisfaction from, when it is utterly pointless anyway? What kind of sentient being continues to do something that perpetually gets UNDONE?? At some point, even the dumbest creature will wise up and stop putting forth the effort. I didn't like busy work in school and I'm no better at it as an adult. This dumb creature has finally reached her threshold for boring, mindless drudgery.
My kids are both in school now. They are largely independant in that they can feed and dress themselves, use the toilet and see to their own personal hygeine. They pour their own cereal and milk, they toast their own bagels. They can work all the household appliances and electronic devices better than I can. They can read. They don't want to be pushed on a swing anymore. More often than not, my presence is an annoyance. I am becoming superfluous, and this will only become more and more true as the years go by. Autonomy is a good thing. I know this. But it's kind of a jolt all the same to realize you are no longer essential.
So...I signed on to be a stay at home MOM. And I realize that chapter of my life is over. I am at a crossroads and I don't know which way to turn. I should have prepared for this. I didn't. And now I'm screwed. My brain is atrophying and I am becoming increasingly depressed over the fact that I have nothing to look forward to every day except more menial labor.
So I need to make a change. That much is clear. But how? What do I do? I was once a confident, respected, up and coming career woman, but I have been out of the workforce for ELEVEN YEARS. That doesn't look so good on a resume. And any job that would be worthwhile is not going to provide the kind of flexibility that I need to straddle the line between Motherhood and Wage Earner. Any job that would isn't going to pay squat.
A couple years ago, I decided to work at a well known retail establishment part-time for a little extra money, and to get out of the house for a while. It was an unmitigated disaster. Because I learned that I do not take well to being given orders from someone who has all the intelligence of a raisin. It is not in my nature to follow directives that were issued with very little cognition or common sense. It was all I could do not to sneer in the face of someone who insisted upon acting as if they were supreme ruler of all things retail, when I knew they didn't even graduate from high school. Yes, I'm a snob. Shoot me. The point is....I'm not a good minimum wage employee.
That leaves me very few options. Sure, there's the writing thing...but let's face it..that's a crap shoot. I could spend years writing a book only to have every publishing house reject it out of hand. The freelance thing...well, that's maybe a smidge more realistic, but again, there is the potential for a buttload of time wasted only to face rejection after rejection. Only a handful of writers actually make it and the chances that I will be that one in a thousand is pretty slim. Pragmatism is a bitch.
Maybe I need to go back to school. Maybe I need another baby. Maybe I need a hobby. I just need.
I'm sure I'm not the first woman to go through this and I won't be the last. That doesn't make it any easier.
ADDENDUM: Christ on rollerskates that was the whiniest most blatanly self-pitying thing I have ever written. I'm somewhat nauseated by it. I won't delete it, cause that would be disingenuous. So now you know...BA is just another desperate housewife (markedly meatier and decidely less glamorous than those on Wisteria Lane) in the midst of a full blown identity crisis. I hope you still respect me in the morning.