"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Painting Myself into a Corner

I have to get ready for eight 7 year olds coming over for Number Three Son's birthday party tonight. It was supposed to be an outdoor movie night with the screen hanging from the play set and the boys bringing their sleeping bags and staying up until after dark. We were going to BBQ, swim and hang in the backyard but the weather has turned and although it has stopped raining it is only supposed to be 12C (whatever that is in Fahrenheit, it is too cold to sit around on the ground) So Plan B is take them to the theatre to see UP, not my favourite kind of party but I don't think we have a choice.

Not in a great place right now as a mother or even as a human being. I have lost my way now that all three boys are in school full time. Number Three Son made the transition from Kindergarten to Grade One with ease, as did all the boys when we moved out of the city to our new small town home almost two years ago. My Other Half made the transition from jet-setting marketing executive to small business-owner, working from home with no apparent problem (or at least not too many)

Me? Well let's just say, I am a work in progress like so many. I can't say I am a teacher anymore because I have been out of the classroom since Number One was born 11 years ago. I help out with the business but that is his dream not mine and I can't say I am a writer because all I am writing are grocery lists and this blog and in my mind it doesn't count until someone pays me to write and it is printed on paper. Of course blogging has been a great way to get the creative juices flowing again but it is too isolating for me, I need people to talk to not just people on line (no offense, I love reading everyone's posts and the comments). I keep waiting for lightning to strike me with some brilliant idea of what I should do but I have a feeling it could be a long wait. In the meantime I have to figure it out or my family is going to suffer. A happy mother makes for a happy family and right now I am not happy as a mother or in general.

The life of a SAMH or WAHM is betwixt and between. You feel guilty that you are not contributing to society as a paid member of the workforce and you feel guilty for feeling like you aren't doing enough for your family because you are supposed to have all this time. People wonder what I do all day and I can't even come up with a reasonable answer. What do I do all day? Everything I do - from voluntering at the school, to the laundry to planting a vegetable garden and composting is in the hopes of raising well-educated, clean-cut, green-aware, responsible members of society. But what if they end as computer-obsessed, socially-challenged boy/men still living at home. Or worse - high-powered, money-grubbing corporate-types who never call their mother?

I'm sorry this post is all over the place, much like me right now, but I know that so many of you out there have felt the same way. Any suggestions?


  1. Please know you are not alone. I have all those thoughts on a daily basis. Guilt about not contributing financially. Guilt about feeling like I'm not doing enough to stimulate the dude. Resentment that the hubs gets to go to work and use his brain. Ha ha. Although blogging has been a good outlet and I hope someday to make a living at it. Dooce did it right? Ha ha. I truly hope that you find your happy place! And I'm sure your boys are gonna grow up loving and appreciating their mama!!

  2. Try not to feel one iota of guilt for being a SAHM - it's such a worthwhile job (although seemingly thankless - i.e. no income) but that time in your life actually does go quickly. You will never regret "being there" for them. And they will always remember that you were.
    And try to carve out some day during the day - no matter what! - to write if that's what you want to do. I started writing when my youngest began Grade One - didn't produce much but eventually it all contributed to my writing credits.
    Do not feel alone with your confusing thoughts and mixed emotions. Been there, done that...

  3. What you describe so reminds me of my sister (and everyone else I know). For me, I often think, what's the point of art? It doesn't save lives or change to world. And I wish I were making a difference by raising a family instead.

    It's confusing but your thoughts and feelings seem to be pointing you to possibilities further down the road, a book maybe, and you're not sure yet how to get there given all the demands placed on you. Take it in baby steps. One hour a week if that's all the time you have. It'll add up over time.

  4. You're a bit ahead of me, but I'm often wondering what I'm going to be doing with my time in 4.5 years when the last one is in school all day. My older sister is at that point now - she spent that first year catching up on projects left over from a move, then eventually found she hadn't showered by 2pm. Now she's taking some classes to get back in the work force (career change). You say you were a teacher - what about substituting?

  5. Thank you all, I knew there were others out there who would understand and sympathize.
    K - I know they will appeciate me someday, just not today, or tomorrow or ...
    Beth - it's hard, you feel guilt for doing something for yourself and guilt for not
    Cheryl - I envy you the confidence I see in your art, now I want to create something for me as up til now everything has been for them.
    Jen - I was a Montessori teacher and I think I am still to close to the 3 to 6 age group to go back and even supply, also only one Montessori school in our town, but I will keep my mind open to the possibilities.

  6. I think we all feel like works in progress from time to time. It's such a difficult place when we're stuck in the work part rather than moving along in the progress area. I'm sorry and I hope things pick up soon.

  7. Don't worry about that "all over the place"....I do that very well and understand it completely!!

    I once saw a card that said, "Sure...I've painted myself into a corner...but look at how nice the brushstrokes are."

    I have this on my fridge.

    And...just for the record...you were a brave soul to even consider a party of that magnitude for a bunch of 7-year-olds...I'm bowing down in your general direction!! :-D


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