The very first thing that needs to happen in this journey is to establish a schedule regarding household tasks and playtime with my kids. I have specific goals I would like to meet and I see now that in order to meet them I need to schedule myself. This will be my first step.
About Me and 180 Degrees
180 degrees in 365 days.
A few weeks ago in a rare state of midnight confession (which is actually 10:00 when you have toddlers) I told my husband that I didn’t like who I was. In a pregnant induced teary state I whimpered about feelings of inadequacy and inefficiency. I brought up our three children as a defence, and then argued against that defence using examples of friends with multiple children who also have careers (Sarah Classen-Stickland); of women that have three children and run amazingly successful companies (Karina Birch) I used the defence of my carrying our fourth child and then effectively argued against that one as well; citing a girlfriend who has four children (the final of which she birthed days after completing her Master’s degree) who lives on an acreage, grows her own food, and home schools her kids. (Monique Blom-Metcalfe) HOW IS A PERSON TO COMPETE WITH THAT??? In my teary eyed pregnant self doubting state my husband graciously listened and in his ever gentle husbandly way said, “What are you going to do about it?”
I know this is French for beef, but really it is the only way to describe the sound that escaped my lungs at that moment; like a brick hitting a balloon.
Well, I stopped crying. Then I laughed. Because what else can you do with all that emotional support? I listened to the rest of his words intently. Experience rather than actual memory states there was no more than a paragraph of words, and there was one particularly helpful thing I remembered. It takes 27 days to change a habit.
I find myself a person that swings dramatically between fits of organization, feverish cleaning, desire for routine and quests for self improvement into a state of couch ridden fatigue, general grumpiness at children, and extreme self dissatisfaction. This needs to end.
Years ago while driving I passed a billboard that read “Do the Thing You Think You Can Not Do” I still haven’t done it. The thing I think I cannot do is become the person I so desperately want to be. This person would run marathons, have an extensive and varied garden, be able to actually incorporate things out of her garden into meals and be able to preserve things from her garden for winter attempts at cooking things from her garden. She would never yell at her kids, she would have a completely organized calendar with colour coded highlighter marking birthdays and anniversaries of all her family, her friends, and her friend’s kids. She would send out Christmas updates on handmade cards, she would be an active member of her community volunteering for school boards and community associations, and perhaps someday run for municipal office. She would coach her kid’s sports teams, and teach them about the world and personal finance. She would have hard working academically focused children that are socially adept and have fun with sports, she would be able to cook Christmas meals for 20 without sweating or yelling at anyone, and she would be a better daughter and sister and friend.
Well, no wonder I lay down on the couch and cry at night to my unsupportive husband. I mean, my utterly practical husband who holds out his hand and says, “you can do it, you can’t do that, but you can do something”
As of today I am a 36 year old mother of three children with a fourth on the way. I am a stay at home mom or homemaker or housewife, or whatever the label is. I have an undergraduate degree which I feel obligated to say is a 4 year honours degree majoring in political studies, and I graduated with distinction. My obligation to say this stems from the awareness that if I don’t only the inside of the dark envelope on the bottom shelf of my closet which holds my diploma will ever know. I have never been employed post graduation; I convocated while 8 months pregnant with my second child, I had my third 18 months later, and my fourth is percolating 2.5 years after that. All my transferable skills have been used up on diapering and breastfeeding, fatiguing and refereeing, lunch making, bed making, laundry washing, grocery shopping, bus driving (in a minivan) meal planning, meal making, house cleaning, teeth brushing, bum wiping, night waking, puke cleaning, nose wiping, homework helping, game playing, massage giving, hug giving, kiss giving, love receiving. I have to say, it is the best job I could ever hope for. But something is still missing.
The thing that is missing is that I am not doing my job well enough. I am not proud. I can do better.
In the weeks that have passed since my husbandly wakeup call I have come to realize that in order to feel my life will not fall apart once the fourth child comes, things will need to change.