Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"It's like my heart is a tooth, and it's got a cavity that can only be filled with children."

I was reading in Dinner: A Love Story the other day and Jenny used the phrase "existential angst".

And I went "existential angst, huh?"

Existential angst.

And then I went "YES!  Finally a diagnosis!"

I think it started around the time I was scouring employment ads looking for ideas for a future career.  That's just one symptom of this particular sickness.  It also manifests itself as the soul-crushing dread of not fulfilling one's "true potential".

While searching for future career options, I've considered the following: health coach, nutritionist, dietician, systems engineer, contracts administrator, public procurement specialist, web content developer, environmental engineer, graphic designer, visual communication design.  Once I even thought "med surg tech" sounded really great until I really thought about it for two minutes and changed my mind.

But, here's the thing: Right now, my "job" is to be Mom: Boss and Nurturer of my Children (and work part-time out of the home on the side).  And while having babies and raising young children, this will be my only job in the foreseeable future. 

I read an article about how some parents are treating parenting much like a career.  It wasn't a good thing.  Then there's this woman, who asked "what is my job as a parent?".  A question along the lines of my own brainwaves this week when I felt like I was missing the mark (again!) and thinking that I should think back to my 20 year old post-childcare-worker self and remember the lofty ideals I held out for my future-SAHM self.  I seem to remember things like "lesson plans" and "art projects" being near the top of that list.  

And then I started thinking long and hard about what kind of mom I want to be.  About what I am doing right.  About what I want to do better.  About what I want to start doing.  

[All the while, a whole other mental list was forming.  The list of Things I Would Do If I Had Pre-Mom Freetime Again: take art/painting classes, go to yoga classes, read more. . . Then I read this quote from ReeseDixon, and it made me take a really deep breath and then I felt better: "Every woman I know – those that stay home with their kids and those that don’t, those that have a job that pays them money, and those that don’t – struggles with balance. Work/Life balance, Family/Self balance, the balance between what goes in and what goes out."  See? Don't you feel better too?]

So.  Anyway.

What I Am Doing Right:
~Family Dinner.  6 nights a week.
~Record Keeping.  Photo albums, picture books, memory boxes, baby calendars, mom calendars, kid journals.
~Story reading.  Every night before bed.
~Hugs & kisses.  All day.

What I Want to Do Better:
~Be OK with staying in.  Weekly.
~More face time.  More get on the floor and play time.  Less screen time.  Daily.
~Prayers.  On my own, with the kids, with M.  Daily.
~Art projects.  Weekly.

[Title quote is from "Despicable Me"]

1 comment:

Michaela Stephens said...

Existential angst.. What a great word. I hear ya.

And that is awesome that you can list what you are doing right and be pleased with it.

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