Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Year Two: March 20, 2012 ~
Slow Like Honey

There's a Fiona Apple lyric I particularly like:

Slow like honey, heavy with mood

which particularly sums up how I've been feeling about life this week...

...although I can just about guarantee that Fiona, one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, was singing about love or something similarly heady and passionate.

I'm not.

Even though this lyric has been dancing in my head for days, it doesn't have anything to do with birds or bees, roses or hearts.

Instead, I feel like her words perfectly encapsulate how I've been feeling about our family life in 2012.

Lately I feel like we are running in taffy; so much effort is going into every little step yet we've not really gotten anywhere yet.

The exercise feels so slow.

The main things my husband and I have been trying to accomplish for our family are large ones:

Buy a house.
Plan a life-changing family adventure - a year abroad!
Get all 3 kids into school.
Become a two-income family again... I'm heading back to work.
Keep our kids healthy, happy and active.
Get (the same) kids to STOP FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER.
Keep up my health on a long-term basis.

Oh... and spend time together!  

I'd say these are pretty normal things for a couple in their mid to late-30s to be working toward... and even though I don't actually *know* if our friends are working on figuring out similar things, I'm betting that lots of them are.

I don't know why, but everything just feels so slow right now.

Maybe because the end of babyhood is finally in sight?  If this were a race, I'd be ready to rev up and sprint to the finish!

Yet, we can't rush the next six months.  They need to happen, and we can't waste a single moment of our lives together by wishing the days away.

So, we're working on it.  

Every day we take little steps toward our goals.

For example, today I turned in my packet of forms to become re-employed with a local school district as a substitute teacher.

This does not guarantee me steady work OR a paycheck; but it is a good first step.

An opportunity to step into teaching again for a large district and see how it fits... a chance to dip my foot back into the water and see what the temperature is like.

(Not that it's a good time to look for teaching work... on the contrary... more than a thousand teachers in our district just got pink slips, including one of my dearest friends who has been a loyal and outstanding teacher for the same school for 10 years!  The California education budget is just a disaster.)

Anyway assuming I can even get substitute work in today's economic climate, I've taken the first step.

The process just requires so much PATIENCE.

The truth is, it's hard to be patient when you feel like you're waiting for your "real life" to start.

I have to remind myself not to waste the moments right now.  This IS my real life.  Being a stay-at-home mom.  Loving my kids.  Taking them places, grocery shopping, doing laundry, watching their practices and picking them up from school on time.  Coming to their class presentations and parties.  Taking them on stroller walks.  Changing their diapers.  Singing to them. Cracking dumb jokes to make them smile.

I have a life... and this is it.

Working and owning our own home will not necessarily equate to having a better life than the one we currently inhabit.  It will just be different.

Different sacrifices, different trade-offs.  There will be other tears shed... in moments when I have to miss an important school performance or milestone because I am already committed to teaching that day.  Mornings where I awaken cursing the alarm because I've been up all night with a sick child and still have to go to work.  Times when I'm jealous of the flexibility of my husband's schedule and job.

I know it will be like this, because it *was* like this.  Five years ago it was exactly as I've described... I had a vibrant career and great difficulty finding balance in my home life.  So many sacrifices had to be made every single day.

I'm ready though, after five years at home... I'm ready to take something BACK.  Something that is mine.  I'm ready to reclaim some piece of my independent self.  It doesn't have to be a big one.  Just a start.

At the age of 36, I'm still young enough to make something of myself as an individual.  Motherhood of course is non-negotiable; my children still come first and always will.  They are the core of my planet, the solid hub around which I spin.

With all three children at last in school though I'll soon have this incredible opportunity to rediscover myself as a professional; to unleash my brain and hope that it still knows how to think.  To reignite a part of my spirit that has been waiting quietly and patiently under cotton covers... always believing that one day it would again be allowed to flourish.

I'm so excited to take the plunge into this second phase of parenthood:

Modest independence.

Modest independence for my children, and for me.  I don't know how it is going to go... it could easily suck.  I could hate every second and start oozing desire to return to the life of a stay-at-home mother.  (Don't laugh - it could happen.)

I can't wait to get started though!  I can't wait to try.  


To slightly adapt another line that I love, this one from "When Harry Met Sally" -

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life [doing something special] you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. 

So here I am,