The place I’m in… a wandering but honest post

January 27th, 2008 § 1

I am 38 years old.

I’m a mother. I have been a mother for almost 7 years. 7 years have passed in my life, in my life plan, and I haven’t been doing nothing.I’ve been raising a child — an amazing, beautiful, creative child who who has given me both so much more intense struggle and simultaneously so much more pure joy than I could ever have imagined.I haven’t been the ‘perfect’ mother I imagined either. I have, though, put all that I can into doing it, and dedicated most of my energies to giving my child the best possible start in life. Finding the fine line between supporting her needs and encouraging her independence has been a particular challenge.I hope that I can continue to support her in being secure in her self, being able to give and receive love, being happy more often than not, and being generous to the world.

I am 38 years old.

I have worked some during these first 7 mothering years, and found ways to contribute financially to our household. I somehow also managed to begin and complete an advanced degree and a career change to education. I have not yet managed to transition that into a new, full-time career.I am a part of a loving marriage that has lasted already over 17 years. We have worked hard, especially during these intense years of early parenting, to support each other and to maintain the uniqueness and complementary nature of our bond. I haven’t been anywhere near the wife I want to be, but he loves me still.I have been doing all of these things while waging a constant struggle with depression, one that I share with so few people in my life, but one that consumes so much of my being, my energies and my world.

I am 38 years old.

I should be proud of what I have accomplished, of where I’ve been, of where I am, of where I’m going. And I want to be happy more often than not.There are pieces of that pride intact. Where I’ve been has contributed to a deep sense of who I am, and I do try to be as generous as I can with what I have to offer others, and the world.Where I’m going, and being happy more often than not, well that’s a whole other story.

I am 38 years old.

I feel anxious at the first question of “what do you do for a living?”. I enjoy teaching, I think it is in my soul and my nature to teach others and to work with children, but I am afraid. It is hard. Doing something new when you’re not a spring chicken is hard. Starting from the bottom when you’re tired of ladders is hard. Being optimistic about teaching while abhorring the current politics of education is hard. Leaving full-time motherhood is hard.I am blessed in many ways, but the place I’m in is not where I want to be. This is complicated by not knowing exactly where I want to be. Knowing for me comes more easily in what I don’t want.

I don’t want to feel sad.

I don’t want to be overweight. I hate so desperately that my outer being isn’t reflective of my inner being. I hate being restricted by my body. I hate even more how many times I have failed at changing it, and how incredibly endless and insurmountable the tunnel to change feels. I hate feeling that no matter what else I achieve in my life, my body will always communicate my biggest failure.I don’t want to feel that there are no good job opportunities for me.

I hate knowing that I’m less willing to make compromises at this stage in my life, and also hate that that limits my options. I hate not feeling energized and enthusiastic about embracing a new path.I don’t want to feel trapped financially into living in this condo forever. I hate knowing that we are experiencing the consequences of not having made better decisions in our early married life, and I hate that we’re aggravating that by paying collegiate tuition for elementary school. I hate resenting that, because I know that it also happens to be the best choice right now for our particular child.

And I don’t want to feel sad and indecisive about the prospect of trying to have another child because of finances, age or fear of physical limitions. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let my husband down. I hate the sadness that enters my heart when I am trying to be happy for others with babies on the way.

I don’t want to feel like a crappy spouse. I don’t want to be one of those couples who realizes too late that they gave everything they had to their children instead of each other. I don’t want to not have the energy and focus for him, or for ‘us’.

I also don’t want to feel like a crappy friend. I don’t want to keep losing touch with people, or to not make social efforts out of exhaustion or depression.

I am 38 years old.

High time to start sorting this all out.

§ One Response to “The place I’m in… a wandering but honest post”

  • Mom says:

    You are a perfectionist living in an imperfect world.
    You have accomplished more, and have done it better, than anyone I know, (and this isn’t just proud-mother-talk!)

    Papa gave me the wonderful gift of showing how someone (himself) could be happy in any place and any situation. He was never rich or famous, nor did he want to be, but was content to know he was doing his best at whatever came his way.

    Gran, likewise, was able to accept life as it came. Though she experienced sadness, she was always able to look forward to new advertures instead of grieving the past.

    You have an innate gift for learning, absorbing, creating and teaching; you have a wonderful, devoted (though a little nutty) husband; you have a delightful, highly intelligent daughter. The perfection that you think should exist doesn’t, for anyone or any situation.

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