Draft Post written in March, 2013
Yesterday, I swept my floors twice, I cleaned four out of five of the bathrooms in our house (Why do we have so many damn toilets??), I made three square meals for my family, I wiped little bums, tucked in sleepy children and did two loads of laundry. If you threw in some ironing of my husbands shirts (which he has banned me from doing, because I suck at it), I would be the picture perfect 1950's housewife.
Trust me, this is not what I pictured my life to be like when I was a 20-something, career-focused gal, with sights set on MAKING MY MARK IN THIS WORLD. I am not quite sure what I had pictured, but it was probably somewhere in between these two. I have always been a bossy, know what I want kind of person, and I have a bit of a flair for the dramatic, so you see, equal parts Hillary and Gaga and there was my future me, Grown-up Natasha - Making her Mark!
So what happened? Where is that woman? Was that her yesterday, yellow-gloved and elbow deep scrubbing toilets?
I have moments lately where I look at myself and I wonder if I really do know myself. Do I know what my purpose in life is and am I living that fully? How exactly am I making my mark?
A lot of questions I know. Yes, I am a mother and I am making my mark by moulding the minds of these two little people in my care, and that is the single greatest (and scariest) responsibility and privilege in my life. Perhaps it is because I am not as young as I used to be and that feeling of "Go forth and DO something BIG and meaningful" seems to be slipping away as the years go by. Maybe this is a normal kind of thing that happens to people when a parent dies. We see their lives, their regrets, the things that they wish they had done differently and wonder if we too will be on our death beds, asking for forgiveness, wishing we had done more, trying to find peace, hoping it was all enough.
This grief stuff is tricky. I am fine for days and then I go through the so-called "five stages of grief" like it's some kind of morose Candy Crush game. Denial of my own still present anger, and then angry for feeling anger, then I think about how (or if) my life would have been different had he been in it, then I try to wash it all away in my happy place and be at peace with what is/was. Most days I complete all the levels and try to move on, and others I get stuck with that one piece of jelly that I just can't clear. One nagging thought that won't leave me, one piece of the puzzle that I wish I had, but that I know I will never likely find.
Right now I am stuck here: Am I enough?
I wonder if we all reacted so viscerally to the infamous "Are you Mom Enough" Time magazine cover, because perhaps deep down we really do wonder this very thing about ourselves? Are we mom enough? Are we woman enough? Are we wife enough? Are we contributing member of society enough?
The thing is, I don't want to just be enough. I want to be more. I want to be spectacular. I want my children to look at me and see the Hillary/Gaga Natasha and be inspired by her. To know that they can be whatever they want to be and then some! That yes, they can have it all, but perhaps just not all at the same time. Maybe this is my problem.
I used to be the primary breadwinner in this family. I was the one with the upwardly mobile career, the accolades and awards and incentive trips and an eye on climbing that ladder to the top. And then things changed. The new life growing inside me became the top priority, and life in general became less and less about me.
I feel like I am at a point in my life where I want that back somewhat. I want my life to be about me again. Not all about the mothering, the housewife-ing, the keeping it all together for everyone else-ing. Oh dear, that's it isn't it? I am having a bloody mid-life crisis! The status quo is no longer satisfying me and I need more. More what exactly, I don't know. I have no desire for a sports car or a young Brad Pitt a la Thelma & Louise. I don't want to go back to my previous career path.
I JUST DON'T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE.
I don't want to feel this feeling of just getting through my days as fast as possible. How soon until school drop off, pick up, this lesson, that class, dinner, bedtime... My life in one to two hour increments of wondering how much of it I get for me. It really shouldn't be like this. I shouldn't feel like this.
I have a wonderful life. A husband who loves me, two amazing, healthy, beautiful children, an incredible roof over our heads, I do not want for anything.
And yet... this feeling that there must be more. That I should be doing more, being more. It's nagging me like crazy lately.
This might also explain my reluctance to get together with people. I can't handle all the questions. How are you? What are you doing now? What's new?
NOTHING! Nothing is new. And I am NOT well. And I am not really doing a whole lot of anything that would interest anyone outside of my immediate family.
But no one wants to hear that. No one wants to hear that I have days when I really wish I could be anywhere else but here. That I can hear my children asking me to play with them, but I just can't do it. That I hope that they can tell that my hugs are desperately trying to tell them that I am trying...
...really, really hard.
I wrote this shortly after my father passed away in early 2013. It was before I started taking antidepressants and just after I started therapy as well. My kids were 3 and 5 and it was still 1 year before the Summer of Sepsis & Stroke (as I am now calling it.)
It's quite the ramble and my thoughts are all over the place, which I believe is a testament to the chaos I was feeling in my mind that desperatley needed organizing.
As mothers, I am not sure we ever fully believe we are ENOUGH in this life or for these little people we love. Since I wrote this, I have learned to make my life more fulfilling for myself and ask for or take what I need, when I need it - with a lot less guilt then previously.
I am MORE now and I was always enough (and you are too!)
P.S. ALSO - can I just say that I was totally #WITHHER (Hillz that is) way before the election!