I've been quiet on the blog lately, and I'm feeling the effects. Writing, to me, is like therapy. I think that a lot of women process things by talking about them, and I do too, but writing is when I am able to process things the best. Maybe because I'm just talking with myself, really. I usually don't even know how I feel about something until I start writing about it, and then the answer is Just! So! Clear! And obvious. Thus, therapy.
My life is a little like a self help book lately, and that's probably why I haven't been writing much. I have several drafts written, but they ring false when I read them back, which is why they are staying drafts. What is true is that there is life transformation stuff going on over here, and 1.) I'm not sure that this is very interesting to anyone but me and 2.) It's kinda personal. I'm not a super private person, but I haven't come to the end of this self-discovery period yet, and it feels weird to share about it when I haven't come to terms with what it all Means quite yet. I guess I'm writing this to find out. Or at least take a step in that direction.
I don't know what happened to me six months ago, but I feel like I woke up and looked around and said, "No, this isn't exactly the life I want to lead. I'm NOT HAPPY and that is no longer ok." All the pieces were there, but they weren't fitting just right. Then, in typical fashion, I read some books, and I had some Thoughts, and started making Thought Changes. About myself. And I'm kind of still on that process.
Then came husband. And I've written about that. We are still in the process, but it is so much better than it was a few months ago.
So I guess I thought that I was doing pretty good with the whole life situation. I do think that, actually, but I realized that I'm not done. That maybe I'll never be done, and that's ok. (Self help book, see? I hate people who talk like this and now I am one.)
My husband and I were talking the other night and it was all going just fine and wonderful, and then right before we went to bed he said, "I wish that you could be more relaxed like you are right now in the morning, too. You just always seem so stressed."
Now I know that this came from a good intention, really. He was honestly trying to help me by pointing out that evening time me (post kid bedtime) and morning time me (STRESS! Do all of the things and get all the people to their places) are two totally different people.
But I took it pretty personally. Of course I'm bitchy in the morning. It's not a fun time to be a mom, really. There's a million things I have to do in order to ensure that the day runs smoothly. My mind is running at warp speed and people just need to get out of my way so that I can do my stuff to make their lives better. See, I'm already seeing how ridiculous that sounds just by typing it out. "I know I'm being rude, but it's because I love you so much!" It's intense.
Then I got mad at him, like "How dare you put that pressure on me to be nice when I already feel so much pressure anyway? I don't have control over my mood and just back the fuck up already." Nice.
We both went to bed a little mad that night, to be honest. But it stuck with me, and I've had to think about this. Why am I in such a bad mood every morning? What's the worst that could happen if I let things slide a little and just relaxed about things? What if I actually enlisted the kids and the husband in helping me? Why do I take this all on myself? Is my idea of how the mornings need to run even right?
It's shocking to the system to learn that your idea of what is right could actually be wrong, or even just unnecessary. That the stress that I feel could all be self induced. That life could be so much better if I just calmed down about things a little.
Because I overthink things, I started thinking about where this idea came from, that things need to run a certain way. I don't buy into the traditional gender roles, so it's not that I feel like I need to do these things because I'm the wife and mother. I'm not afraid to ask my husband to do something just because he's the breadwinner. I don't consider it my job to keep the house clean. I consider it my job to keep our kids alive. Stay at home mom doesn't necessarily mean Suzie Homemaker to me.
I say that, but it's ringing a little false. When I say that I don't feel that way, what I mean is that I don't feel that way in connection to my family. My husband certainly doesn't make me feel that way, otherwise, I probably wouldn't have married him. But in society, I totally feel that way.
When I became a parent, I thought that I knew what parenting was, what it was supposed to look like. So I did those things. That is what I was Supposed to Do. I'm very good at knowing what I'm supposed to do. I've been doing those things, or purposely bucking those things, all my life.
The examples that we are missing in society is that of Mom who is also Person. We see Mom as Pinterest perfect. There are a million articles on parenting and I ate that shit up. I drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago. Being Mom means that you tamp down those sides of you that may take away time from being Mom. Being Mom supercedes every other part of your being, and we're just supposed to do that and be happy about it.
Last night, my husband and I were talking and I said that I felt more like me since we had our big divorce conversation. It's opened a lot of conversation between the two of us, and I feel like we are being so much more honest with each other. I said that I feel like I'm 10% me and 90% mom now. I think that surprised him, that it was so little me, so he asked me what percentage of me I felt like six months ago. And I said, "Maybe 0.5%"
Years, people! Years, I have felt like this and not said anything. And that makes both of us really sad. Because we had these ideas in our heads about how Mom and Dad look and act, and we just did them, but we kind of hated it. And we were maybe feeling guilty about hating it because what parent says that they hate parenting? So we didn't say anything to each other, or even to ourselves, and it just got deeper and deeper.
To clarify, I do not hate parenting. What I hate is how society expects us to parent.
We are not rule followers, he and I. We question everything. So why did we not question this major thing?
The revelation is that we probably imposed these impossible ideals onto ourselves.
Ok, Mark Doty, so what?
It seems almost impossible to blend the "real" me with the Mom me. In different environments, I am different percentages. At work, I am something like 95% me. The Mom me is always there, but it's just not a thing there. At the kids' school, I am something like 85% Mom me. I am there, after all, for the kids. These are two extremes, and I guess that I am just now noticing how far apart they are.
I don't have the answer, but the self help book in me is saying that it's ok just to know that there's a question.
The Mom me is screaming, "No! We don't talk about this stuff. Go back and do some laundry or something! You should feel terrible about yourself for even having these thoughts. Guilt! Guilt! Guilt! Go play with your kids."
The truth is, I'm done apologizing. I've always been the kind of person who feels the need to apologize for things for which an apology is entirely unnecessary. I don't know why I do that. It's not serving me anymore, so I'm going to let that go.
What I do affects a lot of people, peripherally, but it mainly affects five people primarily. I think those five people would be a lot happier with real me, so I'm going to try to do that. It's a little scary, to be honest. It feels a little cliché to be having an identity crisis right now. I feel too young for the midlife thing (gross). I don't know where I'm going to land, and I may lose friendships because of this.
I had to think about that for a second, losing friendships. But honestly, I don't really want to be friends with those people anyway, if they're not going to be cool with real me. I'd rather just know that upfront and save us all a lot of time.
Maybe that's the crux of it, wasted time. I saw a meme this morning that said, "One day you'll laugh at how much you let this matter." Yep. It's that, exactly. None of this matters. None of it. It's all made up. It's literally all in my head and I am just now seeing that. I guess it's time to actually figure out what I think of things instead.