I’ve been pondering how I would write this post for some time now…and I must admit, I’m still not completely clear how to communicate exactly what’s going through my noggin. It has a little to do with my current station in life (mommy, homemaker, doer-of-all-things-laundry-dishes-and-other-scrubbing), and a little to do with this feeling I can’t seem to knock – the feeling that I’m not living up to my potential or experiencing life because I’m now “just a mom.”
(Before you get up in arms with me about not loving being a mom, please allow yourself to stand corrected. I *DO* love being a mom – more than anything – but this post is more about the things that I miss. It’s about the things that have moved aside to make room for incessant laundry, bread baking, vacuuming and butt wiping. You get it.)
So there are kind of two parts to this story. First, I keep wondering if it’s okay to “just be a mom.” I know women who work full-time jobs, run non-profit organizations, write books, CHANGE THE WORLD for heaven’s sake, AND THEY HAVE KIDS, and they all seem to take it in stride. But I will say that one thing I totally didn’t expect before becoming a mommy was the notion that perhaps going back to work after baby actually IS the easier choice. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t do it. The thought of leaving my baby at home without her mommy just rips me apart.
But then again…
Maybe I could? Maybe after a few days (weeks?) of being back at work, I’d get used to it. Maybe I’d revel in the ability to type an email with TWO hands instead of one, and I’d actually get to have a conversation with someone that involves more than one-syllable words spoken in a sing-song voice. Maybe.
No, I don’t think so. I like staying at home with Harper. But I definitely have a different perspective on being a stay-at-home mom now. It’s hard stuff. Seriously. Gone are the days when I thought moms sat around and watched Oprah all day. No, my days are filled with doing laundry, changing sheets, scrubbing toilets, buying groceries, going back to buy the groceries I forgot earlier, etc., etc. And then, when I finally think I’m caught up, I have to do it all over again.
Then, there’s the second part to this post. If it’s not okay to just be a mom (or if I just don’t WANT to be just-a-mom), how can I become extraordinary at anything? Is it even possible? And why do I even WANT to be so damn awesome? Perhaps I feel like I am wasting my potential by being barefoot in the kitchen with a baby on my hip. (Or, maybe it’s just buyer’s remorse from all the student loans I’ll be paying back for the next gazillion years…and look at how much use I’m getting out of those.)
My point is, I hardly have time to wipe the spit-up off my baby’s face, much less learn the latest trends in photography, write a knitting pattern from scratch or brush up on my web design skills. And honestly, with the internet, pretty much anyone can claim to be an expert in anything nowadays – and actually fool many people into thinking they know what they’re doing. Take for example how everyone I know (and their mom) seems to be a “lifestyle photographer” now.
Well, shit. I have a nice camera. And I downloaded The Pioneer Woman’s free filters. I EVEN HAVE PHOTOSHOP. Take that!
…and I’m a professional photographer.
J/K. (Please, my professional photographer friends, don’t take that last rant the wrong way. I simply used that example to prove a point. I could have said the same about web programmers or bloggers. Or heck, even real estate agents. The barriers to entry on all of those career paths are pretty low.) My point is that I don’t even get that much satisfaction anymore out of becoming “good” at something because most things are just so damn easy, anyway. In order to be regarded as really fabulous at something, you have to actually be REALLY FABULOUS at it. Otherwise, you’re just another number in a sea of mediocre, nameless wannabes. At least, that’s how I look at it.
So then there’s the issue of picking something at which to become extraordinary. I like knitting, so maybe I could design knitting patterns and sell them on Ravelry. I could go back to knocking on doors and cold calling for real estate listings. I mentioned photography before…and it’s fun. So maybe I could do that? Or how about blogging? Or general crafting? Fabric design? I’ve even thought about becoming a doula and helping laboring women give birth. I could do any number of things, I’m sure. But I would never get very good at any one of them – especially not with my new-found time constraints.
I find myself back where I started. I want to be awesome at something…AT ANYTHING. I want people to say, “WOW, you are so good at _________.” (I can admit that.) But first and foremost, I want to be a great mom.
Maybe that’s just it. Maybe being an extraordinary mom is exactly the right thing for me right now. Maybe I’m all upset over nothing, and this, too, shall pass. And once it does, I’ll realize I was doing what I was best at all along.
I’m sure this little one would agree…