I’ll admit it. I was very very introverted this winter, and now as the flowers are opening, and the trees are starting to bloom, and leaf out, I’m starting to bloom a little too. It was a hard winter. We moved. Tommy is putting in long hours at work and doing a ton of personal career advancement work. If I’m being honest (and I am) it’s been pretty rocky.
The girls are on spring break this week, and even though there is no sign of our hectic pace slowing down, I’m just feeling great…after a longish stint of not feeling great.
I’ve been mulling over how to post something about this tough time…so far I’ve come up short, but I’m determined to get it out. I’m usually completely content with my role. I like being the background, rather than being front and center. It’s uncomfortable for me to be in front of many people or to get too much attention.
I suppose that’s one of the reasons I married an extrovert. We compliment each other well. However, when I see him struggle, like now when he is working so hard to advance his career, and I can’t do much of anything about it…I tend to move in a million directions. It’s hard to explain. I feel pulled to help him research or then I think that what I need to do is get a job so that I can help support the family financially to take stress off of him, and then I think that actually that would just bring about different stress. So I think I should start a business on the side. Or maybe I should just focus on keeping the house going really really well so that he doesn’t have to worry about chores, etc.
That uncertainty and questioning of my role is only part of it. There’s a darker, murkier aspect. I’m also jealous of him. While at the same time not wanting to trade places. What he does is visible to others. Not only is it visible, but it gets compensated. People notice him as a professional. People actually ask him about his work. No one asks about mine…aside from other stay at home moms. Some days feel like I might be trapped in a never ending cycle of kids wanting things from me. Those are not fun days.
Being the support person means that so much of what you do is only noticed in relationship to what doesn’t get done. I doubt anyone notices that I carefully brush and put my girls’ hair up every single morning. But I’ve had people rudely comment about a child with a tangle in the back of their hair. Certainly no one can see that I have cleaned the toilet twice in one day. But anyone using the bathroom would notice, with disgust, the evidence of a filthy throne. No one notices clean dishes…only the absence of them. So much of what I do on a day to day basis is absolutely and utterly invisible. And sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes that’s painful.
Why do I even care what others think or notice? There is intrinsic value in raising children. There is value in doing all the background work to keep this family afloat. It’s just hard to see that through poopy diapers, afternoons spent nursing, mop water, and chauffeur service.
However, lately it feels like maybe I’m turning a corner. I’m on a roll. I’ve been catching up on bill paying and budget planning this last week. Finances are tight, but we’ve weathered that storm many times before. Today feels joyful.
I’ve come up with a new laundry system for myself, and my day feels a lot less like endless piles of laundry…In fact, I mentioned to a friend recently that I think I may have conquered laundry. It’s been a month without an underwear or towel crisis. I’d love to share more about that in a future post if anyone is interested.
We’re eating good home-cooked meals on the regular.
I’ve been seeing and talking to more friends lately.
The kids got along great today.
Today my work feels valuable. That’s a lot to be grateful for. It isn’t always the case.
What do your dark moments look like? How do you turn it around?