Monday, July 11, 2011

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I am slowly coming back down to earth after my marvelous visit to my favorite city.  The problem with looking forward to something for so long is that you don't quite know what to feel once it's over.  Needless to say, it was a brilliant adventure (thanks, A!).  And while I was happy to return to my sweet sleeping children, my tired husband (thanks again, honey!), and my very own home, I am always sad to leave THE place that makes me feel so very alive.

As I don't normally get uninterrupted time to read, I had decided on some light entertainment for my train travels.  The book I chose to bring along was about a single professional girl living in Manhattan, about my age.  The character is at a point where she is questioning what she wants out of life and whether or not she'd even be able to play the role of the "good Mother" who makes necklaces out of Cheerios and plans blow out birthday parties for her kids.  The character passes a comment that stay-at-home Mothers know what every day, month, and year are going to look like for at least the next decade.  Their lives are determined by their children's lives and schedules.

Reading that made me feel sick.  And as a stay-at-home Mother, I am not sure I agree.  Or perhaps I don't want to think about the truth that may lie in her comment.  I am a planner, so the idea of knowing what the next decade looks like is oddly reassuring.  At the same time, I am not a fan of the next decade of my life being structured only by my children's academic calendars and extra curricular activities. 

This leads me to the feeling alive thing.  Being in NYC with friends who knew me before I was a Mama reminded me of what it feels like to be me.  Just me.  Christine.  Not the wife part and not the Mother part.  The me that used to have a job on Madison Avenue. The me that used to have a seriously active social life.  The me that traveled, had fun, and a whole lot less responsibility.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, because I have almost everything I used to dream of having.  I realize I am a grown up now and will never be that carefree girl again.  And that's more than OK.  But something about being on my own for the first weekend in over a year got me to thinking, how can I get this feeling more?  Frequent independent travel is not doable for the foreseeable future, but would having a paid job outside the home give me that feeling back?  Would having an identity outside of this family give me the independence and exposure to humanity that I seem to be missing?

These are serious questions which I've been facing for some time.  And while I go back and forth on what the ideal plan for our family is, I am now realizing that the dream scenario has to include what is best for my family AND  for me.  While I can't run off to Manhattan whenever I need some feeling alive time, I want to remember the importance of that feeling.  My quest for balance between Motherhood and personal independence is not a new one, but it certainly has come back to the forefront of my mind.

While I'm not going to figure this all out today, sometimes it just feels good to spit out my confusion and questions to the universe and see what comes back my way.

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