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On not going anywhere

I struggle with the feeling that I am not going anywhere. Physically or metaphorically. Life used to be measured by my moving from one place to another, or from one thing to another. Performances, academic accomplishments, paychecks, auditions, rehearsals, new addresses, new wards, new relationships, new hobbies, new kinds of fun, new chapters in my life’s book. I’ve entered a new chapter, but I feel like I’ll be staying in the same chapter for such a long time. With no foreseeable end in sight, the day to day tasks can be a little dull. Not because I don’t like being in my home or with my children, but because it is hard to see the progression, successes, accomplishments, or any kind of movement in motherhood. It all takes place pretty much in the same place with the same people. It involves a certain level of homebody-ness just because that’s the nature of life with small children. There are a lot of repeats, no way to measure growth or change other than the number of diapers changed in a day or the weight of each of my children as the months pass.

I read that with each birth, new mothers may have to allow a period of transition to let go of their old life and accept the new one they are in. The transition with my first child was the greatest adjustment. No more personal time, no more time spent doing my hair, no more dancing or competing or activities of any kind really, not even time to eat a peaceful meal by myself.
With my second child, the old life included the easiness of getting in the car to go to Target. It included the ability to have my child bathed and dressed well every single day. It included all household chores getting done. It included some slow lazy days when I was actually kind of bored. The new life I had to accept was different. It meant no easy trips in the car anywhere ever. The children are not always dressed as I would like or with hair nicely combed. There are never lazy days, but there is also new joy.

Now that Finn is 13 months, we are entering another slow phase where I am filling my days with mundane tasks that are not quite as urgent or hectic as they were in the “newborn” days. Rose is almost 4 and is acting more like a little girl rather than a toddler and is inquisitive and interested. My children are always delightful to me, but right now they are more so because they are both in an easier phase than they were a year ago. And I should probably be grateful! And I am! But I am also very much feeling that slowness and am itching for something new or for more projects to tackle. Every day is very full, but I feel like the days are slipping by in some strange way, like I’m not really living–I’m just kind of existing. Does that sound weird? I am very goal-oriented, so it helps to revisit some of the long and short term goals I made. Like… is this a good time to take up the violin? Probably not. How am I doing in all those various categories I wrote about? Maybe I could take that class. Should I go to another audition?

I am not a homebody at all. I like going places and getting out in the sunshine and having a reason to get dressed for the day. But there is a lot of time spent at home as a mom… who’da thunk?! I really miss going out on Friday and Saturday nights, being out and about in the car with the lights of the dashboard glowing, having had a chance to get dressed up and go relax or go out to eat. And then I remember how lucky I am to be a stay-at-home mom and that I can be there for my children while they are little. I am grateful. I am. This is just an ever-present feeling for me. I have to make a conscious effort to stave off feelings of restlessness and fill my life. I had a counselor tell me to that you can fight depression by listening to music, getting outside, exercising, and doing service. I try to do all of them as much as possible. They seem to help. One day I was running on the treadmill and listening to music, and I was thinking how I was doing what she suggested… and then I realized the irony in the fact that I was running… and I still wasn’t going anywhere!

Anyway. These are wonderful days that I know I will look back and remember fondly for the rest of my life. But I still feel like I’m not going anywhere.

2 thoughts on “On not going anywhere

  1. Ah, Jessica, you WILL look back at this time as quite lovely. When Wayne was Finn's age Laurie was a month old. Addie was 3 and Nancy was 9. I found them all jolly good company! Not ALL the time…but
    most of the time.

    Like

  2. Yes yes and yes. You want to soak in every moment of motherhood, but sometimes it's just so…boring. And yet it's nap time so you can't really do anything. Yes. I agree. 100%.

    Like

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