In a professional meeting today, and friend of mine mentioned her blogs. Always eager to find commonalities, I responded that I have blogs, too, but that I don't keep up with them. I frequently have much to mentally unload, but find I am otherwise occupied when I actually have time to let it out. Today, though, I decided that I would make it a point to update my blogs weekly. So to catch up as much as I can, I will address a few topics that have been weighing on me.
Money:This is a big one. Next month, I'll be moving out of the fabulous old house I am currently renting. I can no longer manage the rent... I say that like I ever could. It's never been a financially comfortable place to live, but I loved it so when I first viewed it. It is nearly everything I've ever wanted in a home, but now I have to give it up. The house itself has many internal issues, but I liked how I felt coming home to a mature and respectable house that reflected my personality. I feel now that I'm demoting my adulthood by moving into a smaller, less interesting duplex. People in their 20's live in duplexes. I'm nearing mid-30's; I should be more on my way by now. But I'm not. Even with the imminent move and therefore greatly decreased rent, I feel that I will never get back on my feet financially. I will always need to rely on my parents' to provide grocery funds and gas money. I'm doing everything I can outside of a second job to make more of an income. I'm working on my masters online, I'm working in an after school tutoring program, I plan to begin a 1-3 year rigorous certification process this spring that could solve my problems when accomplished. Money, or the lack thereof, is on my mind constantly. My tax return should relieve some current IOU's, but I'm not sure there will be any left to cushion the following months. I went to school and busted my butt to get a good job so I could be comfortable; why aren't I?
Babies:Pregnancy is running rampant at my place of employment. Including the fellow whose wife just gave birth last month, the total so far is 6 expectant teachers at my school. All but 1 are firsts. I am, of course, terribly thrilled for them as I know the love a child can bring, but it makes me wonder if I will ever have more. Obviously, many happenings would need to occur before a baby could, but I'm not completely opposed to another if life were to take that (sharp) turn. I've given myself 3 more healthy fertile years before I'm just too old. That's a pretty narrow window considering where I stand now. But it's not baby envy that I'm experiencing the strongest, it's pregnancy envy. Well, not the act of being pregnant, but the sought after pregnancy, the pregnancy we've always wanted, the "we're all so excited" pregnancy. Mine was none of those. I was happy to have Maysie on her way, but it was so mixed with shame and embarrassment and excuses that I had to dig through all of that to find the joy. Don't get me wrong, others around me warmed up to the idea, too. But there was no big announcement followed by hugs and congratulations. I received gasps and screwed-up faces, and looks of pity. Even my mother was too embarrassed to tell her sisters right away (I've not ever known that to happen). "You can tell them," is what I was told. And it wasn't because it was my good news either. Now, I guess my biggest curiosity translates to jealousy. I would do it again just to know what it feels like to be pregnant together, to leave the hospital together, to wake up those first few nights together, to be admired for what I've done, what we'd have done together.
The previous topic segues nicely to my last, not untouched upon, area of focus for the evening.
Getting back to me:Is it selfish to want to find myself again? I love being Maysie's mommy; I would not ever go back again to life without her, but I miss me. It seems that so much that I identified myself with, all those uniquities that I liked about myself, I've had to give up in order to raise Maysie the best that I can alone. I've not acted in a main stage production since the weeks before her birth, I hardly have time to create art because I feel inspired, even if I do find inspiration everywhere, I'm too tired after her bed time to do anything about it. Or else I have too much to accomplish in the short hours between our bedtimes that does not include painting or writing, or scrapbooking. I miss hosting gathering for my friends, I miss the stage, I miss...... the me I was before I was a mommy. And here envy rears an ugly head again. I have a dear friend who shares with me the love of performing. She recently gave birth to her first child. When I heard of her pregnancy, in addition to feeling happy for them, I felt that she, too, would be where I am soon. She, too, would feel herself slip away into parenthood. She would have less time for dancing and the stage. She did no longer audition for the parts she had earned for the last few years, but she still managed to choreograph. So she hasn't been the leading lady, but she still teaches workshops and choreographs and is sought after for her talent. She's not excluded from the circuit she's created because of her child, as I feel I have been. How does she get away with it? One answer is simple; her son is not yet walking. The other: DADDY. Her son has one, a good one. They share parenting responsibilities because they both want to be his parents. In return, they get to keep themselves, too.
I'm trying to slowly work my way back to me, but it would require time away from my sweet child. For others, it's sharing, but I'm all she has. So the guilt is overpowering. My mom likes to remind me how much Maysie misses me when I have to work long, so the proposed idea of trying for the summer musical this year was met with disapproval. I would never get to see Maysie, was what my mother's response was. That is quite an exaggeration, but my Maysie time over the summer would be reduced by a few hours almost every evening. Is that so bad? Is it wrong to want to be somewhere doing something that I love without Maysie? It doesn't mean that I don't love her or want to be with her, it just means that I like to have a life outside of parenthood. Many folks have told me that this is okay; they do it, too. But their babies have daddies. So how do I find the balance between single parenthood and myself without feeling guilty?