Prefix: Following the birth of my first child, Mike had a near-death experience. In an attempt to help me see the light, he informed me that I was “lucky that I got to stay home all day” and that he ”wished he could be a stay-at-home dad”. Fast forward to 2011: I still recall this intrepid statement every Monday morning as I watch him skip merrily out the door to go to work and forget he has a family for 9 solid hours. Interesting.
This past week I underwent a 1/3 of my life (assuming everything goes as planned and I don’t die in some routine plastic surgery procedure) identity crisis. My youngest daughter started preschool and I was suddenly sanctified with twelve solid hours a week to myself. I promptly went down to the social security office to change my last name since I have been married for 7 years now. I mailed our daughter’s birth announcements that had been sitting in the office for 6 years. Unfortunately, for our second child, a public declaration of her birth never materialized on my radar screen since I was more focused on other things like remembering to eat and blink. (So, in case you had not heard the exciting news, we had another baby 4 years ago! She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was born at 12:39 pm!) And then I sat down and stared at our annual home owner’s insurance bill wondering exactly what day the world is supposed to come to an end in 2012 so I could prorate it to that date.
Having children has undeniably changed me and given me purpose to exist; it has also given me humility and amnesia. I am momentarily stumped when I am filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office, especially when they throw in a trick question like “Name___________?” or my personal favorite “Sex?_________” and I immediately scribble in “too tired” or “cramps”. I detect nothing unusual about crawling around on all fours pretending I am a dog lapping water out of a Tupperware container. I only clean up the fort in my dining room when it is my year to host Thanksgiving or when I need a sheet because somebody barfed in bed. My kids recently asked if they could try on my wedding dress and I agreed that they could go play Warren Jeff’s child brides if I could just please have 10 minutes alone. And when I am playing dolls with my children, I always let Barbie move out of the dream house and into her own apartment.
Sooooooooooo, I have made the decision to be proactive rather than scared of my newly allotted freedom. I am going to conquer my fear of being alone with myself and lovingly embrace that my role is changing, my world is once again expanding and self introspection is not necessarily a condemnation to personal hell. Apparently and surprisingly, I am still employable as I was graciously offered a job at Subway last week but turned it down because I want to write more (and I would feel weird getting paid to touch meat).
I also read this is the time when many married women start to question their sexuality. I feel confident that this is a concern I have been spared, as I have been felt up by countless women in the last month asking me who my surgeon was and I did not find myself becoming even slightly aroused. I also know it will take time for me to relearn how to poop all alone with the door closed. Baby steps Erin.
In conclusion, I have no idea what I am doing with my life. Part of me wants my precious, beautiful, delightful children to stay little forever but I know that is not possible. I am blindly trusting that the Universe has not accidentally overlooked me and it is simply time to move forward as is the predictable impermeance of life. Excuse me but I have to go to the bathroom now. XO