My life is a big question mark and right next to the question mark is a big exclamation point. It’s all what if’s and man, I’m so fortunate and this is exciting but what am I doing's.
Cause I don’t know how to do it. This.
How do I move into this new phase? What’s the end game? What’s the exit strategy for stay-at-home moms? And, of course, my specialty: newly single stay-at-home moms? Now my situation is not SO different. It just shines the light on this problem a little brighter. All stay-at-home moms ask at some point: what am I equipped to do? Who is going to help me do this? What do I want to do? Can I even risk asking if it’s possible? Is there any other way?
And the kicker in my case is that the financial need for a job has crash-landed with my absolute need to pursue my dream job right now.
And this on top of the fact that I’m still 100% a mother. That doesn’t change. I’m needed in all the same ways. My chores and all the expectations are all still there. Now though there is so much more to do and worry about and achieve. It’s hard not to be a little resentful. I sit on my back stoop and I wonder.
Am I less a mother, am I less maternal, because I am ready to move on? Was I misrepresenting myself all these years?
Can a woman be more or less maternal? Or is maternal just maternal?
Something we’re born with. No more negotiable than our femininity. We’re female; we’re feminine. We’re mothers; we’re maternal.
Mothers, and women in general, get pigeon-holed this way all the time. Like the old Victorian chestnuts of needing to be lady-like and of being careful not to act like a man. How can I NOT be lady-like? And unless I’m wearing a fake moustache, how can I be ACTING like a man?
Quite honestly, I’m more than over it.
The double standard was present in my marriage and it’s present outside of it. It’s presently holding me back.
There are precious few paths to follow out of the forest.
What have women done in the past? How have they managed? What was the path of my foremothers? My guess is that that knowledge, that wisdom, has just not been considered valuable enough information to be passed on. What mothers do is invisible, un-rewarded and not just that, but suffering from a bad stomachache from all the trips up and down the ivory tower. Hard to climb in these high heels and lady-like dresses and acting like it’s all no big deal.
Golly gee, we could do it with our eyes closed.
It’s not that easy. It’s not easy at all. For anyone.
It’s shit work. Pretending it’s anything less diminishes it. And saying out loud that it’s a shit job doesn’t tarnish it. A surgeon with his hands up all’n up someone’s colon has a shit job too. It’s still a lovely vocation.
To not really look at moms through the lens of reality is to not see mothers as individuals. We’re not all going to do this the same way. No one’s life looks like anyone else’s. Moms are all connected by sleepless nights and wiped butts and a true understanding of the word “sacrifice”, but we are all different. Even within our distinct mommy war bunkers. The breastfeeding mom still loses her temper and gives her kids Doritos. The mom who brings home KFC every night makes her kids washes behind her kids’s ears religiously and never swears in front of them. That PTA President who thought she’d be a natural mother cries in the night wondering if she’s failing her kids.
For our own selves and the sake of future moms, we need to ease up. No one’s perfect at this. And God, it’s hard.
I know men struggle with the nature of masculinity, but it’s different. To become a mother is to change forever and never return to that other person, and not just inside, but in society’s eyes. You must re-make yourself in the public eye.
I don’t always feel ready for my life to change. I like the old routine. It’s familiar. And most of the time, I do not want to be apart from my kids. But my life is changing, forcibly, in so many ways. The push-pull right now is my biggest complaint. My neck flared up as I wrote that. Can’t seem to get anything DONE and I know that everyone feel that way, but I feel in caps that there is SO MUCH AT STAKE.
The pressure is INTENSE. And all I wanna do is write and make my show. That’s all that drives me. I am pretty much unhappy if I’m doing anything else.
I know, right now and forever, that I will fail at every venture that resides outside the scope of my greatest dream.
If this does not work out for me, if I don’t achieve my dream which I should stop calling “my dream” cause it makes it sound unreal and it is, in fact, very much here…if my reality doesn’t soon, very soon, begin to resemble the picture in my head than there is nothing in this world I understand. Nothing would make sense. Right now, serializing my life is the only thing that makes sense. I want to sit down in front of my computer, walk on a film set, hunker down in an editing bay…and never leave.