Thursday, January 13, 2011

Letting go

I ran across a list of things every woman should do (or be doing) by the time they are 30. Most of them were trite, but one really stuck with me: let go of your illusions about yourself.  Sometime in the past year, I've come to grips with a very difficult truth about myself: I am a better mom when I'm not a full time stay-at-home mom.  The kids are in daycare about 25 hours a week, and that seems to be the perfect balance for me.  I can get out, do "adult" things, get my brain dusted off and working, and most importantly, start to miss them.  Then, when I get them from school, I have restocked my store of patience and want to do nothing more than love on them and play with them.

It was hard to admit that I did not enjoy being a stay at home mom, nor was I that good at it. When I was pregnant with T, and discussing my work options, someone told me "Happy Mommies make happy kids." I didn't know what would make me happy at that point, but I knew it wasn't working 60 hours a week and only seeing my kids on weekends.  As it turns out, it isn't being with them all the time either.  So, maybe I don't have as much influence over language or socialization as I'd like.  But I also enjoy my time with them and they enjoy my time with them and we're all much happier. And hey, they'll be Jersey-English bilingual. So there's that.

In that spirit, here are some more things I've let go of recently:

1. Big L Literature and Important movies.  With a very few exceptions, I don't enjoy either.  If I'm looking for entertainment, I want to be entertained.  That mostly means things that are light, funny or interesting. My book list over the past month includes 3.5 Harry Potter books, The Help, Paper Towns, The Thirteenth Tale, A People's History of the United States and Little Women. So. I like to read. But I want to be entertained. Maybe I won't be able to have a discussion about Philosophy or Classics, but hey, there are only so many hours in the day and only one life to lead. I'll read books and watch movies that I enjoy.

2. A clean house.  I'm not a hoarder or anything, but my house is generally in some state of kidsplosion.  I try to keep the floors swept, bathroom clean, and dishes done, but if I go to bed with toys littering the family room ... I try not to step on them when I get up in the middle of the night to pee.

3. My ego.  I didn't realize it until recently, but I put a lot of store in my Master's Degree from a Really Good University.  I always had that to fall back on as a topic of conversation.  Then I started a nursing program with women who are in some cases, more than 10 years younger than me, and realized they don't care. We're all at the same point in the program.  I have a few more wrinkles and kids. Also, I'm not as hip. That's what makes me different. And so, that dusty degree rarely gets trotted out these days.

4. Fashion.  Right. So my goal is to not embarrass (or be embarrassed by) the young girls in my program.  I'd like to look like I've glanced at a Vogue in the past year (which I haven't, BTW), but I've given up on ever being hip or trendy.  Frankly, I don't think I ever was. It's just taken me this long to admit that to myself.

So, I have to go and give my house the once over.  My Mom and G are coming to visit for a week!  I'll try to post while they're here. Honestly though, I probably won't. Just being real, here.


Amber said...

I like this.

melydia said...

Oh come on - all those hours we spent poring over Seventeen magazine in 8th grade surely means you were fashionable then! Never mind that it was nearly 20 years ago!

Seriously, though, this is a good post. I've been attempting to let go of Big L literature for a while now, but then I keep coming back to these books I feel like I should have read.

And I am so with you on the ego thing. Having an old master's degree doesn't mean much to the kids I work with who just finished their bachelor's, since the knowledge is far fresher in their minds anyway. I'm also not nearly as smart as I used to think I was - but grad school taught me that. :)

Jube said...

Thanks Amber.
@melydia -- I finally gave it up, even though there were a lot of books I felt like I should have read. Every time I actually read one, I was disappointed, if not bored to tears. Also, we were on the cutting edge of fashion in 1993 ... like, for sure.

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