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Monday, April 11, 2005

Emotionally, life before kids was easier: a MIC confession

A little time out with friends has been good and bad. It has made me so happy that I am able to get out and enjoy the simple pleasure of time away from Toddler in Chief, but it also makes me wonder about underlying problems with parenting, or more specifically, with me.

So much of the day I set R down. I know that this good for him because it fosters independence. I know it's good for me because I can attend to the domestic duties associated with being a parent and a home-owner. I do wish I could just let a lot of this internal struggle go, but I think I will carry it as long as parenting is my largest priority and seven-day-a-week job, regardless of whether or not I'm working elsewhere.

Mostly it just makes me question if I'm really supposed to be a parent in the first place? Why do I always want to set Riley down to do other stuff? Isn't the whole idea of parenting supposed to be a sacrifice? Give up your job, give up your free-time, give up other pleasures in life so that we can focus on this huge responsibility, which is also a pleasure and privilege?

Maybe some of this stems from the fact that we chose to have a kid? It was all planned. We did it on purpose. And I expected things need to fall into some order. We planned our life and chose our path, but still it didn't take us where we thought it would. Ann over at the The Mother all Blogs posted a link to a wonderful story called Welcome to Holland, that sort of explains what it's like to be launched in a totally different direction than what you expected when you become a parent. Surgeries, extended hospital stays, lots of doctor appointments: those are things that I cannot control. Chores and to-do lists: those are supposed to be the things I can control.

Mostly I just feel sad sometimes because I ache for a simpler time of life. It's hard to think that working and commuting and deadlines were simpler times. When that was my reality, those were stressful times and I ached for parenthood, which seemed simpler. But now that I'm in "Holland," I think back to when I was working, and it seems like it was piece of cake. I'm sure countless hours of therapy will come to this conclusion: I like going out with friends or fanaticizing about a carefree, 40-hour-work week because I'm temporarily removed from my fucked up life as a parent of a child with a life-threatening heart defect.

Emotionally, psychologically, life before kids was simpler.

Parenting for a living is much more psychologically and emotionally challenging. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out; sometimes I want to cry; and sometimes and I just want to take the damn dogs for a walk without carting a toddler along. Yes, I've come to terms with Toddler in Chief's condition. Yes, I've mourned the life that I thought he would have, and the life as a parent I thought I would have.

And then there's that guilt again. Considering all the garbage we've dealt with, shouldn't I be more than happy to sit and play with blocks, just thankful that my kid is here for me to play with? Shouldn't I be grateful for every minute, that I just want to soak up as much of my kid as I can? Instead of looking for escape routes, shouldn't I be focused on the road directly in front of me?

So I'm sure I'll my ranting and raving about the struggle for finding a balance for work and time out with friends and family and marriage is just my way to look for an escape from my life. Period.

1 comment:

  1. it's funny these feelings. they're just feelings. and you have them sometimes. and you have other types of feelings other times. sometimes you are just feeling like life is shit, and then suddenly something happens -- a friend calls out of the blue, or some stranger pays you a random compliment, or you help an old lady thru a tricky situation -- and that feeling just disappears. gone.

    my mom sent me some ravi shankar'isms that i thought were cool and here's one that might be thought provoking. so far, i haven't totally quite figured it out:

    "Some feeling came into you, unpleasant feeling, and you said, "Should not come, it should not come!" Doing that, you are resisting it. When you resist, it persists. Just observe. See, "Oh!" Go deep into it. Dance; stand up on your feet and dance. Be intoxicated; move intoxicated."

    Or, maybe, you should come solo up to Portland and visit me for a couple of days. That ought to help. :-)