Monday, February 3, 2014

Becoming Domesticated

Another week gone by. I must say that this blog entry finds me in a better state of mind than last one. Unfortunately,  I am sitting in the hospital with my youngest daughter,  Victoria,  who has a bad infection of some sort.  I am watching her sleep right now and feeling grateful that I have been blessed with my children.

I decided to write this week about becoming "domesticated." Before I start to take you down that road, I want to say that I am in no way intending for this installment to seem judgmental. We each have our own path in life and I am going to tell you about this particular leg of MY journey.

I have almost always been a working mom. All moms work, but I worked outside the home. I make that distinction because I didn't work much INSIDE my home. I went to college and got a bachelor's degree, then a master's degree,  while having three young children.  From the time Colton, who is now 18, was eight months old, I have worked or been in school continuously until now. I am proud of my education and professional accomplishments. I worked hard and sacrificed a great deal to get to where I was professionally. I never dreamed I would be out of work and looking at never returning to my profession. However, that is where I am.

I have never been a great Mom. When I started college, I did so with my family and future in mind. I had great intentions. I wanted to support my family financially and save the world while doing so. For ten years now I have worked in the field of mental health/addictions. It is truly exhausting work. It is impossible to describe how exhausting it is mentally, physically, and emotionally. Being a trauma therapist was especially tiring. I like to think that I helped people along the way. My problem was not with the profession itself, it was with the balance of work and personal life. My friends were my co-workers.  I ate, slept, and breathed therapy. I can remember when my kids were young, I would come home after working all day dealing with everyone's problems, and the first thing as soon as I walked through the door at home, I had five children, a husband,  and a couple of dogs standing in line waiting to talk to me. I once told my son, "Mommy's listening ears shut off at 5:30." I had nothing left to give at the end of the day.

When I lost my job, I thought my world had ended. I am finding out I was wrong. I had a whole different world right in front of me, that had been patiently waiting for me to notice. I looked around this past week at where my life is, and where it is going. My oldest two kids are now adults, Paige is a sophomore in high school and my little ones are in school. I am a grandma. A grandma!! Where did these years go and what was I doing?  I now realize I was killing myself to afford a life I didn't have time to enjoy. My days used to consist of hearing countless strangers tell me their problems,  expecting me to have some magic answer to solve them. I never had those answers, nor should I. Now I spend my days listening to my children play and fight. I do dishes and laundry. I figured out how to use the oven, bread machine and vacuum! I know that isn't nearly as exciting as being in a maximum security prison dealing with suicidal inmates or seeing a fight break out on the yard. However, I am much happier with the stress of breaking up fights between kids over their computer time. At least they dont know how to make a deadly weapon out of gum, a toothbrush and belly button lint. Yet.

Some moms and dads can do what I could not. They can balance work and family and do a great job at both. I cannot. I am learning to accept that and embrace the hand I have been dealt. Now I can sit at the hospital ER with a sick girl and not worry about getting called in to work at any moment. I don't have to watch the clock and count the number of hours of sleep I'm not getting and wonder how I will survive the next day. I see what is truly my mission in life lying in front of me with her stuffed giraffe and an iv in her arm. And all she wants is her mommy. This is the most trying, frustrating, exhausting, rewarding job I will ever have. I am surprised to say that I am thankful for becoming donesticated.