Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting For Life to Settle

It's been over six months since I resigned from my job. When I say it out loud, or indeed, write it, it seems entirely implausible. Granted, I spent the first two months battling major health

Dust storm in the Texas Dust Bowl, 1935.Image via Wikipedia

issues and recovering from a surgery that (thank the good Lord) fixed them, but still, that leaves a quarter of a year since this major life change.

Giving up my high stress full-time job for my full-time mommy/wife gig, I just had it in my mind that things would look somewhat different by now. My house would be much cleaner; all the clutter de-cluttered and sold on e-bay for extra cash. I'd be a better cook, having cooked my way through two or three Rachael Ray cookbooks (I have no delusions I could make it through even one Julia Child's recipe, let alone an entire book). My son would be potty trained before he was two. I'd be the ultimate volunteer at my daughter's school and be honored with one of those awards I used to write press releases about. I'd post on this blog at least four times a week to the delight of my thousands of faithful followers, write a novel, become more active in my church, and fit into my tiny little pre-pregnancy jeans.

Ummm . . .

My daughter's closet was clean for about three days but Goodwill required less effort than e-bay and I rationalized that decision with the old "tax write off" excuse (although it's March and I haven't started my taxes yet). I've cooked exactly two Rachael Ray recipes, even though I've probably watched more than 100 hours of Food Network. My son has washed his hands in the potty more than once, which I realize is disgusting, but I take comfort in the fact it is not as disgusting as it would be if he actually peed in it first. I've managed to make it to three events at my daughter's school, although not in a volunteer capacity, which is probably for the best since I was late to two of them. I joined a Bible study, even though I think that this week's absence makes it official that I've missed more than I've attended. Prior to tonight, my last blog post was in January and besides my mother, my 8 followers (thank you faithful few) have not been banging down the door demanding I write another post.

I hate those stupid little jeans.

So what's the deal? Not to brag, but for past 12 years I was a pretty darn successful career woman. For four of the past five I did, what I considered to be a mighty fine job of balancing the whole working mommy thing. So now that I have all this time on my hands, why haven't I conquered the world?

Believe me, I ask myself this question frequently.

I feel like I'm in a constant state of transition. I keep telling myself, "As soon as 'fill in the blank happens' I'll 'fill in the blank.'" 'Blanks' started with getting healthy, which seemed like an insurmountable task for almost a year. But then I got healthy after which came the transition of withdrawal from pain meds. Then came Thanksgiving, then Christmas. Then our family was thrown into transition when my dad retired, which I thought would allow me an entirely different set of opportunities. So, I thought to myself, why settle into a routine, since it will just get all upset anyway. Plus who can settle in, well with all the craziness surrounding Martin Luther King Day and tracking the Vegas odds on Punxsutawney Phil's shadow sightings. And don't even get me started on St. Urho's Day preparations.

Did I mention I chase around an almost two year old boy all day long?

My children and husband are well loved and I keep telling myself that counts for something. And I hope it's true, because this season is the first one in my life where I don't have a product, a paycheck, a grade, or all three at the end of the day to measure my results. On the flip side, it is the first season in my life I've been rewarded exclusively in milk mustache kisses, ketchup covered hugs, and "I love you, mommy's."

I guess this last five . . .er . . .ten pounds can wait.

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  1. Great post. As a new mommy, I have been asking myself alot of questions about my career between photography and school pr. It's good to know that i'm not alone. Btw, super cute pic of the kiddos!

  2. Kristen - What a perfect post and I'll repeat what I've said earlier this week: You are Supermom!

    Having you manage so many things while I'm at work is still remarkable to me. (We joke, but I believe if the tables were turned and it were in fact left up to me, you would come home to a smoldering crater.)

    I love our family, I love our home, and I love you.

    - R

  3. Aw Kiten, I feel you. It's by no means the same, but the transition from full-time grad school to on my own dissertation writing was and still is one of the hardest humbling things I've ever had to do. You think, "I'll have soooo much time now." But then somehow you don't. And you begin to wonder how you did all that stuff you used to do in the first place. I try to take solace in the fact that I'm a healthier person in general - certain substances and food choices are no longer necessities for getting through the day. Also, the rewards from those few things I can now squeeze in - taking my niece to a movie, catching my nephew's ball game, or dinner with family and old friends - make me feel somehow more whole than turning in a paper or completing a project by deadline did.

    I guess in the end life keeps coming. My hope is that all of us can be a bit more present for it as it goes by. That's work in an of itself.

    Much love to you and yours. :)

    - Reba

  4. What a great post! I Never had kids, so I cannot imagine the full-time 24/7 job it is. Still, I understand that transitions take a while. And in the end, it may not be what you want to do full-time. But rest assured you are doing a very important and excellent job. My mother did it (as I'm sure many others who are reading) and I am so thankful for her time teaching me, her time volunteering for others and her wonderful home cooking.
    One of my old friends told me several years ago that I was a "princess, because my mother actually washed and folded my clothes." I cried when she said that.

  5. Thanks for the comments!
    - Liz, School PR or the photography world would both be lucky to have you. You are extremely talented and now you have the added benefit of motherhood to deepen your passion for either profession.

    - Richie, I'm only still standing at the end of the day because you are my rock. Smoldering crater or not, I'd still live here with you. At least we could bar-b-que every night!

    - Reba, I am so proud that you have the dedication to pursue your dream of a Ph.D. Can't wait to have a Dr. in the Walker family. Now that we both have time for lunch, we should really schedule something fantastic, or nostalgic, like cocktails on the roof at Cool Beans.

    - Andra - Thanks for the encouragement. My mom always worked part time when I was growing up, so she never missed a school party or a piano recital. I really wanted the same flexibility for my kids. I'm not sure they'll have the same good memories about laundry and cooking though. I'm not great on the domestic side.

  6. Kristin CourtneyMarch 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    I love reading your posts - you are a fabulous writer! I recently heard the following and it really stuck with me, "If you define success by just one thing, then everything else is failure." If you take this to heart, then I think you've just broadened your definition of success! Enjoy!