Once upon a time, when I was naive, I thought I would be bored as a stay-at-home mom. I thought working would fill my days until the day I died. I didn’t know how to relax or to be quiet. The weekends were filled with errands that couldn’t get done on weekdays. I was fulfilled. I was happy. Really, I was. I enjoyed my time. Until one day I realized I wasn’t anymore.
I couldn’t breathe anymore. I was waking up earlier and earlier so I could fit in my daily panic and anxiety attack. Once that was over I would carefully get dressed and apply my make-up, do my hair just right, and calmly teach my classes. Nobody knew the turmoil that was brewing inside. Nobody dared explore the whole still-waters-run-deep-ishness about me. I came home exhausted from being normal and continued being the normal mom and normal wife. I would then wake up and do it all again.
Nobody at my work cared to ask what was going on. There were a whole lot of assumptions to go around. Nobody could guess about the anxiety attacks or a student-stalker who was coming after my family. Nobody wanted to guess or know. They were all too willing gossip or spread rumors. That’s just the way it goes I suppose. Loyalty only goes so far these days.
When I had my chance to cut and run half-way through the year, I took it. And my new life began as a mom at home. People told me I would hate it. My mom was worried about me “having nothing to do”. There was a lot of standing around to watch me self-destruct. And it was hard. At first. I watched a lot of Food Network in the early days. Nobody should have to evolve through that.
And yet, I loved the quietness and not having my life run by school bells. I loved not having an administrator scrutinizing everything I said or did. There were no papers to grade or meetings to attend. I was able to volunteer for PTA and help with my son’s homework. My son began to open up to me like never before. We had time to “go get snacks” after school. I was able to keep up on laundry and the dishes. I meal planned and cooked. Grocery shopped in the daytime and went to lunch with friends.
Anxiety attacks subsided. Alarm systems were upgraded. Legal things were taken care of. Fear left our lives. I could breathe again. I could sleep again.
Now, my day consists of listening for a baby to talk in her crib signaling that she is awake. My son calling for “Mama!” when he comes in from playing. It’s full of making things from scratch instead of from a box. It’s plugging-in my glue gun again — I’m vicious with that thing. It’s full of more acts of service. My day is focused on baby snuggles and laughter. Talking to friends and reconnecting with family members. My days are full with what I want them to be full of, and if I don’t finish something I can carry it over to the next day instead. Even now I hear my son humming as he reads and my baby crawling down the hall with her slap-slide sound.
My days are only for family and joy. And when the sun begins to set each day I am able to take a deep breath and fill my lungs with the graciousness of it all.
This post is part of the two week Scintilla writing project where we share our histories by writing our stories. Day 4: What does your everyday look like? Describe the scene of your happiest moment of every day.