15 years ago I was preparing for the birth of my first born. I didn’t realize what all of that would entail. I don’t think any woman does (or man, for that matter). We are sold a bill of goods that this is what we need to do, what we are supposed to do, that it will be fulfilling.
I regret nothing. I would walk through fire for my children.
But, in this last year, I realized how far removed the world I had been in the past 15 years. I was on the outskirts looking in. I wasn’t oblivious. I knew what was going on much like looking in a store window at Christmas.
PTO meetings, homework, and school activities became my life for 15 years. Most of my enjoyable activities fell by the wayside. I never had time to play games because I was so damn tired. I didn’t have time for friends because there was always something else I had to do for the school.
Last year, I started working again. I subbed for the school district at my kids’ schools to get out of the house when my youngest finally made it to middle school. No more class parties and fundraisers that make up the bulk of a parent’s time in elementary school. I felt like I could breathe.
This past September I obtained my MFA degree for Creative Writing. I was excited to finally enter the world again, not as a mother, but as a person ready to contribute somehow to society. My children don’t need me as much -or at least in the same ways- that they did before and so I looked forward to making my forays into society once again.
However, that foray has been mostly online because of COVID-19. I have been stuck in my house with the occasional trip to pick up pre-ordered groceries. I find myself trying to learn about Twitter (it changed a lot since the last time I used it) and Instagram (which is really, really weird to me). Facebook is kind of a wash since you have to pay to play. No one will see your content unless you pay to have it seen.
All of this makes me feel as if I am fresh out of high school, trying to figure things out, even though most high schoolers know all of this stuff already.
It also makes me feel really, really old.
I can see how people much older than me feel hopeless and lost. You spend so much time in one career (be it parenting or working) that when you can step out and see the light, you aren’t sure what you are supposed to do and how to act.
I am working on it though. I am piddling around on Twitter trying to figure it out for when my novel is finished. And I am trying to get comfortable with Instagram since I am not into taking pictures.
I keep reminding myself that I did manage to grow and give birth to 2 children by c-section while also in school. I also managed to get my MFA and write my 50k+ word thesis during a global pandemic. I remind myself that I am capable, even though I really don’t feel like it.