Thursday, December 17, 2009

Identity Crisis

This is NOT a bitch-fest about the struggles of parenting. I love being a parent. Period.

This IS a real life question of who I am, who I was, who I thought I was and who I want to be.

So here I am voicing my struggles and fears. Why? Because writing is way cheaper than therapy. I need to get these thoughts out of my head and onto 'paper'. And I know I'm not the only one out there. I've met others like me. And maybe I'll get a few words of advice from some of you out there?

I've quit my job, moved across the country to a very cold part of the world and have become a stay at home mom. I have never not worked and was a bit apprehensive about this new adventure but really looked forward to spending uninterrupted time with Sabrina.

I definitely have a much deeper level of respect for stay at home stay parents. This is not all fun and games, people!

Not too long ago my evenings consisted of choosing which restaurant/bar to meet my friends and these places were usually ranked by how good the dirty martinis were or what the happy hour deal was. Or maybe I worked late. Or had a date. Or I just went home and relaxed in the quiet with my cat in my itty bitty studio. I have always been and always wanted to be the career girl. I enjoyed and very much identified with being the girl who wore the clickity-clack stiletto's up and down 7th avenue and dressed to the nines.

Since I got pregnant and married (in that order, ha!) my life and body changed entirely. I have not worn most of those clothes or shoes since. Chasing after a toddler in heels is NOT easy. I've tried. I've donned a daily uniform of jeans and trapeze tops and Converse. Let me specify that this uniform is usually my 'out of the house' uniform. Even better is my 'not gonna see anyone today so I'll just sport my yoga pants and zip up sweatshirt' uniform.

Hot, right? I KNOW!!!

I would like to point out that I do still make time for an eyebrow wax. Can't let EVERYTHING go. Good God, that is a scary image.

I have definitely been struggling. Struggling with self identity, time management, MONEY management (down to 1 income), patience and an ever fluctuating level of self respect. I am constantly berating myself for not being a better mother or wife or person or woman or whoever and whatever it is that I happen to need to be.

Let me be clear about one thing, though. Would I trade my marriage, husband and child for anything? No. Not a chance.

I love my husband who is awesome beyond words. Thinks I'm hot and tells me so. He works hard for us.  My kid is hilarious and I love that I know and understand her better than most. I can translate most of what she says, no matter how gibberish-like it sounds. We watch morning cartoons and eat our peanut butter oatmeal wrapped together in a fleece blanket. We read books, color, talk, argue, go grocery shopping, fight, go to museums, play in the yard, etc... We make each other laugh. A LOT. My favorite most recent memory is of us going on a quick trip to Trader Joe's. She insisted on bringing her pet (wooden) cat that is on a leash. She walked it across the parking lot and all through the store. She talked to it, pet it and comforted it when it tipped over. She was the absolute center of attention everywhere we went that day and was clueless to it all. So awesome. 

What I could live without? The terrible 2 tantrums, the words "no" and "mine!" consistently pouring themselves out of my lovely daughter's mouth, judgmental people, freezing temps, my home being permanently decorated in cheerios, broken crayon bits and Mr. Potato Head body parts. 

What I would absolutely LOVE? To be able to pee in private. Seriously, I don't need an audience. That is #1 on my list. The next are in no particular order - another child/sibling for Sabrina, a maid once a month, to live in a home that was built after the 80's with good insulation and windows that keep cold air OUT, radiant heated floors, and a jacuzzi bath tub. I am pretty low maintenance, if you ask me.

I miss having daily interactions with adults. I miss conversations that are not wrapped around talk about our birthing experience or our kids, how to discipline, potty train, get them to sleep, etc... Or about breast feeding.

To feed via boob or formula? THAT is the question. Oh the controversy!

Everyone thinks their way is best and the only way to do it. Because of this I have made it an absolute rule to not offer unsolicited advice. And even then I preface my answers with, "I'm not saying this is the best way or that it will even work for you but this is what I did/do/have heard works..."

Wait. I lie. I do have two pieces of unsolicited advice. 1) DO NOT tell pregnant women your horrific pregnancy/birthing/miscarriage stories. Yes, many people need to be told this. I don't get it. And 2) DO NOT tell a woman that the choices she is making are wrong. For example, if you think breast feeding is the only way to go and your friend is not interested in breast feeding please keep your opinion to yourself unless asked. That bolded part is very, very, very important.  You know who you are. Trust me, most pregnant women are quite educated in this area as we read anything and everything we can get our hands on about pregnancy or raising a child. The bottom line is that things like this are a personal choice. I'm sure I'll get an angry email or comment about this. 

Can you tell that these are two very big points of contention with me? Yes. Yes they are.

But I digress... :)

I've never been one to put much weight in what other people think of me. Never really gave it much thought, to be honest. I mean, why should I care if someone likes/dislikes me? There are plenty of people I don't like what?

But now that I have a child suddenly there is a little more weight to this. While I still don't care what people think of me in terms of my faith, or what I wear, or where I shop or what I drive, I have found myself worrying about doing or saying something that will alienate my daughter from her peers. I don't know why this is a fear...but it is.

My struggle these days is in figuring out who I am now that I'm a parent with this enormous responsibility. As much as I hate to admit it, things have changed a lot. More than I anticipated. How do I get some of who I was and liked being and combine it with my current world?

Usually my posts end with some kind of conclusion or realization. Sorry to disappoint, but this post will not. I feel a bit lost and am trying to deal with it. Most days are awesome. Some days can't go by fast enough for me.

Just sayin'...


Benjamin said...

Great post! I laughed at the thought of Sabrina dragging her cat through the supermarket. Personally I think wooden cats are much cuter than real ones.

You may be a little lost but at least you're still a funny, great writer!

Susan said...

You are a great writer. I do not have children and laughed and could relate. Kids or no kids, do we ever find ourselves?

Stacey Susuico said...

Booooooy do I know the feeling you are feeling right now! May I also add that after 3, I slowly came to find myself again. For the first three years I hardly recognized who Stacey was at all. Now, with Tas, I have that "Been there, done that" vibe going so Stacey is still around. What a transition new mommyhood is, right? Top that with a new marriage, a new home location, and being at home with a babbling midget and a stranger (yourself)...a bit of a jaunt! What a unique way of redefining and rediscovering Maria while spending time with your child during the most amazing years! Love you M. Miss you too...Cali misses you...