I was profoundly affected by Oprah’s show yesterday. It is very rare that I even watch it in daylight hours, much less within two weeks of the original air date. Another round of my good friend prednisone has left me feeling no motivation and the inability to make a decision. As I stood in the kitchen at dinner time pondering what to create out of linguine and cheese crackers, I could only think, “I don’t even like to cook anymore!” This is a big deal for me. I love to cook. I need to cook. I get something more than a meal out of it – so this revelation stopped me in my tracks. Instead of making dinner, I walked to the couch, called up my DVR list of unwatched Oprah’s and found “Secrets of Overstressed Moms” at the top of the list.
The honesty and humor of this program really spoke to me and I was so grateful for it. I constantly wonder what is wrong with me when I can’t remember simple things or get it all done or do everything perfectly while EVERYONE around me so obviously can! Like an imposter, I’m so tired of feeling relieved that I made it through again at the end of every day. Lo and behold, most moms out there feel the same way. (Why they always look more put together than me, I’ll never know.) Sure, I’ve thought others like me might exist, but I needed evidence and Oprah provided it.
I think my favorite moms on the show were the one that pretended to be a little bit crazy in order to obtain obedience from her kids, the one that owned up to using a diaper for herself in the car in order to preserve the sweet sleep of both her children on a road trip and lastly the mom who said that no one told her that she’d hate her husband after having kids or – sorry – that a boner in the back would constitute foreplay!
I’m pretty sure that I’m having "mid-life crisis-light." My personal baby boom is over and the economy is slowing down the advancement of my writing career. There are health concerns. I can’t tell you the last time I washed the bathtubs. I opt for convenience over saving money OFTEN. As a watch others have babies or work, I wonder who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. I wonder if I will ever know, exactly, but feel this underlying certainty that there is surely more in store. I know that it does involve some reinvention – I always thought I was good at that – I just feel, well, stagnant and tired right now.
Every silly GI doctor I see as well as some well-meaning friends and family, urge me to try to remove the stress from my life. I find this comical. In an attempt to prove that it could not be done, I made a realistic list of all the things that add stress to my life. Let me first say that I don’t walk around crazy-stressed, I really just walk about crazy-crabby. (Not the ideal persona I want etched in my kids’ minds for eternity!) I’ll tell you that I’m right about many things on that list; they can’t be changed. But some can, with money it seems. Not knowing where it will come from, I’ve decided to knock them off anyway and hope the funds shows up. I’m getting my house cleaned – BOOM – one thing off the list.
I’ve never done this before, but I'm asking for your comments. I want to know if there are some of you out there just like me who, although keeping up appearances, are struggling a bit. Are you done having kids? Does that even matter? Do you sometimes feel like you don't “fit” with other mom’s you encounter? Do you find yourself dreaming about what’s next? Was this your experience when your kids were younger? I’m on a mission to figure it out and would love your help. Maybe I’ll write an article about it all; maybe it will just piece things together a bit – either way, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and I hope you’re not turned off by my honesty.
One final note: it surely goes without saying that my kids are my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Also, I am far from hating my husband; he’s the best there is. I don’t want a new gig - I just want to reclaim myself a little bit in this one.