I Miss the Village by Bunmi Laditan. If only life was still that simple.
And if you haven’t read her blog, The Honest Toddler, DO IT.
noun an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress
verb move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction
Isn’t this the oddest word? In American culture, we are taught as children that a career is what we decide to “be” when we grow up. We are what we do. We are expected to pursue a career in a deliberate and linear fashion: we go to college and, possibly, graduate school, with a goal in mind, then we get a job in our chosen profession at a company that will employ us, promote us, provide benefits for our families, and fulfill us, until the time comes for us to retire happily. But nowhere in either definition of the word “career” is anything related to personal fulfillment.
I never knew this word as a verb, but I identify with it much more, especially the “swift and uncontrolled” part. Now that sounds exciting! For my whole life, I’ve been careering, and my specified direction was always UP the corporate ladder. I thought that getting promoted was the sign I was doing the right thing. But, at two points in my life, I realized that I had attained career goals that just didn’t fit me. The first time, I was 25 years old. I thought I was hot shit and envisioned success, power, and money in my future. I called it my Quarter Life Crisis. But more on that another time.
This time, I’m approaching 40, and all I want is time and energy to enjoy my family. I don’t really want anything in my life to be done swiftly and out of control. I don’t need it to be a smooth trajectory upward or a 65mph highway. This time, careering will be a meandering path through back roads that slows down and speeds up here and there, with no dead ends or head-on collisions.
Direction. What’s yours? How did you find it?
I’ve been busy, uninspired, procrastinating, stressed out, and just plain lazy. Reading begets writing, and I haven’t been.
Instead, I’ve been going to summer field trips, school concerts, kindergarten graduations, birthday parties, and parent meetings. I signed up for a CSA, found a drop-off class for D, registered H for summer camp, painted my stairway (finally!) and took first steps towards starting my own business. We bought a new car and still managed to scrape together H’s tuition for next year. I took the kids to NJ to see Papa and Gramma, and we hung out with friends at Sebago Lake in Maine.
Friday was my 38th birthday (though I just keep saying I’m 40 to get myself used to the idea by the time it happens). I’ve been home for a full year. It’s time to motivate. Just do it (thanks Nike). No excuses.
more to come…
When working at a “regular job,” I was a type-A workaholic control freak. I used to journal my every move in my Circa planner, had a to-do list or chart for everything, and created multi-tab spreadsheets for big projects. I had a corresponding email folder for every My Documents folder, which also mirrored my hard-copy files. I used my P-Touch Labeler on a daily basis, and everything had to be in its place. I seriously think I was borderline OCD.
As a stay-at-home-mom, I’m scatterbrained, messy, and sometimes employ a “let the inmates run the asylum” approach to parenting. Right now, at 7.30am on Saturday, my kids are eating cookies and watching their 3rd hour of Disney Junior. In the past few months, I’ve lost my wallet, phone, and keys — the 3 basic things one needs to leave the house and get home without crisis and calamity.
I’m using a different part of my brain now — not the uber-organized, linear-thinking, logical part. It’s the emotional, reactive-not-proactive, nurturing, intuitive part. If I ever get my whole brain functioning, who knows what I could accomplish!
The good news: D (my 2.5 year old) woke up last night when he needed to use the potty! The bad news: he woke up at 4am.
We’ve quit diapers/pull-ups cold turkey as of last week. You’d think I’m following a grand potty training plan, but in reality I’m just cheap. We ran out of diapers, they weren’t on sale anywhere, and I refused to spend another $30 on a giant box of landfill.
D is totally cool with using the potty… unless he’s doing something else, like playing, watching TV, eating a snack, which are all he ever does. I think we need to call potty training what it is:
Letting Your Kid Pee and Poop All Over The House Until They Finally Get It
The ultimate shopping faux pas: pooping at Anthropologie. We’re at the local mall where there’s a playspace. I was hoping to get some design inspiration; instead, I have a grunting, stinky two-year-old. He’s telling me to go away (he likes his privacy for a #2). Next time I won’t let him eat an entire pint of strawberries for breakfast.
My husband is extremely good at a lot of things: throwing rocks far distances, building campfires, dadding, and cleaning our house. I thought I was pretty good at cleaning, and perhaps I was once, but now I get too caught up in the details. Like scrubbing the grime off the kitchen floor under the oven, scraping the stickers off the walls with a blade, and putting all the Lego heads back on their proper bodies. Or colorizing the Crayola box. (It may be a subconscious procrastination technique.)
Give my husband 2 hours, and our house will be ready for company. Kind of. Minus the fluffed toss pillows in the living room, pressed bed linens, fresh flowers on the dining table, but I’ll take it. He’s a keeper, my husband. 🙂
In the interest of doing my share, I’m trying to get better at this “stay-at-home-mom” gig, housekeeping included. I can dress up a bed, organize plastic food containers, and vacuum up goldfish crackers from the depths of the sofa, but somehow, I am not capable of getting the whole house clean in a reasonable amount of time.
So I was inspired when I came across this cleaning calendar at Little Green Notebook. A carryover from my previous employed life, I cannot complete a project without first breaking it down into its composite tasks. I need a to-do list, an aesthetically-pleasing and color-coded one. I’ll make one today, and maybe next week the house will be clean.