I read this post over at Renegade Mothering this morning, and I've been thinking about it all day. I think I used to feel what she describes more intensely back when the boys were younger-- my blog archives have many posts, from back when the boys were babies, complaining about my lack of time, lack of sleep, lack of feeling like a human being. A lot of things are so much better now. For example, these days I get to choose my clothes based on what I want to wear vs what provides the easiest access to my boobs-- it's a small but significant thing. But I also think I've gotten better at resigning myself to what life is like with young kids. Which makes it sound bad, when it just is what it is. I get to hang out with my kids all day and really drink in their childhood, which is awesome. I love that, and have chosen it very consciously. But as with everything, there are ups and downs, good stuff and bad stuff, and things that I miss or wish I had more time for.
I miss writing. I like writing. It feels good when I write a post that I'm proud of, even better when it resonates with others. But I can't tell you how many times I sit down at my computer with ideas of something I want to write, and all the thoughts in my head feel so jumbled up and my brain foggy and I stare blankly at the screen trying to make sense of how to say what I want to say, and even what exactly that is to begin with, and eventually give up. One of my favorite lines from The Fault in Our Stars is when Gus says, "My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." That. YES. What he said.
And I feel like I've totally stagnated with photography. You wanna hear something sad? I bought myself Photoshop Elements like a year ago, when it was on sale for half off. I have opened up the program maybe once in that time. ONCE. I keep meaning to look up tutorials for how to use it, wanting to try out ideas and new techniques, but when I get a bit of free time I just can't muster up the energy for it. Zach rarely gets home before the boys' bedtime these days, so I'm solo parenting during the week and frankly I'll say I've gotten pretty good at it, but once the kids are asleep all I wanna do is flop on the couch and just...sit. Maybe with a book, or some tv. And then there's the always-growing list of books I want to read, and the few times I go dancing and suddenly realize how much I've missed it, and on and on it goes.
What's interesting is that usually when parents talk about this stuff there's a yearning for your "former self," a wanting to get back to who you were before having kids. And that, I don't identify with much. I look back on the person I was before having kids, and I don't have much desire to go back to being her. Not that there was anything wrong with me then, but I feel like I've grown to be more ME in the time since then-- not necessarily because of motherhood, but, well, partially, and also because of just other ways in which I've grown or interests I've developed or whatever in that same period of time. So I guess it's more like I do know Me, I'm not yearning for a different self, it would just be nice to have a bit more space for Myself.
And I'm not meaning to complain or make things sound terrible... I am devoting most of my time, energy, attention to my kids, which means other things get less of it, and that's ok. That's the flavor of shit sandwich I'm choosing to eat at this point in all our lives.
(this post made it past the "jumbled mess of thoughts in my head" to published thanks to it being saturday and Zach taking the boys out of the house for a few hours, giving me the time and peace and quiet in the middle of the day for getting this out)