Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's No I in Mother

I'm really hoping I have finally identified the problem. Lately, I have been really, really irritable. The slightest thing will completely send me over the edge. Booster seat not wiped out? Flip out. Piano bench not pushed in? Flip out. Magazine thrown on floor and shredded? Flip out. It just seemed that I couldn't stand for anything to be out of place, and with a toddler, husband, and 3 cats, this was a pretty volatile situation.

Finally, I think I have identified the root cause and can now begin looking for a solution. I have no place for me. Not me and Adrian... not me and Linus... just me.

Before Linus was born I had that place. I had my classroom. Yes, I shared that space with 21 fourth graders, but it was still mine. I had total control of the environment. I knew if I placed something in my cabinets, closet, or desk, it would still be there the next day. Not so at home.

I honestly don't think that it is simply about a place. I think it is more about ownership. With my career, I had ownership. If something were a success or a failure, I was accountable.

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have really lost that accountability, that personal space, that ownership. Raising and caring for Linus is a joint venture (as it should be), keeping the house tidy or not tidy is a joint (or even group) venture, managing household finances are a joint venture. There is nothing in my life that I am solely (or even dominantly) accountable for.

Yes, I have had some ventures that I have begun entirely for me, but as they progressed they became about us, them, or everyone. My blog began as something entirely for me, a place to find my niche, but as it progressed the pressure to please everyone (especially relatives) became overwhelming. Training for the marathon began as a goal entirely for me, but then Adrian wanted to run too and the logistics of baby care set in. Even something as simple as baking pies has become less about me and more about pleasing my husband and friends.

A large chunk of the blame for this shift of focus lies at my feet. I am a people pleaser. I have a hard time remembering to take time for me when I could be doing for others. My husband, though in a nearly identical environment as me, has things that are his. He has his career, his attic room, his guitar lessons, his game nights. Me, I don't even get the bathroom to myself when I need to pee. My bedroom is shared, my kitchen is shared, my hobbies are shared.

So, now that I've identified the problem, perhaps I can move to finding a solution. Maybe that solution is a cooking class, maybe it's a tiny space that is all mine (there is a 5x5 ft closet space in the attic), maybe it's creating an anonymous blog. Whatever it is, I need to find it- for the sake of my marriage, my relationship with my son, my sanity.

Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

When Adrian was about 3 I decided I needed some "me" time too. I took up oil painting and one night a week I took my canvases and paints and Richard took over at home while I "painted" and "created" It was the best thing I ever did for me at that time. We all need our own space and time. Hope you can find yours. Gramma B

Chelsea + Jonathan said...

Yay for me time! Just keep reminding yourself of how important it is to have something just for you. And if you do the cooking class, be careful not to let it turn into being a master chef for everyone else! Just cook the delicious fancy things for yourself ;)

canape said...

Yes. I get this. I hope you find something or somewhere.

Tracey said...

You are onto it. A class sounds like a good start. A mother's group with nights OUT is another way for me to wave goodbye to the "joint venture" Tracey and just BE ME.