It’s impossible to find anything when you’ve got small children – car keys end up in the toy box, remote controls under the couch, and shopping lists in chewed-up shreds in the sandpit at the bottom of the garden.
It’s hard enough to keep track of nappies and wipes, library books and playdates – let along work deadlines, dinner and getting that broken cupboard door fixed (I’m getting there, Mom, I promise). So really, it’s no wonder so many new moms lose themselves a bit along the way.
I “found myself” in high school. Then I found myself again while traveling on my gap year (this was a more thorough job, including a more defined identity based on piercings and hair dye). Then at varsity, I found myself all over again (at the bottom of a bottle, usually). After grad, I found a new self; then I found my soulmate and had to find myself all over again in the context of a life partnership. When I gave up waitressing and tutoring for the real world of working, I had to find myself all over again. And now here I am, lost again, and wondering why I didn’t just pull a Hansel and Gretel with the breadcrumbs and finished.
Nearly a year ago, when I realized that my office job was not making me happy, I took a big decision to change career paths. After much searching of soul and bank balances, and what must be the longest notice period in history (therein lies another tale…), I handed in my keys in June and stepped into the wonderful world of freelance writing.
It’s a little scary not having that reliable pay-cheque magically appearing each month, but it was a good choice. I’m happier, marginally less stressed, and I’m finding it easier to balance my work commitments with my commitment to my children.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum.
I was supposed to take a couple of months off to recover from the severe physical and emotional burnout of the last year. Then I was supposed to create a strategy that would balance all the important aspects of my life: parenting, profession, and things that are valuable to me. By leaving the confines and demands of my job, I was supposed to create time in between the writing and the childrearing to blog more often, to read more, to cook nutritious meals for my family, to get the vegetable garden up and running again.
Then this morning I realized I’d completely wandered off that path. I looked in the mirror and saw a gaunt but not unattractive woman with a bit of marmite in her hair. But I didn’t really recognize her. She certainly did not look like she had the time to write a blog or tend a veggie garden.
And then, in a melodramatic fashion fit only for a soap opera, the inner monologue started: Who am I (now)? Who do I want to be? What are my priorities? My passions? If I died today, would I be happy with the way I’ve lived my life? (I told you it was melodramatic.)
So I took the morning off to think about it. A few hours later, instead of answers, all I have are tighter deadlines and longer to-do lists. But at least I’m asking the questions again. And I had the most amazing sourdough welsh rarebit at the Corner Café, which in itself probably makes the quest worthwhile
Now I’m off to find those interview notes I thought I put in my bag this morning, then I’ll find the kids, find some clean nappies, and find the time to take them to the park.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll even find myself in the process.
Ever felt lost? I’d love to hear about it.