Long before I had kids, long before having kids was even on the radar, I read Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own. I was in grad school, and I was twenty-two. I embraced its power-to-the-sister attitude and felt like my eyes were open for the first time. It gave me words to describe what I had always felt: being a woman is harder than being a man (sorry hubby).
Flash forward twenty years and I’m everything I thought I wouldn’t be after I read that book. I’m a stay-at-home Mom that doesn’t bring home any bacon, and although I work my butt off every day, I have very little tangible evidence of my toil. I’m a chauffeur, cook, laundromat, cleaning lady, teacher, referee, volunteer; the list goes on. In the midst of that, I am trying to find a way to be myself again (baby years equaled survival for me). I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My youngest just turned six and my oldest is eight. My kids are out of school for the summer, and I have been thinking a lot about that book that meant so much to me when I was twenty-two. As I drive to swim team (after ten stressful minutes of yelling at my kids to get in the frigging car), I find myself chanting the title silently in my head. It’s my mantra and brings cortisol levels back down. I fantasize about sitting quietly in a room by myself. Then one of my kids hits the other one and like magic Yelly Mommy appears again.
Right now, my house is a hot mess, and we are all getting on each other’s nerves (hubby included). I am struggling to juggle all of their activities (we have missed more than a few). I haven’t had a creative thought in two weeks. Forget about writing or taking pictures. I can squeeze in exercise because another mom started a workout class while the kids are in the pool at swim practice (thank God for moms who are more organized than me).
I have sixty-five and a half days until school starts (only eighteen and a half under my belt so far). I am going to neglect cleaning my literal rooms in favor of nurturing that figurative room of my own. Does it really matter if I empty the bathroom trash can all the time in case someone stops by (sorry in advance if you see a poopy wipe next time you’re here)? So how are those of you who either have or had school-aged kids going to survive the summer and find time for yourself?