The really amazing part of my life right now is that I have time to think. This is definitely one of those situation of not fully knowing what I was missing out on.
Well...I realized that I was quite occupied taking care of kids. I knew that I missed using my brain in a different way. I knew that I felt lonely a lot. I did not know how much better I would feel with a few hours a day without the kids. The lightness of being without my entourage has now filtered into the little corners of my life that were buried beneath the daily grind. I had stopped making eye contact with people, because I was perpetually scanning for a child who might run away. But now, I am really looking at people – in the eyes! – again. I had stopped casually chatting with people because 30 seconds of distraction might be the difference between escaping a store with or without a tantrum. Without a child in the cart, I now find myself joking more with sample cart clerks in Costco. I had convinced myself that I was not a very friendly person and that I was a huge introvert – but it is not entirely true. The kids' presence and demands have been so dominate in my life for so long, that my interaction with society in general had shifted to account for the children, their care, and my own need for personal space.
I think I currently have about 15 hours a week that I am not directly involved in some aspect of household/children. This time is mostly spent on job applications, interviews/networking, blogging, and occasionally, I slip in some designing for my Etsy store. Around the house, I am still doing all the chauffeuring of little people, the deep household cleaning, and home maintenance projects. Fifteen hours a week is not huge, but it is enough to dig out of the trench I had been living in.
At Christmas time (which coincides with my birthday), my family asked me what I wanted as a gift. And I could not bring myself to tell them anything. I knew that in February, Lucy, our au pair, would arrive and I felt guilty that I would give myself a few hours of NOT cleaning the house, or I would let myself have dates with Fritz, or that I would take time to write job applications. I felt like I was really indulging myself to let go of a few of the responsibilities that I have carried for so long. It seemed terribly selfish to ask for any Christmas or birthday gifts when I was (spending money and) giving myself this enormous gift of time.
I still feel that way. Who am I, to be able to sit here and type up this indulgent blog post? Every bit of everything felt like it needed to be directed to the kids and the household.
But I really wasn't well with so much of the same and so little time for myself.