Friday, July 25, 2008

Who Am I, Again?

This week, while the kids have been at camp, I have been enjoying myself tremendously. I haven't done anything in particular that I wouldn't have been able to do with them, per se; it's that I've done it all sans fighting, whining, and the inevitable World Tour Of Public Restrooms. I've cleaned out and replanted a section of the yard, caught up on all the housework that has been behind since I was in the hospital, done mountains of laundry, and walked the dogs almost every morning, which is one of my favorite things to do. All in the sanctity and peace of my own thoughts. Ohm.

This has made me wonder, where would I be if I didn't have kids? My entire life would be different. I would never have worked at Raytheon, that's for sure, since that entire company is against my philosophy of life (they basically make profit off of warmongering). I would probably still work for a nonprofit in DC somewhere. Would we have moved to the country? I would probably have many interesting hobbies, and be in a lot better shape than I am now. We would actually take vacations, and I would have left North America by now at least once.

I'm not saying that I regret my life choices, and certainly not that I regret my children, because of course I wouldn't trade them for the world! But, this is the first time I've been alone since I left work six years ago, and really the first time I've had an extended period by myself EVER. I mean, I was always either at work, or at the least with DH, unless it was a rare sick day or something when I was alone for a few hours. This week, though, I have been alone for about nine hours a day, every day.

What really started me thinking was an ad I saw in the paper yesterday for an assistant at a photo studio in a nearby town. No experience needed, it says, work while your kids are in school. Now, that sounds pretty appealing. I'm good with people, and I'm a decent photographer, so I think I would be a pretty good assistant. But, do I want to give up what I haven't even had yet? I've fallen into a lot of jobs over the years becasue either I was desperate or I had a child and had to take whatever there was that would allow me to drop off / pick up at a certain time. With the kids both being in school in the fall, I have a chance to do something I actually WANT to do... but what is that, exactly?

Part of me thinks, it might be fun to check out that photography studio, see what it's about. Another part of me thinks, yeah, but who will be here on all the weird half-days and icey days and vacations and for teacher meetings and field trips? What about them?

I also think, since I'm not going to be here with the kids, am I then just being a drain on the family? Does that make me basically a glorified maid during the days, if all I'm doing is housework until the chilluns come home?

I think, as exciting as the prospect of reliable time to myself is, it's also stressing me out a little. People keep asking me what I'm going to do with myself, and I have no answer. I'm a planner, and I like knowing what's coming up. I have no idea what my life is going to be like after the next three weeks, really. I feel like I'm going to be meeting a stranger at the door when I get back from dropping the kids at the bus stop in the mornings, and the idea makes me feel slightly discombobulated.


Erin said...

"World Tour of Public Restrooms" is FUNNY.

I can definitely see what you're saying. It's like the completely opposite of what the past 6 years have been like for you. That is a tough one. I have no useful advice, just saying I hear ya.

Susiewearsthepants said...

I know just what you mean. During the summer both my girls travel to visit family and friends. It's fun for them to be gone for a while, but then I sort of don't know what to do with myself. You know, cuz most of my life revolves around them. I wouldn't rush into any decisions. Take some time and think about it. BTW, the cell phone company was not Sprint, although I have not heard good things about them. It was actually Verizon, much to my dismay.

Kristin.... said...

OMG I could have written this today. Including the World Tour of Public Restrooms (so truly annoying).

I've only been home for 3 1/2 years, but I feel exactly the same way you do.

So, I'm no help at all, am I?

Swistle said...

This stresses me out, too. Right now my plan is to keep having children, because it keeps pushing that "decision time" into the future.

Rebecca said...

Well, only half of mine are going to school in a few weeks, but I do wonder what I'll do when all 4 are in school and I have time. I suspect I'll feel quite busy despite the being alone. Just a different kind of busy. (ps followed you here from your comment on 3 Cute Kids)

Creative Kerfuffle said...

i'm trying not to turn green w/ envy over your 9 hours of you time a day : )
i'd say don't jump into the job quite yet, it's only been one week. after 6 yrs i'd say you deserve more than a 1 week vacation before you have to plan/work/be something else right?
and i totally get the part about wondering where you'd be if you didn't have kids--of course we love our kids and wouldn't change that part--but it does make you wonder what turns your life would have taken.