My big boy starts Kindergarten today. Whooooppppeeee! Did I just write that? Oh yes I did. I am not one of those moms who will suffer from separation anxiety, but [sigh] I will probably cry because this is a big step. Since becoming a mom nearly six years ago, I have experienced the full spectrum of human emotion on the roller coaster called motherhood.
Things I’ve given up:
Romance (just kidding, but kind of not)
Things I’ve had to do:
Clean up all manner of bodily fluids
Learn how to cook deceptively healthy meals
Multi-task (my lists have lists…it’s ridiculous)
Survive newborn insomnia (twice)
Things we’ve gotten to do:
Things I’ve learned:
Appreciation (thanks Mom…this is so hard)
The perfect tickle technique
From an existential perspective, I’m raising two kids alongside of a writing career (and when I say writing career, I mean I work in the basement, stringing together bits of writing time like seed beads on a string).
Since leaving my teaching job in 2009, I’ve decided to focus on what is most important to me: being the heart of my family. At times, I get all charged up to go back to work, thinking “I’m smart, I’m driven, I’m not a Stepford wife, I’m not Mrs. Cleaver.” Many days I am completely out of my head BORED, but then I look at these two kids and wonder, “Who will if not me?” And it’s an existential question, not a practical one. Yes, I can find a good sitter, but I know that deep down–for me–I HAVE to do this. When I think of the big picture of my life, I want to stay home with my kids until they are in school. Then, I want a career that allows me to be available for them if they get sick or have a school holiday.
I wasn’t always that way. I was the uber-independent woman who never had a relationship that lasted longer than two months. Before meeting my husband, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have kids. Then the right man made his way into my life, we birthed two little ones, and now here we are. This change has not been smooth for me. In fact, it’s reached dark night of the soul status a few times.
On a regular basis, I ask myself tough meaning-of-life questions like: Who am I? What am I doing? Sometimes it’s not for philosophical reasons either. Sometimes I’m just so frazzled or exhausted that I literally roam around my house trying to figure out what it is that I’m trying to do. Oh yeah. There’s my cup of coffee.
There is no singular way to raise a family; my way is a work in progress. Even though I may not have much time or energy to craft the great American novel, I know that I’ve dedicated this small piece of my life to my two best creations. Eventually, my little pieces of immortality will go out into the wide world and be my little ambassadors, representing all the love and care (and time outs) I’ve given them. And that’s my bigger picture.
To all the mommies of kindergartners: good job and try not to cry too much.
To Xavier: Have a good first day at school. I love you.
Camille Faye | Author of Voodoo Butterfly | Coming Fall 2014
Experience love, purpose, and the paranormal in New Orleans.