I have been a mother for a long time. My first child was born when I was 22 and he was something like 8,492 gestational weeks old. Ever since then I have devoted most of my energy and brain space to being a good mother. I’m 48 years old. Yeah, that makes TWENTY-SIX years of motherhood. Is it any miracle that I’m ready for some down time? Some ‘me’ time? A little space to do something that I want and maybe even to get paid for it?
Of course, I worked while raising kids. I was a single mom for years but who’s counting? I watched other people’s kids for pay, did admin jobs that I detested both for the lack of challenge and the lack of sunlight, cleaned stalls for minimum wage, none of which ever turned into a career. I already had one, albeit not one recognized back then as a career and certainly not one that garners respect, even today. In fact, I find it handy to tell people I’m not interested in conversing with that I’m a career mom. They always glaze over immediately and never look at me again. Yes, because there are only certain people I’m not really interested in talking to: the ones who have to rank me as worthy or unworthy based on my job title. Make mine unworthy, please. In fact, I’ll take two!
So here I am at 48 wanting all of these selfish things and it is such an alien place that I’m not sure what to do. What are these things, you may ask? Okay, but take a deep breath first and silence your inner butt-clenching Republican.
I’m working my way toward a degree as a professional herbalist. I am studying energy healing of several different ilks while also seeking my 2nd degree Reiki attunements. I am going to attend a weekend Shamanic Priestess training. Each month I hostess a Red Tent Temple where women gather to share in a warm, safe, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas space reserved for women only. Yes folks, the kids stay home. These things are all work that I feel drawn to do and yes, some are female-centric.
Even if you think that learning about herbs and Shamanism is a waste of time, you have to admit that none of these things are ill-intended or damaging to anyone. So why is it so hard for me to do them? Why is it so difficult to disengage from this life I’ve set myself up for. Oh. Yes. Because it what I’ve been doing for 26 years and it’s also what I have loved and cherished for as long. (Not that this means I’ve always been the world’s most stellar mom. Far from it. But I’ve learned along the way and think, mostly, I did okay.)
This post was supposed to be a rant about how today everyone is gone who is normally here to help and how I had to skip my bath because there’s no hot water because the furnace can’t keep up; the dog had diarrhea everywhere and I had to clean up that mess and drag the crates outside to be cleaned aired; all of the barn chores were mine and tonight’s probably will be, too; and the young men who ate all of my fucking black bean chili were too rude to put their dishes in the dishwasher and I am going to punch them all in the eye/s when they get back. The post morphed into something else…a whine? Permission seeking to do what I want? Regardless, the poo–canine and equine is cleared but I have yet to bathe and here we are, almost at the end of the post.
Have you spent your life doing for others and suddenly feel an urge to be selfish, to do things for you? How are you coping? Are you managing to break the mold without burning bridges? Are you setting those goddamned bridges afire and laughing as they go up in flame? What are you doing for you? Tell me, please, there is healing in solidarity.