It’s 11:31 and…*ichigan still sucks!! Here, hubby and I sit, perched in front of Sportscenter absorbing every bit of the pre-game energy that comes with THE game of the season. But, I can’t help but to feel like something is missing. It is not the loss to Michigan State last week or the controversy of players handling the media poorly following the game. This feeling has haunted me for the past few seasons now.
This morning a realization hit… the old me is what is missing. Having kids has made me a different person. The things I pay attention to have entirely changed. I go through the same motions, I look like the same person, but my thoughts are elsewhere.
Pre-motherhood, I lived and breathed football each fall. Obviously, I followed my Buckeyes, but it was more than that. I could usually stand in a group of guys and hold my own in debating the teams and plays each week. It was my thing. I was a tomboy and loved every bit of it.
As a nurse, I also attempted to keep up on current events. In working with people, I always tried to keep up so I could break the ice with a patient from all sorts of angles. It was important to me to be able to relate and have knowledgeable conversations.
I prided myself in keeping up with the latest research. I always wanted to know exactly why a physician was choosing this path of therapy versus the other without explanation. I worked to figure out how to explain it to the patient in laymen terminology.
This week a friend was discussing frustrations she had with the riots in Chicago. I had no clue what she was talking about. Those conversations happen often nowadays. I try to keep up, but in the busyness of taking care of my children, reading the news falls way down the list of things to do.
Those are no longer “my thing.”
My world today is absorbed in all things child rearing. The terms “Tiger”, “Free Range” and “Hover” have all gained a different meaning. I can discuss podcasts and authors, but none of which are focused on the fictional. I can debate disciplinary styles. With Turkey-Man turning five in a couple of months, I have done plenty of research between public versus private schools. However, rarely do any of these subjects reach front page news.
Sometimes I feel bad when I am in a group of adults and can contribute little to the conversations. I kick myself some for not making a bigger effort in keeping up with the issues of the world. At other times, though, I recognize that this is the season of life I am in.
Someday I will not have small children in my care. Someday they will be grown and I will have space in my brain for more than Sesame Street, SuperWhy and all things Disney. My book reading horizon will expand beyond Dr. Seuss, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Kevin Leman and Meg Meeker, M.D. I will stop researching Amazon for the most educational toys and games. And, you know what, this sense of something missing will return. Those subjects will no longer be “my thing.”
Maybe I will go back to my love of sports. Sometimes I wonder if I will go back to nursing. Honestly, though, I doubt any of that will ever occupy my mind like that of getting to be a mom. I have a feeling “my thing” will forever be something focused on my role within my family, whether it is parenting my teenage children, how to be the best mother-in-law or spoiling my grandchildren.
Just like I loved the fact that my identity was wrapped up in my life as a tomboy and as a nurse, I adore my world being all things children. It is everything I craved for so many years. As much as I wanted it, no one could have prepared me for how I could be so detached from the outside world and yet completely fulfilled.
I never knew how the ABC’s could challenge an adult’s mind until I have tried to teach them to my children. I search for the best way to help my son understand why one plus one equals two or what sound each letter makes. All of the subjects that I focus on seem so simplistic to the adult mind, but when I view it through the lens of teaching my children, suddenly, it gains so much importance.
I look for the best ways to teach a little boy that thinks best while in motion. I am already pulling together an action plan for doing homework with a child who cannot sit still. Pre-children, I would have thought I would needed much more intellectual challenge in my life, but I don’t. Unlike concrete intellect, parenting is far more difficult to wrap my mind around. There are few right answers and always something more to learn.
“My thing” these days are wrapped up in two little bodies that occupy nearly every thought I have. I will watch football this afternoon, but refrain from cheering too loudly (or yelling at the T.V….!) so I don’t wake my kids from their naps. We will arrange lunch around maximizing their naptime to fall during the game. Not just today, but everything I do involves strategy. I am constantly factoring in how to do life best with two children.
My life as a stay-at-home mom is amazing! I cannot imagine anything else being so completely consuming and yet fulfilling at the same time. I absolutely love that this gets to be “my thing!”