I’ve been thinking back over my tenure as a mother thus far and several distinct phases have emerged. They are as follows ::
- The Big Shift
- The Difficult, Down and Dirty Training
- The Inner Landscape Years
The Big Shift was, of course, the shift from whoever-I-was-before to Stay-at-Home-Mom.
I was lost in a new and bewildering land.
After a lifetime of unknowingly placing my value in test scores, in projects completed, in goals reached, in money earned, in praise received, staying at home required a Big Shift in how I saw myself, and in where I garnered my sense of self-value.
It was a long and uncomfortable process.
I’m pleased to realize that I am truly finished with the Big Shift. I know who I am in my present context, and what my value is, outside of a career, outside of academics. Indeed, I’d probably be scared spitless to return to a scenario in which I must depend on other people’s valuation of my work.
Almost simultaneously with The Big Shift was the Difficult, Down, and Dirty Training. It was a minimum of six months where I literally willed myself into basic housekeeping habits and consistent organization. Flylady was my savior, my constant companion.
Then after awhile, washing the dishes and making the bed right away became habits, the sense of being adrift without outside structure and approval faded, and I entered into The Inner Landscape Years.
Three or four years. One, two, three small children. Life was invested in, life was infants, toddlers, preschoolers.
During that time I did an enormous amount of reading across a wide spectrum of subjects. But due to (a) no venue for talking about it and (b) the inability to form complete sentences due to the manifestation of Mommy Brain, all that information and wisdom was locked up inside my head. I would look at articulate, well-spoken 45 year old women and could only hope–Maybe that will be me someday.
But through all that reading, learning, and thinking, my Inner Landscape bloomed and blossomed. Inside my head was a fascinating place to be, full of interesting and useful things. Fascinating, but isolated.
And now, ah now. Now I believe we are on the threshold of change.
Lia is coming on towards six now, and the wideness of the world is opening up before her. Our choice to be fully present in her journey of discovery is necessarily changing our family, changing our home, and changing my role here.
It’s early days, but I’m thinking that this next phase of my journey as a mother is going to involve Home in deeper, wider, more intricate ways. My sense of home is expanding beyond shelter, beyond daily details. It’s as if the foundations have been set, and we’re ready to make something truly beautiful.