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June 02, 2010

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

P4010057I don’t know what I do all day. If you asked me to make a list, I’m sure I could come up with something like: cared for kids, got groceries, cleaned bathrooms, cooked meals… but the list looks pretty short to account for a whole day. Yet every night I fall into bed completely exhausted. So what do I do? I am homeschooling nine year old twins and I run a consulting business from my home and I keep up with all the demands of running a home. It is enough to account for my time, yet I feel as if I haven’t got all that much to show for it. My house is semi-clean most days, my clients’ needs are met, and I do spend some (okay not enough) quality time with my kids. But I never feel like I stack up compared to many accomplished women my age. I haven’t started a non-profit to help disadvantaged children. I haven’t written a book. I’m not a leader in my industry. I’m not even super Mom.

I have always wanted to be a Mom and it took fifteen years of infertility to finally achieve my goal. So I am not underestimating the joy of having children; but in my fantasy version of myself, I sit for hours playing with my children, bake cookies, make cool art projects, go on educationally enlightening trips, and keep my cool in all circumstances. Reality doesn’t even come close. I don’t really like to play games with my kids (I get bored after a few minutes). I haven’t been in my art studio for so long it is filled with cobwebs. And most days it is all I can do to drag my children grocery shopping, let alone go on an educationally charged field trip. Grandma says I am too hard on myself. She’s probably right. My kids seem happy, everything eventually gets done, and I am still standing at the end of the day. But I still can’t shake that nagging feeling that I could do better. We are bombarded every day with images of women doing more, being better, living their best lives. Who are these women anyway? Where do they get the energy, the time, the pure moxy to accomplish such lofty goals? Do they have help? Are they independently wealthy? Are they born into networks with connections?

I keep telling myself that when my kids are older and don’t need me as much, then I can really shine. But reality has slapped me in the face there too. I am fifty years old and tired. I don’t think I will have the energy to get a PhD, write a book, have my work in a gallery, or change the educational system when my kids are older. Lately I have been asking myself why I set such high standards. Perhaps this is part of my premenopausal brain functioning, but recently I have seen a different reality. One in which what I do is good enough. Maybe I can learn to just live each day. To stop holding my life up to someone else’s yardstick and just enjoy the one I have. Hey, maybe that’s what they mean when they say ‘older and wiser.’ Maybe I am on my way to being a wise old crone. Maybe in the future I will be dispensing my wisdom to those with less life experience…oh crap, I’m doing it again! 

This is an original 50-Something Moms Blog post.