"I was jealous. I was jealous that he could respond, so agile and free, to his own urge. I was jealous that he could begin the day, eat a meal, leave a room, have a plan, and mind his own business. But mostly, I was jealous that he could go to the bathroom whenever he wanted."

- Karen Maezen Miller in Momma Zen, pg.55/56

I've been on edge lately. It looks like this: Pleasant with a razor sharp edge under the surface. Do you know this place? This place between sunshine and despair, joy and sudden tears. I am keenly aware of it, mostly because the recipient of my edge is my husband and at some point he let's holds up a mirror and I usually don't like what I see.

Unaware of why I was really feeling the way I was feeling, I picked up Momma Zen and read 2 more chapters. Its one of those books that sits on my nightstand waiting. Waiting got me to need its wisdom and permission. And there, in the chapter entitled No Exit was the gem I was looking for.

Unpleasant, green, festering jealousy for his {my unsuspecting husband's} assumed freedom - to eat his breakfast in peace, to shower without needing to have childcare or nap-time and to leave the house and join the rest of the adult world, for at least 8 hours.

I suppose it is the constancy and alwaysness of motherhood, and perhaps more so of stay-at-home motherhood, that is feeling constricting and soul deadening. Yes, soul deadening, I said. And now that I have said it, I can move away from the dramatic tone of that sentiment and be more proactive in finding a way to embrace my life as it is right now.

I am not always grateful for my circumstance to stay home with our son. What was intended as a year has now become it just "makes sense". With childcare costs, an entrpeneur husband whose company is very much in start up mode, a list of grown-up to-dos that need a project manager AND the desire to actually raise our child in the way that we want, there is no better place for me. And most of the time, I feel okay with it. Not great, but okay. But then the "me" voice slithers in between the cracks and I meet women who are living their passion and I enter the dark tunnel of "when is it my turn". And that, that is just not a pretty place to be because then motherhood and wifehood starts to feel like a cage that I want to get out of - because it then doesn't feel like a choice. When in all irony, everyday, every moment, every thought is my choice.

Still in No Exit, Ms. Miller writes, "Motherhood is a club you cannot quit, a job you cannot shove, a prize that is non-transferable. You're in it, and you can't get out."

Yup, that is how its been feeling. And yup, that is why I have been one unpleasant person to the one person who at the end of the day is team mate, my partner in crime.

Again I was reminded that my whole internal dialogue and my seemingly intolerable circumstances and my "woe is me" dilemna, is not as unique or special as I was hoping it would be. Nope, not alone. Nope, not special. Nope, not even unique. And knowing that, instantly and always makes me feel better. I just need to figure out a way to not forget that in the first place.

For now, I am printing this out and putting it on the refrigerator, right there on the door, to read every morning, until the assignment is no longer an assignment but simply my modus operandi:

"Today's assignment is to drop the woebegone wishes and daydreams, the ruinous comparisons to the paradise lost or aspirations unfulfilled. Tomorrow, drop them again. When you need a change, make one. When you need a break, take one. When you need help, get it. When it's time to work, work. When you need to go to the bathroom.....Free at last."

All quotes from the book Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller

1 comment:

Karen Maezen Miller said...

Thank you for posting this on my front door. I'll take up the assignment again.