I had a conversation yesterday about feeling unmoored now that school is out, even though I was only teaching two afternoons a week, and how it's important to have something to hang my days on - if not a job, then a yoga class, or a baby date, or a women's circle, or something. Something on the calendar, to anchor the otherwise aimless space. It's not aimless, of course, it's filled with the most important work of all: raising my boy. Nevertheless, especially after 7 months (!) of it, it feels like time to get out and do something else. I'm starting to hit my wall of going round and round with the baby toys, how can we entertain you now, what can I do to get that heart-melting grin and giggle, constant energy and attention. It's exhausting. And when it's nonstop, it stops being fun, and I don't want to stop having fun with my baby. So the time has come to bring in the babysitters and work out a balanced parenting schedule (I always wince using that as a verb. Well, a gerund here, I think, but still) and go dancing.
The other piece of it had to do with working and how we undervalue the work of being at home and raising a kid. (and I get the double hit, with my "real" work of teaching being undervalued too! Oh sure, we say education is the most important thing, but we don't walk the walk.) As I live it, even in an enlightened and progressive area, I feel how unfair it is. If you can't define yourself with money, you don't count. You don't get the benefits of being retired (think palm trees and daiquiris) and it's almost like you're not a real person. Yes, I know this is not news, but it is new for me to feel this way, to feel like I have to justify what I'm doing somehow, to fight for the recognition that I am working more now than I ever have before. No, it's not a "job" that pays me money, but I don't have a union guaranteeing me a coffee break every 4 hours either. (Sorry, kid, you can't get up from your nap yet, it's not time for me to clock back in) Ok, this isn't totally fair, a lot of people celebrate this time in our life and clearly do value it. They're not the ones I'm talking about. (I get a lot of props for teaching, too, but my microcosm isn't matched on a national level)
I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say; I'm not feeling particularly articulate at the moment, but that conversation has been bubbling around in my mind and I needed to get it out somehow. And I may not be getting drinks from the cabana boy, but I do have something way better, a most incredible little man that lights up my life and lives up to all the hype. So there, world.