I have remarked before that I would feel naked without my job and I wouldn’t know what to do with my time. My dependency on my job to fill my weekdays is obvious and predictable. After all I’ve been working full time for many years, with a little time off to have babies in that time. I recall when I started my first maternity leave I was fearful of being bored. I thank all of my friends who were already parents for refraining from slapping me. The problem would not be boredom, it would be learning what activities with which to fill my weekdays while the rest of the world was occupied with their traditional employment. I gradually began to LOVE shopping on weekdays while the rest of the world toiled away in cube farms. No line ups, light traffic, peaceful trips around the shiny clean empty grocery store, taking my time choosing food items. I was also outdoors a lot, having 2 little kids and a dog that all needed airing out. Plus the crying, wailing and barking were much quieter when the noise was not bouncing off walls. I’m also a loner. Babies and dogs don’t make much conversation.
When it was time for me to go back to work after each maternity leave, I died a little inside. I had to get acclimated to being indoors all the time, in front of a screen, churning out work that seemed rather meaningless, and spending time away from my offspring, beloved home and neighbourhood. But I did in fact get used to the cube farm once again, and accepted my fate. Nowadays I don’t know who I am if I’m not employed.
I live in a community that, while expensive to live in (since it’s in a city and real estate is in high demand) still contains many retro nuclear families where the mother stays home and the daddy goes off to work. When I think about being in that position I wonder about what I would do to fill my time. I dislike cooking, sometimes enjoy baking, amazing at cleaning but hate doing it, and oh my god please do not sign me up to volunteer for a field trip or a school activity. My neighbour remarked recently that I seem to love kids. I corrected her; I love MY kids. I can be myself with my kids. I can be in a bad mood, I can be relaxed, I can have a good time with them because I know what to expect and there are only 4 of them that I see regularly. But being put in a situation with 10 or more kids and I’m in my own personal hell; being asked many questions and having my sleeve tugged on and being surrounded by a cacophony of extremely-boring-exciting-for-the-speaker-conversations. Kids are more likely to exhibit asshole behaviour when their own parents aren’t around. No thanks very much I’ll take a pass.
Pushing against being a cube farmer is tiring. I’m paddling against a very hard tide when I try to think of other ways to provide for my family and fill my time. Part of the process for me to be more creative earning income is to sell our home at a profit and move. We have re-started the process of ‘fluffing’ our house. We thought we were done, but because of a lack of offers from buyers, we are having the interior of our house painted to bump it up a notch and perhaps spur some new interest. So far this entire house process (including looking for months, finding the new place, and now selling the old place) has taken a very long time. During this very long time I have been alternately not telling the offspring about some events (which is very hard for me) and then telling them about others and getting their buy-in for our big move. I have been somewhat successful in explaining and convincing everyone around me (including friends, parents, kids of all ages) that husband and I are conducting this transformation to benefit our family. But not everyone remains convinced nor understands the humongous undertaking, nor is happy about the upcoming move. And if we don’t sell our house for the price we want/need to make the move worthwhile, we are not going to move at all. So all of my effort will have been for naught. I think that’s what offends me the most.
But I am tired of fighting. If our house doesn’t sell, we won’t move, and I will slide back into cube farm life pretty easily. Currently I’m bristling against my collar but soon enough that feeling will go away if my life gets easier because we are not moving. I actually don’t care anymore about changing my world and that of my immediate circle. I will fluff the house one last time and then I throw in the towel. Fuck it.