Today’s question was: What’s your favorite way to waste time at work without getting caught?
At first, I wasn’t sure I really had an answer to give since, well, I don’t work.
I am a stay-at-home-mom and have been since August 2012. Up until that time, I had been a working mom. Sometimes I had been a student mom or welfare mom. The fact is that “mom” has been part of my identity and unpaid job description since I was 17 years old; the entirety of my adult life.
A significant portion of my 26+ years, as a mom, was spent as a single mom. The periods when I was not going to school and/or engaged in paid employment, were times I was labelled by myself and others as “welfare mom” rather than as a SAHM.
The sad thing is that I didn’t understand or realize that mom was a job to be proud of and a role or identity that had value or was critically important.
This is probably because my mom had difficulty being a young, single-mom throughout the 70’s and by Fall of 1982, she was gone from this earth. She struggled with not being able to be who she was and wanted to be: intuitive, thoughtful, and highly intelligent in the context of trying to survive as a single-mom.
Three marriages in six years and a variety of unfulfilling, dead-end jobs, while parenting the lost little girl I was, seemingly sucked the life out of her. When she found out that one of her decisions irreparably affected my life, guilt and depression finished her off.
So, my life before 12 had an emotionally distant and disengaged mom. After 12 I didn’t have a mom at all.
As much as I fought to not repeat those patterns and cycles with my, now adult, children, I did. Not only did I repeat them, I definitely put my own spin on it and have watched them sink lower and suffer more damage than I think I did.
It wasn’t all bad and throughout it all I sought to educate myself through parenting classes and gain understanding and healing through a variety of methods. I facilitated relationships and supports that have helped them come through some of their darkest times, so far, and they are better equipped to handle life’s challenges than I was at their ages.
In the four years since Luna was born, I’ve fought harder to do better and be better for her. I don’t want to hurt her like I did her siblings.
At the same time, like what happened with my mom, a piece of me was dying inside.
At the moment I found out the rabbit died, I let any hope for a different life die too. My plans to prepare for empty nest had to be let go so I could concentrate on feathering a new one.
I gave up on my plans to return to college. I had begun the process of designing my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Social Work.
I knew myself, my history, and my physical/psychological limitations. I believed in them more than I believed in my own potential. I believed that Luna was my last opportunity to get it right as a mom. I believed wholeheartedly that she deserved something completely different than her brother and sister had – something different and better than I had.
In order to do that, I decided to let go of my dream and to try to dream a different one: be the mom she deserves, committed to the stability she needs, with both her parents.
I’ve worked really hard to do this. I’ve come a long way. There is still more to do and I’m in this for the long haul. I am a good mom and I’m getting better.
However, mom isn’t all I am.
The dream I thought I killed off has been smoldering beneath the surface. The dream to write and reach people learn how to help themselves to be the change agents in their own lives.
I guess I had to figure out how to do that for myself first. Something an academic education can’t teach, only enhance.
So now, I’m a writer-mom.
As a writer, things like watching television and movies, watching Luna play, and getting sucked into torrid debates on Facebook can all be sources of inspiration.
I can finally accept and realize that there is nothing about my life, past or present, that is a waste of time.
Here was my answer to Marc’s QoD:
Well, my first job is SAHM and my kid is sort of my boss, so as far as she’s concerned, anything I do that isn’t directly related to reading to her, cuddling, listening to her elaborate and imaginative stories, etc. is a waste of time and I always get caught. As a writer, in transition from hobbyist to free-lance, I’m my own boss. In this context, anything and everything I do and experience is fodder and inspiration for my writing. So I may choose things other than housework to gain inspiration from, and no time is wasted, ever!