Every once and a while, when the planets are misaligned, the selfish ‘tween in me wants to scream at the universe for not making things go my way. I want the square peg in the round hole, dammit, and I want it yesterday! When I was growing up and picturing and planning my life, I can guarantee you it didn’t look like what I see on a daily basis. In actuality, I worked incredibly hard to avoid this very situation of stay-at-home-momness. I don’t mean to imply that my life is horrible or that I hate it—it’s not, and I don’t (97% of the time)—but it isn’t what I saw for myself (or what I had been working toward) either, and making peace with that, or just adapting my vision and shifting my time-line, is a challenge that enjoys rearing it’s pissy little head at me with regularity lately, and to quote Billy Crystal’s SNL character, Willie The Masochist, “I hate it when that happens.”
When the challenge of being the only responsible adult in the house is especially burdensome, I am as resentful as the next person in the bathroom after the toilet paper has been used up and not replaced. Maybe even a little more than that. When I get my wallow on, my resentment knows no bounds. I experience my own little bitter supernova. K is the easiest target (for being in the Army and leaving me to deal with the kids and every other little thing here at home by myself), but I like to throw in the Army (for giving us the means to add some tension and division to our marriage), terrorists (for being such evil asshats and the catalyst for my lack of in-person partner), feminists (for selling an ideal that for so many women is not realistic and, when unattainable, guilt-inducing), and finally my own expectations (should they be so high?). They all get a crack at making the top of the list depending on the time of day and the direction of the wind. I resent that K gets to go do the job he loves and have adventures (yes, I’m aware that it’s not all fun and games where he is, but it is different), while I’m home doing a job I sometimes think I’m ill-qualified to have and my biggest adventure is making it out of Target without one or both of the kids crying because they didn’t get whatever glittery piece of plastic junk they thought they would die without. My favorite ridiculous thing to resent is my graduate degree (it mocks me). On top of it not being useful currently, it’s a financial burden. Double the fun. Don’t ask where my diploma is because I can’t even tell you—I’ve hidden it that well. Eventually, I even get around to resenting being resentful. That’s what I call a productive day.
The trick is not letting resentment bubble over and snowball into something more grievous. I won’t know if I am successful at mastering that skill for a long time. Like I said, it’s something I struggle with. I don’t have a secret formula or 8-step program to make it go away, and I’m not so selfless that I can feel good about putting myself last indefinitely. I’m learning greater patience (thanks, Monkey) and I write to put those feelings more on paper than on people. In the end, though, life is what you make it. I know this. So I bust my ass to make sure that that resentment doesn’t take over (and really, who doesn’t want to let the crazy, bitter, chick take the wheel?! Talk about adventure! /sarcasm). I haven’t learned to shed those feelings completely—I’m neither Superwoman, nor perfect, nor remotely enlightened. You have to have time and focus to become those greater things and time is at a premium in my house and Focus is the kind of car K drives. The best I can do is try not to let those feelings rule my life and cloud my thinking, and, instead, make opportunities to create a different path to the life I envisioned for myself. A Road Less Traveled, if you will (thanks Mr. Frost!) or if I may steal an over-used Hollywood phrase—a “reboot.” Hey, it worked for Star Trek, why not me?
Yesterday was a day I let things get to me. I was just simmering and angry and in a mood to sell the kids, pack up the dogs, and go to parts unknown. I doubt anyone but me knew I was feeling that way which is a good thing. But not even kickboxing was beating off the dark cloud, and usually punching and kicking the standing bag across the room does wonders for me. Luckily it was really windy out and I had the option to be wussy and stay indoors until the wind died down and the sun came out. By day’s end, I had gotten a dozen hugs and kisses from my boy for no good reason, watched him voluntarily try veggies and like them (earning him a dozen hugs and kisses from me), help R work through a rough patch of missing her Daddy (which she tries so hard to manage on her own, brave girl that she is), and finally forced myself into a better mood by singing (thank you Incubus—you are always there when I need you!) as I cleaned up the very messy kitchen, took out the garbage, and tossed in a load of laundry (I know, it sounds like I stole my evening from Snow White…). I was even able to appreciate the clear night sky with its twinkling stars and bright half moon as I brought the dogs in from their last venture out for the night. When the kids were finally asleep and I had the benefit of a few quiet moments, I thought about how to cut some corners into the round hole so I can choose the peg that works best for me, and I woke up feeling less resentful and more hopeful that the crazy chick will not find the keys to the car today.
Lastly, and somewhat off topic, Happy Greek Independence Day from a fairly independent, and—in spite of what I wrote up above—happy Greek. Zito Hellas!