Not a Stay-At-Home Mom

Working 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM five days a week (with every other Friday off) is a bummer.  I mean, I like my actual work.  I like my actual co-workers.  But I don’t love being tethered to an office for so many waking hours. Nobody does, though.  (Do they?)

Who can be surprised when I spent 10+ years working at home?  I am used to having the weird flexibility to wear pajama pants while I work as The Real Housewives of Dallas plays in the background.  I could literally roll out of bed and four minutes later be online, working.

(Now? I Roll out of bed at 5:30 AM–the sun is not up, but I am!–and then  drive down a crowded California freeway for thirty minutes.  From awake to work takes two solid hours.  Yesterday, I returned home twelve hours after I left. (Please.  Feel sorry for me.)

I just want to be home.

I am old enough, though, to not underestimate the value of health insurance for the whole family, not to mention the sweet thrill of the direct-deposit paycheck every two weeks. So, my soul withers away in a fluorescently lit office while my family asks me, “What’s for dinner?” 

(Indeed.  What is for dinner?  Dinner is a magic trick I pull out of my  Crock-Pot four or five nights a week. Dinner is a conundrum. Dinner is the bane of my existence. Dinner is for losers.  I hate dinner.)

What’s really bumming me out is the dismal thought that this is It.  This is the culmination of my working life and after this, I will just retire (if I’m lucky) and then drop dead. I feel like there is no space for dreaming and imagining a future beyond this job because I am old. 

I mean, no one starts a new career or earns a new degree or writes a first novel when one is 60 years old.  (Does one?)  (I’m not 60 but why quibble over time? Who has time for time-quibbling when one is whining and being generally disagreeable?)

Anyway. So, that’s how it’s going. I want to have a languorous stretch of time in which to think, to stitch, to write, to read, to dream, to . . . avoid cooking dinner.  I know how fast time goes by and I’m mad that I didn’t embrace all those moments from yesterday and last month and three years ago and the decade before that.

And I’m mad that I don’t have time today to do anything that really matters to me (though I did write this blog post and on my gosh, how good does it feel to just spill some words onto the computer screen?).

Slow down, speed up, wait.  I just want to look around for a minute. Can we just stop the clock?

Not a Stay-At-Home Mom

11 thoughts on “Not a Stay-At-Home Mom

  1. I’m retired without the means to do so. I’m taking a few more months to dwell on how to get my life back in some sort of order. I’m reading about 10 books at a time, watching Cranford on Amazon Prime, shopping for Christmas from the comfort of my couch, and generally doing nothing but going to bed oh so tired. I have cataract surgery on both eyes in January. Maybe after that I can see where I’m headed. Sometimes I wonder if the reason we all need health insurance is because we work so dang hard just to have it. Life is actually quite strange that way.

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  2. Karen Krieg Clark says:

    Melodee, I turned 60 this year and it’s not as bad as it looks;) I’m working on that first novel, as are several others in my writing circle. Please, don’t give up. You are an amazing writer! Transitioning kids out of the home was one of the hardest times in my life as a mom. It may be different for you, but for me, once I got them launched, the skies cleared a bit. My life is still crazy busy and retirement is not as close as my husband and I had hoped. But with just the two of us, life feels more sane.

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  3. Alice T Baldwin says:

    i heard somewhere women spend the first 30 yrs of their life trying to find a husband and the next 30 yrs trying to figure out what to have for dinner. Ha!
    glad to see a post. 🙂

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  4. Mel, maybe you could find a hobby, a creative one that involves using your hands, as much as your head. You an make things that track your life, decorate your home, build memories, end up as gifts. You could learn a skill, become a niche expert. You could acquire a traditional craft that your grandmothers had, that hasn’t been passed down. Find ways to tell small stories, the kind found only in children’s books.

    Your life is not over; you are just coming up against the hard reality of human mortality and finite, which has always been there.
    (I have come to think writing for the masses has become over-rated, while writing letters has become under-rated.)

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    1. I would like to do all those things . . . the problem is maybe not so much my age but the fact that my time is all sucked up by working. I leave home at 6:45 AM and return 11 hours later. There’s not much time for creating, thinking, dreaming, hobbying, etc. I have a LOT of things I’d like to do with my time . . .if only I wasn’t exchanging it all for a paycheck and benefits, you know? But THANK YOU for replying. I feel heard. I appreciate it!

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  5. Kathryn says:

    Melodee – I certainly commiserate with you. I am 53 years of age and have worked 26 years as a nurse in a Monday through Friday job. Have always wanted to be the stay at home mom but that dream never worked out- benefits and health insurance is important. You have a wonderful future ahead of you and retirement will be glorious. You are an excellent writer so hopefully you can pursue writing retreats and other things your heart enjoys. You are so wise to fire up the crockpot and I say pay for a maid and have your family do their own laundry……and in case you are wondering, – no, I do not have a maid and I find myself doing a lot of laundry so what do I know! Always enjoy your posts. Hang in there and God bless you.

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