Friday, May 04, 2007

Time to feed the fish

Have you ever felt like you've no identity inside the four walls of your home? Yeah, me too. What's more, I'm getting the distinct feeling I'm trapped here. Just thinking about my inability to venture beyond my own doormat for anything besides the grocery or visits to the orthodontist has me feeling suffocated.

I heard this song on a Scrubs (Season 2 disc 2) re-run the other day. I don't know what it's called, but the tag line throughout the song was "I'm waiting for my real life to start." It was part of a little dream sequence in which a dying woman was singing to her friends and family about what was coming in her very near future. The arrangement was smooth and reflective, almost had a mournful quality to it without being sad. Anyway, as I sat there listening, I realized I was almost jealous of that woman. Not jealous of the fact that she was dying, God no, but that she had something different to look forward to.

I know. Boo hoo Dellaina, y'big whiner. But wait, this'll all make sense. I hope. I'm still shaking it out myself.

See, it's like this. I sometimes feel like I'm in my own little ranch house-shaped fishbowl, looking out at the world from my kitchen window... or from my minivan windows... or from the pediatrician's window... Like there's this whole big world thing out there and I'm trying to figure out a way to reach out and touch it without getting scooped up by the Laundry Net or the Dishwasher Net or the Poopy Diaper Net or the Tantrum Net and wind up plooped back into the bowl.

Is there more to it than this? Am I only Dan's wife, Ashley, Jonah and Mary-Beth's mother, Hazel's source of kibble and water, and various other roles I play during the day? What part of all this is me? At what point do they become an apron I can hang up at the end of the day so I can wear my own uniform?

I can't believe I'm saying this at my age, but it's like I'm waiting for my real life to start. And since I like to play my own devil's advocate I have to ask myself: do I even know what that means? What exactly am I waiting for? And would I recognize it once it started? Would I be happy then? And what exactly does "then" look like? Weird? I'm not unhappy, but I'm sure not feeling like "a reliable and useful engine" as Sir Topham Hat would say.

Dammit. Even my euphemisms are from children's shows. That's sick, man.

I've recently told someone that she's got a responsibility to her family to make life happen for her and her children, that to sit back and let life happen to her is unacceptable and inexcusable in her situation. Someone had to say it and we all know I'm okay with that person being me. But now, faced with having to eat my own words, I'm wondering how to practice what I preach but without hurting my family in the process.

I don't want to spend my time feeling like the invisible wife in that commercial who goes unnoticed through her home fixing this and folding that. And I'm almost positive it's not on the shoulders of those I live with to make this go away. I need to fix this myself, I know that, but somehow without neglecting my family. See, I really do love and adore them, and I wouldn't want to be out in the world somewhere, feeling liberated and autonomous, but ignoring my husband and children. Honestly, given the alternatives, I'd much rather be here in my fish bowl and be Dan's wife, Ashley, Jonah and Mary-Beth's mother, Hazel's source of kibble and water. Is there truly no way to do both?

I have about 30 regular readers who most likely have been there. So tell me folks, what's the solution? I can't be the only one to sense that stepping off your doormat and into the world without looking back won't solve the problem. Is there a way to claim my own identity without sacrificing my family on the altar of Dellaina's Lib?


Ice Cream said...

can i just say that yours is the first blog i've read all week that made me feel like i wasn't alone? after looking at your profile i was happy to see that it is because we are a bit alike. i am homescooling 3 of my four young kids in wa state too. (Sorry, my shift button never seems to want to work). thanks for the wonderully down to earth blog.

cindy said...

i think it's very very important to have something to call your own besides the home and kids--especially for those of us loony enough to stay at home full time. =) don't you even home school, too?

i did this by taking creative writing classes at the local uni extension (one night a week for about two months). then i wrote a novel! the fact that i had nothing else but this made me keep going. it kept me sane. because it was all me and all mine.

i also do an art class once a week. i have most of saturdays to myself to run errands, do spa treatments, just sit at the coffee shop and read, etc.

to be a good mom, we need to rejuvenate ourselves. we need to trat ourselves to a little alone time. you can't give and give lest you are left with nothing more.

i hope you take some time to treat yourself! and pick up a hobby or two you can selfishly call your own. love your blog, girl!

Betsy said...

I wrote about something very similar in my entry about naps- The Eye of the Hurricane- I know how you feel. Is it better that you've had a career and know you can do more? Is it harder or easier to then stay at home? I truly don't know. But if you ever need to sigh into your phone talking to someone who knows what you're talking about, you know how to reach me.

Ice Cream said...

Mamma Chronicles,
I don't know if you do memes but I tagged you for "Seven Random Things About Me" over at my site. I'd love to see what you come up with =)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oh Dellaina. Ugh! For me, I took on Holly's dare and started walking. And now I'm running/walking/staggering/sweating like a sick pig...but still going.
It's a bit trickier for you, though. You're out in the middle of a reaaaaally hot desert and no where to really go, kwim?? Hopefully there's something you can do, some kind of stimulation (mental, physical or whatever) to make you feel alive again. For me, just finding some sort of outlet that clicked with my daily routine brought me out of my slump. (as in using my ipod while walking and not feeling the least bit guilty that the little buggers are screaming and hitting each other.)
Hugs, kisses and mucho mojo going out to you

Montgummibears said...

I LOVE You! I really don't have to say much more than that. Don't forget to call me anytime, you KNOW that I know how you feel. :) Thursdays will happen we need to get out to the market too. Whatever it is, call me. I love you, friend...

Lydianna Bradford said...

I have really struggled with this too -- I think that's been one reason its been so tough for me to decide to homeschool -- I can't mesh the fact that I am called to having a large family (which I know that I know that I know) with the fact that I also know I am more then just "Mom" (even though I know "Mom" is a wonderful thing to be) and have desires of ministry and education that are time consuming and separate. Thanks for making me feel not so alone!

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