Existential Crisis, Yet Again

The other day I was shuffling through a bunch of papers that had come from the school, and noticed that the school is starting enrollment for a special preschool program. An ALL DAY class. Last year, around the end of the year, I entered him on a lark and Little Man was chosen. Unfortunately, I didn't think we had a prayer of landing a spot, and he was no where close to potty training. I had to turn it down.

But now it's back on! And maybe it isn't so hard to get in? Maybe I'll stress over it, and won't get a call at all. Who knows. So let's head directly to my default freakout. 

Homeboy is BORED at home with me solo all day. Without his super fun sisters, life is DULL. I feel bad for the guy. He asks every morning, after the girls embark on the bus, if we can have a "date" together. This means he wants me to take him out to eat, his most favorite of pastimes. Every. Day. The news that this isn't going to happen is devastating to his delicate little constitution. (read: tantrums) 

He'd do great with other kids, and could maybe even handle the all day schedule. He's spotty on naps as it is! I forget he is a different kid than the girls. Squirt could, at 6, take a 3 hr. nap almost daily. Little Man could function without them at present- it's just that I cannot function without his daily nap. Or at least the a hope of a nap. 

A small consideration is that Little Man is not allowed to ride the bus- like at all. So I'd have to pick all 3 up from school and drop them off in the morning. It is BUSY on those mean streets, man. There is no good way to shove ten million cars onto regular sized roads for a 30 minute window twice a day. Besides, I really enjoy our small bus stop walks in the morning and afternoon. Being in "nature" for ten minute spurts. I might mourn bus loss a bit if this really happens. On the plus side, I can get away with morning drop off in my pajamas, in the privacy of the driver's seat, behind my tinted windows. Maybe even braless. So that's a bonus. 

Now to the heart of the issue: GUYS! What WILL I do all day without any kids? Perhaps I'm being naive, but that seems like a lot of free time. (Six hourrrrs! I don't even get to sleep that long) I can only deep clean the house for so long, right? Sure, maybe I could get a gym membership and tone up that skin flap that hangs off my front. Perhaps I could meet friends for lunch, get my hair done on a more-than-once-a-year basis. I could schedule REGULAR dental appointments! All of these options just seem so FRIVOLOUS to me. My husband has to go to work every day, and I've felt okay with the balance of work because staying home with these kids has been WAY more work than any job I've ever had. It seemed like a fair division of labor. But if I'm just sitting here on the couch with a Diet Coke & a cupcake watching all of Netflix? Well that seems wildly unfair. And perhaps after the first few days, boring even. 

So I should get a little part time job, right? Do those even exist? My availability would be hardcore rigid. Drop off kids at 9, pick up at 3:30. And if they get the sniffles? Or the flu? That could take us out for weeks- the running cold carousel. Of course I can always come up with ways to spend the imaginary, extra supplemental income money. (who wouldn't?!) We could get some of the things lower on the financial priority list taken care of, which would be insanely amazing. Yet, I'm not sure entirely possible as I doubt there any jobs out there that would meet my requirements. Plus, do I really want to lose the only perk to my stay-at-home gig? (doing the things on my own terms. I have a remarkable amount of flexibility with my time. It's all booked up, but I can rearrange as I deem necessary. The dogs need a bath/trim, but we need another gallon of milk more! Move the dogs to tomorrow!) 

I talked to The Husband about this and he was remarkably affable about the whole thing. (after he razzed me about the easy & flexible work of fast food jobs) "No, you shouldn't get a job! You should get a hobby! Have fun, do stuff you like! Enjoy it." While I may have his blessing to pick back up on painting, or photography, or whatever. I could NEVER look at myself in the mirror doing that. I'm not a trust fund baby, so I try not act like it whenever possible, thanks. It would cause me endless amounts of guilt- I am sure of it.

I guess I could volunteer in the kids' classes? Maybe see if I can find a dance class for old, fat, rusty chicks who took a few semesters of ballet in college? 

The whole thing makes me uncomfortable. 

On this line of thought, I have been doing a bit of introspection. Even before the preK thing came up. I just finished reading Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar. Comparing myself to some of these trendy women who crochet, cook lavish old cooking style meals, raise chickens, grow huge vegetable gardens, it seems like I am just crunchy granola to be into these sorts of things that have come en vogue lately. Except that no! 

I am a semi-miserable homemaker. I am pointedly TERRIBLE at most of the housewifery things. I cannot cook, I can bake sweets, but one cannot feed growing children chocolate cakes for every meal. I do not derive any pleasure from being in the kitchen, it actively stresses me out. (when the recipe says "until thickened" HOW LONG IS THAT, EXACTLY?) Cooking inevitably leads to a full sink worth of dishes, and who has the time for all THAT?! I like having a clean house, in fact I'm frantic about it, yet cleaning brings me zero fulfillment. Okay fine, I LOVE cleaning, but I need it to STAY clean for a measurable amount of time to make it worth the time/sweat investment. (it never works out) Crafting is kind of an affront to my minimalist lifestyle, (I am scared of chotchkies) so that's out. Plus crafting needs a dedicated "room," every available flat surface is already stacked with the usual suspects, bottles of elmer's glue, markers, toys, lunchboxes, bills, etc. I started a knitting project, making bandages for lepers in Malaysia or something? I got maybe six inches of usable material knit. It sits on the counter... mocking me. Also, knitting makes my arthritis flare up, and that makes me feel old. (so I obviously had to stop) I have tried painting various pieces of furniture. My mantra of "done is better than perfect" seems to make my work a little sloppy. (and whew! is it not fun to sit in a garage for six hours with a brush & can of paint!)

Basically, I am bored out of my brains being a homemaker. Making a home is dull! Tedious! Never ever fun! I think this is a personality trait. I think in a more ideal world, I'd made a fairly decent career woman. As Matchar points out in her book, the workplace is increasingly difficult to navigate as a mother, not to mention the economy as a whole has turned most corporate workspaces into terrible places to work and enjoy what you do, with little flexibility and benefits. So yes, I am aware of that aspect. That I have never been ambitious enough to put my life on hold for any job and work 80 hour weeks. (side note- I would totally recommend the book. A truly thought provoking read)

It's just that the stay at home life hasn't exactly been my bag. So... yeah. I don't know where that leads me. I know that eventually the kids were going to all be in school full time. It's just that was THREE YEARS away. My brain doesn't compute that far into the future. That's The Husband's job; He's the big picture guy. He talks about how he bought his commute car to one day pass down to the twins when they get their drivers licenses. When he brings it up I yell "That is TEN YEARS out. I don't want to talk or hear about it. Go away with that. Those little kids playing forts in the playroom WILL NEVER drive a car. Like an adult. PLEASE. Take your nonsense elsewhere. PLUS by the time my kids are driving, there HAD BETTER BE hover cars... or teleportation.

I honestly cannot picture what life will be like in three years. To me there seem to be way too many factors in flux to make accurate predictions like that. So I've just ignored this reality, until the other day when this opportunity came up. GEEZ.

I suppose we'll just play it by ear when/if we hear back. There will most certainly be one to two weeks of getting pedicures, endless shopping, (in a mall! without a stroller!) maybe even an afternoon nap... and ice cream. This must be how someone can weigh 600 lbs. Yes, I see that now. 


  1. Hmm, I'll have to check out this book. Sounds fascinating.

  2. By the way, I've gotten the impression from lots of parents that what they ANTICIPATED as being tons of free time was actually not that much extra time.

    I'll be curious to see if that's the case for you.

  3. I have a spurt of an hour and a few minutes where I have no kids. And I just sit in the silence. haha and that hour flies by let me tell you. I can't wait til they're both in all day school. I am sure the time will fly by but I just want some ME time that's not driving to work. haha.

    by the way. I love the way you write. I wish I could write even half as well as you!

  4. This is a classic Ashley post. I love everything about it. It's so relateable (that looks wrong, but Spell Check assures me that it's correct) on so many levels. Hopefully all your free time dreams will come true. Can't wait to read "the next chapter". :)