Making peace with my role as a stay-at-home mom was one idea for a sub-title for this blog. But that didn’t quite say what I wanted it to and the verbiage holds too much of an element of struggle and stress to it for it to feel “right”. Recently, I’ve been thinking about the blog as a place and space that is all mine, and within which I can do all the thrashing I need to at this moment in my life.
When I began writing, in January, I was beginning to feel the overwhelm that came with ramping up the creative part of my life. Writing this blog has in some ways exacerbated that tension, partly because the writing and photography I’m doing for the blog belong more to the moonlighting side of my life than to the stay-at-home mom side. Just labeling them makes the two sides of my life seem separate, with a chasm between them, and one of my reasons for writing is to better integrate these two pieces of me that are profoundly part of my daily life. Even as I try to describe this, I am finding that the language itself tends to create a certain amount of polarity, so, I’m going to gently set it down on this threshold that I started to describe – the place and space where I do my thrashing. This thing I am standing on, or this place I am hanging out, figuratively speaking, is a good place to work out the polarities, so that when I move on to the next phase of my life, I will do so having reclaimed the bits of myself, both in what I do, and, on a deeper level, in who I am; so that, as one of my favorite poets, David Whyte, has been know to say, I will have “reaped the full harvest” of the role I chose many years ago.
The image of a threshold appeared to me earlier today as I sat down to write in my journal. The thought that accompanied it, is that this blog is a record of what it is like to be on that threshold. Its not really about my experience as a stay-at-home mom, because the most intense years of in-the-trenches parenting of babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers all at once are long past, and its not about the experience of the empty-nest. The experience I am in the midst of is a middle-ground. I have one foot still deeply in the role of stay-at-home mom and another standing more solidly with every passing day on the ground of a new role that is, as of now, still undefined.
My latest revelation, that I have a real problem with turning the power off and stopping, or even resting, is a part of that journey. I know how to work hard, but can’t sustain the amount of work I’ve been trying to do to “do justice” to both. I have to learn to balance. So far, one week into the “project”, I’m doing better, but even as I type, the timer is ticking and I know its time to stop. Time to turn off my mind, even though I have yet to finish this thought about being on a threshold between two stages of life, trying to integrate two pieces of my life and find a balance between them.
A word about the photograph of the day: Her name is Roxy. She lives on Capitol Hill. She was posing for me.
I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful friend who lives on the same block as I do. She is a painter/multi-media artist and mom to two boys, similar ages to Robby and Gillian. Every so often our busy lives have a break in them at the same time and we have the opportunity to do something together. Today it was, as I call it, “a walkabout”. A walkabout is different from “a walk” because when we go for a walk we’ve got a route and a set amount of time and its all about the exercise and catching up. A walkabout doesn’t have a plan. We don’t even start off with an idea about where we are going and it changes as we go. There are usually favorite houses and hidden paths through wooded areas involved. Sometimes we discover crazy art projects in people’s yards or, like today, their whole home, including the cars has become an art project.
It was shortly after the art house that we met the parrot. I saw her from most of a block away. When we got close she was clearly interested in showing off, so it was with great pleasure that we had a little visit, which included a short photo-shoot. Though I had other photos from our afternoon, its hard to beat a bright blue parrot just hanging out on a fence post, on a winter day in Seattle.