My September theme of new year, new beginnings also causes me to reflect. One thing I have been thinking about is my lack of stress these days. I don’t have any. Seriously – my finances are fine, my living situation is lovely, my work is pleasant. I have no worries. When I say I have no worries, don’t get me wrong. I think about the big picture stuff of mortality, retirement, how are my kids, pandemic, elections, politics and stuff of that nature, but it doesn’t give stress me out because I cannot control any of that.
Anywhoo, in the context of appreciating the simplicity of my life, I have been thinking back to my parenting, child-rearing days as a working mom. Good lord. How the heck did I do it? I have no idea. What did pop in my mind were thoughts of the days I would frantically be driving to work and be screaming with primal frustration and anxiety.
Yes, on my 45-minute to hour-long commute, I had more days than I care to admit when I would be screaming with all my might to release the pent-up anger, frustration, anxiety, etc. that was overwhelming me. Once I finished my primal screams, I would then use my words to scream my emotions into the empty minivan. I would fantasize of just driving away from it all. For context, I was good for a screaming about about 2-3 times a year, so it wasn’t a weekly occurrence.
What is somewhat funny is that when I thought of just driving away, I would think about driving to Orlando. Why Orlando I have no idea. It is 3 hours from Miami and I guess just far enough away from my insane life to feel liberated? It definitely wasn’t for the attractions.
Perhaps this primal screaming in my morning commute was my therapy that kept me sane. It was a release for me. Was it a healthy one? Who knows. It seemed to have worked as a band-aid for me. Somehow I kept it all together as I dealt with all of the activities of two busy, school-age kids, coordinated all the logistics of household maintenance, shopping (including gifts and clothes), social calendar, bill paying, pet care – you name it, I did it. Where was the father of my children and my husband? Working. Going to Happy Hour with “clients”, working on Saturdays (I actually liked that). He believed that working as the “primary” breadwinner meant that he didn’t have to carry any of the household load.
Yes, he did drop off for a year or two off and on. Yes, he handled the annual income tax because he had an S-corp and the accountant. But he did little else. He wanted me to work 40+ hours and handle all the same responsibilities of a SAHM. I did the groceries, cooked the meals, cleaned the kitchen, made the school lunches, did the laundry. I had a weekly housekeeper to help control the chaos which was a necessity, not a luxury. I bought clothes for everyone – him included, any gifts for family members. I arranged medical care for the kids and me. He expected me to do it for him, but I drew my long, overdue line there.
Plus I was responsible for our social calendar. God forbid we had a simple weekend or two staying home. That was unacceptable. We had a full sports calendar for the kids including me being team mom oftentimes, we had family nearby so birthdays were frequent, we hosted many large (12-24 folks) holiday gatherings. Towards the end, we did a 30+ person Memorial Day barbeque. It was just a very busy time of my life. I look back and wonder how I did it all. No wonder I had some mornings spend primal screaming.
Now I look back and ask myself, “was it worth it?” I have to say….yes. My kids had a wonderful childhood. We had an interesting, busy, fulfilling life filled with activities, family and more. I spent too much money, drove myself to the brink of sanity, but I can accept that. If I had to do it over again, I would strive for more boundaries, but I chose a partner who was never going to co-parent. Shame on me, but man, we created some amazing kids.
My advice to you young un’s: be more like RBG when you seek a partner. Go find your Marty. I am blessed that Taz found her.