Daily Challenge: Happiness

This morning I came across this article I wrote last October. I had only been a stay-at-home mom for a couple of months at that time. I realized I never published it. Coincidentally, it is also Wednesday, the day I try to post a more personal entry (Book Reviews on Mondays / Family Movie Reviews on Friday - have you noticed?) After reading it, I thought, "Wow, it is, unfortunately, still relevant to me."

Of course, I had to go back and tweak some things. A lot can change in ten months, but the premise is basically the same. I am no closer to figuring out my life goals as I was when I originally drafted this last fall. True, I am more confident in where I am headed with this blog. In addition, my goal of working with authors is coming to fruition. But outside of that, I don't feel like I have a clear path. If I had unlimited funds I could give you a list of things I'd like to try. However, when you factor cost and time restraints into the equation, it seems like there isn't a whole lot for me to successfully accomplish.

With the exception of these last twelve months and the first eleven months after the birth of my oldest son, I have been employed in some capacity my entire adult life. So, this time off is supposed to be about me simply being a stay-at-home mom and getting involved in things that interest me while exploring possibilities for my future.  But, I truly feel I am falling short in this regard. So what's the problem?

There is a whole lot of the G-U-I-L-T crap happening. Feelings of guilt for not working (oh, right, like caring for two children and a home isn't work), guilt for not having concrete plans for my future, and, oh, yes, guilt for the occasional "me time" I am getting.  Even when I was working, I typically felt a pang of guilt for the alone time I allotted myself.  So, in a way, these feelings aren't new.  They started with motherhood -  the beginning of the thought process that all my pleasure had to be centered around doing things for my children. (HINT: Don't fall into this trap, mothers!)

I've thought about returning to school, but honestly, I'm not even sure what I would go back for. The costly liberal arts degree my parents so generously paid for just hasn't cut it. But there are also anxieties and, quite frankly, technicalities that would need to be overcome with that. For example, money, sure, but even more so would be scheduling. Most classes I would need or want would be offered in the evenings only, maybe on the weekends. But then I have to deal with the clear conflicts of my sons' school schedule and homework, soccer, and husband's work hours.

And forget the fun, non-academic classes.  Even the belly dancing class (Oh, come on! How fun would that be?) at our local community center is only offered at 7:30p.m.  This is the case for all adult classes they offer. That doesn't help me.  I want something I can do during the day while my children are at school.  The last thing I want is something that will take me away from my family, and, subsequently, cause more guilt.

So, here I am beginning my second year as a stay-at-home mom and I don't feel like I am any closer to reaching, or even setting, specific goals.  I've never considered myself an overly ambitious person. I like simple things and a simple life. I am definitely not the over-achieving kind. So, maybe, that's it. Maybe just living my life simply and happily is all the goal-setting I need. Yes, perhaps instead of stressing over my lack of goals, I should recognize that the biggest goal in life is to just be happy. If I concentrate on that one goal, the rest will surely fall into place. Right?

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  1. I happen to come from a family where all the women live to be in their hundreds and they killed all of the men before they made seventy. The reason for this is that they all have a black belt in GUILT and they use it like a weapon from a bad Jackie Chan movie. The fact of the matter is that being a mother is the only job that should be giving you any personal satisfaction, and you, your detractors, your family, or anyone else shouldn't really have much say in that. As far as everything falling into place ... um ...

    1. As always, thanks for reading and commenting. Yeah, grew up with the curse of Italian guilt, but don't hash it out on others, I internalize it all, place it on myself. Something you said has reminded me of another post I've been meaning to write. But your last comment, not too encouraging ;)


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