Now, I don’t know what it’s like for the rest of you, but as soon as I start feeling like I want to simultaneously cry and kill someone, I know that I have about 3 days left before the Red Thunder arrives. I only mention that right now because I am definitely feeling a raging menstrual monster clawing in my brain.
Yesterday was not the best day ever. I am not sure if it was hormones or frustration or having a sick child or WHAT, but I felt a little like a suicidal wreck. Having been a crazy person (and many would argue that this hasn’t actually changed), I can’t go around saying things like, “I’m so depressed, I feel like I’m going to die,” because then Kyle gets this really concerned tone in his voice like he thinks I’m going to start eating raw pigeons and dressing up like Clown Santa.
“What do you mean I have to rewrite my article?! I gots presents to deliver!”
I was really depressed, so I got Abigail into the car and started to drive. This is nothing to be panicked about. I wasn’t planning on going for a long drive off a short embankment or anything like that. I just drove until I found myself at the place my heart really wanted to be: The Home Depot.
The real frustration about being a writer and a stay-at-home mom is that there isn’t enough money to do anything cool, and all the cool stuff that is free you have already done a billion times. For the last 4 weeks, I have been dreaming about making myself a little garden with herbs and strawberries. Why? I have no idea. It’s not like I am a fantastic cook or anything. I just want to be able to have something that I can point to and say, “I did that. I have something tangible to show for the work I do every day.”
“Something I planted SURVIVED!!”
This is the major problem with being a SAH mom. We don’t have anyone looking over our shoulders and saying, “Wow. That is really good work. Can you show me how to do that?”
Instead, we have to find things that we can congratulate ourselves on. As proof, (I’m probably being a little negative here), it seems like every time I get together with other SAH moms, they are always congratulating themselves.
“My baby learned how to do X when he was only 2. Can you believe that?”
“I’m making (insert amazingly outlandish meal from Tungusku here) tonight. I didn’t know it was so easy!”
“Can you believe that he’s reading? I just can’t stop him.”
“While Tolstoy is obviously an elocutionary genius, I think his plots are unwieldy…”
See? These are the angry hormones talking.
The point is, I no longer have students and administrators giving me that sense of accomplishment, that external praise that is (tragically) so connected to my sense of self worth.
That, your honor, is why I spent $60 on my garden yesterday. Gardens are my self-medication.
It’s not so much about food, although I am looking forward to eating strawberries. It is about taking the conflicting and unpleasant emotions that run through my bloodstream on a monthly timer and managing them so I don’t totally lose my mind and walk into traffic. The feelings of inadequacy, rage, sadness and loneliness must be abated somehow, and I feel a little plant therapy may keep them at bay for another month.
You Have Time for Just One More: