Friday, September 14, 2007
Compromise is a tricky thing. Give a little, take a little, and hope that in the end you feel that it was a good balance.
Generally, it’s not perfect. A lot of times, someone (if not everyone involved) feels a little resentful, a tiny bit cheated.
Motherhood has been the largest series of compromises I’ve ever experienced. It started out on treacherous footing, since I had to give up on continuing college in order to merely give birth. Due date wise, Devon would have been born during finals, not exactly the best situation, and I was warned that not every pregnancy was an easy one. If I had to be put on bed rest during the latter months, I could throw the whole school situation out the window. Best case scenario, I’d have been waddling my way to the last of my classes and would have spent every final praying my water didn’t break. That didn’t sound fun. Nor did it sound like the recipe for a stress free pregnancy.
When I finally did make it back to college, I was squeezed tightly between a rock and a hard place. I had to put Devon into daycare (something I swore I’d never do) and I had to work full time while going to school for lack of funds. Everything came crashing down. It was either too much compromise, or too little, but either way not enough balance. I was unable to keep up with anything, so I quit everything. Except the mom gig. You don’t really get to quit doing that, and I truthfully didn’t want to quit. It was the only thing I was doing that brought me any measure of joy and satisfaction. At least in part because I couldn’t work and/or go to school with any measure of success. Whether or not I was successful at being a mother, I felt as though I were. Perception is, in the end, what really matters.
I recently read on a blog that holding a nine-to-five and being a breeder seemed like a waste of life. Sometimes, I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes it feels very empty and unrewarding. This is not the point where I dramatically and fiercely decide to throw off all shackles and announce that I’m running off to South America (sin family) to find myself. Nor is it the point where I wax emotional and drip honey over sweet cakes about how wonderful and thrilling it is to be a mother or how perfect and well deserving my children are of my attention. This is merely when I tie things together and say, “It’s all about compromise.” Some of what I do, the daily grind, so to speak, is necessary, but completely, totally and painfully unfulfilling. Some things have to be done, and that’s that. Then there are things that I do in my every day life that I do find immensely fulfilling, enriching, and self actualizing, and those are things I wouldn’t or couldn’t do if I didn’t have kids, a husband, a comfortable place in my “average” middle class, SAHM position.
I will never sit in an exclusive club and have cocktails with rich, famous, or powerful people. Don’t believe for a moment that I don’t sometimes regret that. I do. I will likely never make it a priority to see Tibet. Trust me, that eats at me and gives me something to wrestle with every night when I go to bed. It’s likely that I will never have the time or commitment to writing that best selling novel I always dream of writing. (Then again, I probably wouldn’t have even if I hadn’t had kids.) However, in this life which I choose on a daily basis, I do get to do and experience small wonders and jump large hurdles (bringing a sturdy, well formed feeling of satisfaction) that I would not otherwise know.
I still want more. I just haven’t figured out where or how to fit it all in. Balancing the teeter totter of compromise is tricky, at best, but at least from this distance I can acknowledge it can be done.
so lost at 09/14/07 08:17 PM
Get out of my head!
mamaerica at 09/15/07 08:28 PM
You just summed up everything I’ve been feeling lately but haven’t been able to put into words…..except, at the moment, I’m drowning in totally unfulfilling. It will pass. It always does, but thanks for helping me clarify what’s *really* going on.