Jobs I Will Not Have With Children on My Face
Parenting has revealed to me that many of the second career options I’ve held out for myself since I had children might be fantasies. For instance, as I examined my C-section scar the other day and contemplated what a perfect shelf it is for my blubber, I thought there will be no Diablo Coty shakin’ my cooze for cash. Not that I wanted to be a stripper, but I would like to be a writer. And, truth be told, it’s better for a writer to have been a stripper. Well, that’s not going to happen now. And, fully-clothed writing doesn’t really happen either, because I don’t have a nanny and without one, my beautiful children remain affixed to my face and it’s hard to see the computer screen that way. There was something I vaguely remember about finally becoming good with numbers and through some illegal leaps of storytelling, finding myself “handling” money in Brazil or Argentina. Pathetic. Tug Boat captain, sharp shooter, dolphin trainer, welder – I could go on, but one can’t do any of these with kids on your face.
So, how will I define myself and what is my future now? I feel disappointment from my ‘no-kid friends’ at my disorganization and drift. At dinner parties, I have to brave the question “And, what do you do?” from the new acquaintances my old friends have replaced me with. “I’m a mom,” I respond. Sometimes, I beat out “I just take care of my kids” and try not to look down right away. The new person stares bravely at me throughout and comes back with something like “Well, you work harder than all of us!”
All around condescending chuckles at the table and then I dig into my liquor, feeling myself drift above the table and observe it from my perch of alienated melancholy.
And yet, I want to be home with my children. My kids are not going to wait until the work day is through to experience their lives with me. I was burnt out and bored with acting, but find myself feeling adrift now. What’s wrong with being a mother? Why isn’t it enough? Enough for whom and for what? Part of the problem for me is the seismic shift that occurred between me and my friends who have not and may never have children.
I don’t feel like I have changed that much, but my life has. Now I’m supposed to keep company with people because we have kids in common? What about beyond that? My job was how I identified myself, what now?