Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Toward SAHMdom

Have I mentioned yet that I am ever so slightly terrified of being a SAHM again? Well, I am. Yes, I am still finishing up my MA, and yes, I still have my WAHM job, but as of today, when the classes I would normally be teaching started up for this semester, I am without a standing engagement to go outside the home and work for money.

It occurs to me that in contrast to my life from 2005- 2010, my life here in Sharjah, save for the first few months, has been defined by roles other than me being a mom. Or at least, my role as a mom has been complemented by other roles. Does that make sense? There are people here who know me only as their teacher, or only as an MA student. I no longer have my kids with me at all times. I wear makeup sometimes and I own nice work clothing and high heels. That's never been the case anywhere else we've lived.

But this morning, the girls left for school, and I didn't follow them out the door to work. It was a strange feeling. And it's a feeling that will only get stranger when I'm covered in spit-up and horrifically sleep-deprived.

Part of me is afraid to relinquish that professional, put-together self for a little while. Even more unsettling is the thought of someone who knew me as a teacher or MA student seeing me in my role as a mother. Is that ridiculous? I don't mean the calm, put-together mother of two girls who are capable of taking care of themselves in public. Plenty of my students and professors have seen me in that state. I mean the mother whose post-partum body is still not her own, and her nice clothes don't fit her so she's wearing the same shirt you saw her in last time. She's tired and distracted and as you talk about important things with her, she is bouncing around on the balls of her feet to keep her baby from crying.

I know that is reality, and that I should be proud to show even the ugly side of that important work to others, because goodness knows it gets sanitized too much already. But that stage of life is hard. And it will be even harder for me to navigate it in relation to the other roles I've played here.

Here's hoping this transition to being a mom of three who primarily stays at home will go smoothly.

And yes, the girls started school! Happy day.


Liz Johnson said...

This is really interesting to me, because I'm just coming on the other side of it - just the other day, I introduced myself to somebody as not only a mom, but a doula, too. And it felt SO EMPOWERING. Like, "Hey! I'm a mom, but I also have an alternate identity that gets me PAID for doing things! Can you believe that?!" It's awesome.

I can totally see how SAHM-dom and especially the first year with a baby are a daunting prospect. It's freaking HARD to stay at home and devote 24/7 to a human that only communicates in squawks and who is so incredibly dependent on you for absolutely everything in life. And I imagine that it's probably equally as hard to leave said dependent being and go to work, but I've never had that experience, so I can only speak from my own - it's hard to be a SAHM 24/7 and never leave and wear yoga pants and feel, let's be honest, slightly less than 100% human during that time. At least it is for me. It can be boring and mind-numbing and exhausting. But I promise you that little He-Palmer will grow up and you'll get more normalcy... it's just that first little while that you get to trudge through.

So... I guess not a ton of help from me, but a huge chest-bump of solidarity. If you're ever bored or need to vent, email me. :D

Liz Johnson said...

psst. there's a podcast about this kind o' thing.



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