Sunday, January 23, 2005

What, Me Worry?

When I am staying at home with the kids, I worry, among other things,

--That I won't be good enough. I don't want to be just present in my kids' lives; I want to be thoroughly engaged. I want to be creative and resourceful and compassionate and kind. And funny and entertaining, too. What if I'm not up to that challenge? What if staying home brings all my parenting flaws into sharp relief, with damaging consequences?

--That I (meaning the non-mommy parts of Suzanne) will disappear. Not long after Sean was born, my mother-in-law said, jokingly, "When you become a mother you lose your identity." I know that the context and tone of that statement were not serious, but it has really stuck with me. Although I am proud beyond measure to be Sean and Allison's mother, I am much more than that.

--That I'll be bored, that the sum total of my existence will be reduced to endless stretches of days like this. [Edited to add: I don't know why this link doesn't work; if you're really interested, go to the November 6 2004 post.] [Edited again: It works now. Thanks, Anne, for the HTML troubleshooting!]

--And, thus, that I will lose my mind.

--That I won't be able to resume my career at the same stage at which I am leaving it. It's not like I'm some big muckety-muck in the publishing world. But I have a nice job with a fair amount of responsibility, and I don't want my decision to stay at home to set me back to the level I was toward the beginning of my career. I guess anyone on the Mommy Track fears the same thing.

Lest you think I'm just full of doom and gloom about staying at home, my next post will cover some things I'm looking forward to.