Thursday, November 03, 2005

Brain Drain

I left a comment at Isabella's blog the other day to inform her that I'd be living vicariously through her as she nurtures her intellectual life. Attending a Julian Barnes lecture! Reading Don Quixote and The Golden Notebook! Sigh. I can't seem to muster up the energy to even finish a book, let alone attend my book group, lately.

And as if I weren't already feeling like an itty-bitty intellectual peanut, I read Elizabeth's post in response to a comment left on her site that, no matter how hard I tried not to be, I was pretty much insulted by. The comment seemed to dismiss stay at home parents as people who don't need intellectual stimulation or adult interaction. I don't want to enter into the working-mother/stay at home mother fray at all -- it's been covered ad nauseam everywhere, and anything I have to say only echoes what's been said before.

But I wonder -- did I react negatively because I thought the commenter was wrong, or because deep down I think she's right, at least about me?

Before I had children, I was by no means a philosophizer or deep thinker. As you could probably tell, I have a lot of surface knowledge and perhaps not the most probing of intellects. Since I've had kids, that tendency to skim has only gotten worse. Am I just a scatterbrained dilettante now?

There are innumerable stay at home moms whose intellectual output hasn't diminished one iota just because they are no longer engaged in outside employment. Just off the top of my head (and there are many, many more) I can think of Phantom Scribbler and Jody at Raising Weg, whose insight and depth of critical assessment always wow me.

I find staying at home to be really frustrating at times, but I don't miss working full-time. Really. I'm kind of enjoying this break, the first one I've had in 14 years. Should I be more troubled by this than I currently am?

Sigh (again). In my head this post was a little more coherent. I probably should let it simmer for a while and go back to it, but chances are I won't have any time to make it better. There I go meeting those low expectations of SAHMS again…