Do you ever look back on your life and think “how in the world did I do all that?” I get exhausted just looking back at my twenties and thirties!
In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I used to split our working hours. My husband used to work during the day while I stayed at home and took care of our children. Then when my husband GOT OFF of work, I would then GO TO work. ( I used to work as an analyst for a large corporation and they had employees staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. ) So then after an evening-into-the-a.m., eight hour shift, I would come home, climb into bed for three or four hours, then get up to start another day of housework and mommy duties.
It was partly during this time period of three hours of sleep a night that I was also taking flying lessons on the weekend. There was also a time when I headed back to college part-time too!
I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I didn’t end up so stressed out and run down that I just collapsed. Period. Like throw in the flag – done!
Our son and daughter were born over seven years apart, so by the time our daughter had begun her toddler years, I was beginning to rethink just how many hours were actually in a day. Mine had begun to seem like they were about thirty hours long so I knew a change was in order.
So when my daughter was two and a half, I decided to just take a leave of absence from work. I decided to become a full-time, stay-at-home mommy and housewife. And for some unknown reason, I also decided that I wanted to do everything the way my grandmothers had done! I wanted to learn how to sew; I wanted to start a vegetable garden in my backyard and learn how to can veggies and make fruit preserves; I wanted to learn how to refinish furniture!
I failed miserably. Apparently, I am not meant to make my own clothes, grow my own food or restore hand-me-down antiques. Apparently, I am much better at shopping and picking up take-out. But the really miserable part of my failing is that I became depressed because of it.
It took me awhile to fully realize that we women all have different ( but all perfectly acceptable ) levels of intelligence and talents and skills. I may not be that great of a seamstress or gardener but likewise, my grandmothers never navigated corporate America or took flying lessons in her skies. My maternal grandmother never even learned how to drive a car.
So while I always had the greatest respect and admiration for how hard-working my grandmothers were and for all they accomplished in the course of a day, I had to realize that I too worked hard – just at different things.
My twenties and thirties were a blur – and I had no “sewn myself” clothes or “fresh from the garden” tomatoes to show for it – but I was working nights and was able to spend a lot of quality time with my children during the day. I just never had any time to sleep.
So will my future grandchildren one day hope to emulate me? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is for certain – I will never be able to imagine my grandchildren one day saying, “I’m gonna shop and do take-out just like grandma used to do!”