Almost six years ago I had my second baby. I loved her and my first child immensely, as most parents do, and about as soon as she was six months old I was counting down the days till I could spend a large chunk of the week doing anything other than parenting and cooking/cleaning/laundering, etc, etc. I felt incredibly jealous of the spouse who went to work every day while I stayed home in sweatpants and had no interesting adult conversations. I chose to do that because we held to an ideology that it would be better for our kids if one of their parents were with them most of the time when they are very young. I held to that ideology just a hairsbreadth more than than I did to the belief that in order to stay sane I needed to be doing something with grown-ups or by myself and my computer for a big chunk of time during the week. (And playdates didn't count. Neither did Tot Time. Mercer Park parents, you know what I'm talking about.)
At about the hour I was going to lose my mind with our current set-up, I got accepted into a graduate program and I went back to school (on the side). I spent about 15 hours every week alone with my computer in an office that was all mine. And I joined the staff of a local church as a very part time assistant pastor. What followed was three years of being incredibly productive in and outside my home. And then I got pregnant--all good. Planned. And then I had my third child. And then I went on leave from my staff position. And then I graduated from my program with an MFA.
So right now, at this very moment, I have come full circle, returned to that static place I was in five years ago. I've carved space out of my life to have a third child, carved space out for the weeks and months of nightly wakings and feeding-on-demand and we-don't-know-why-but-she's-just-crying cries. And on top of that, I have carved space out of my life to homeschool Oldest and Middle, as I've been doing the last couple years when I wasn't doing school work.
I have no deadlines hanging over my head. No papers to write. No books I have to read. No thesis to proofread. I have no meetings to attend. No mass emails to write and send to church members. No events to plan and organize. No announcements to give on Sunday mornings.
For about a week this was all astoundingly beautiful.
Then I felt bored and anxious.
The problem being that I have no meetings to attend. No administrative kinks to work out. No looked-forward-to emails from my professors (nor the time or energy to respond if I got them). I should have known that I could not be happy resuming this sort of life indefinitely when my heart started beating harder over a book on biblical hermeneutics yesterday. Just the name (Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis) probably flooded my brain with enough dopamine for a half-day high.
I don't know exactly what the future holds. I think the now that I'm in might last a bit longer--weeks, maybe months. So, I'm trying to live in this limbo with grace. It really doesn't last that long. Meanwhile, I'm walking my children to art classes, baking bread for their lunches, nursing five hours a day, handling tantrums, teaching math, and day dreaming about all the things I want to say and write and read and the people I will be having those conversations with someday soon.