At some point, there has to be some kind of dawn of realization and self-reckoning. Life is hard, without doubt. It’s an indisputable reality that things are more complicated with kids, work, ageing parents, or whatever your burden happens to be. But you also have to stop and realize when you’re hiding behind that burden.
Of course, having children especially adds layer upon layer of complexity; if not emotionally then at least logistically. But for me, the Mom guilt twists in my innards like a dagger.
I’ve always been the breadwinner in the relationship. That just seems to be my lot in life and it’s fine. I could never be a kept woman anyway.
But the last few years, I had to work intensely to provide for my kids. INTENSELY. Some times I would get up at 4 am just to be able to fit everything into a day.
When you work freelance, you quickly realize that time is actually money. And that’s a dangerous thought train to be on.
It makes you snappy, impatient, and incapable of enjoying idle conversation without thinking about how much income you’re losing. It also turns you into a basket case when the unexpected is hurled your way like a sick child who can’t go to school or an overly long line in the grocery store.
I worked myself up until the delivery room through both my pregnancies and was back at the keyboard within days after. And I did it because I had to, yes…
But I now I realize that I also did it because part of me a small part wanted to.
I had gained control over my life and my finances and any time spent not working was time not making money.
So today, I hit a kind of acknowledgement. The last few years I’ve been blaming this incessant work ethic that will surely end in a stomach ulcer on my kids.
Yes, I’ve already plowed through hundreds of euros in a couple of days buying expensive toys (that were swiftly jettisoned to one side). And I’ve also seen that my kids were equally happy playing with a ball of dough in a restaurant.
I think that what I am trying to say is that I crossed a line somewhere where necessity became habit and habit became a necessity.
But it’s time to stomp all over that bullsh**t line. I’m on the verge of one of two possible things. A huge nervous breakdown or a brilliant breakthrough.
It’s time to draw the line; I’m in Portugal after all.
It takes at least 15 minutes to prepare a takeaway coffee here, even longer to take the payment. No one is in a hurry and my radiating nervous irritation makes me feel somewhat ridiculous.
So, tomorrow, I’m going surfing. For the first time in four years. I am throwing Mom guilt out of the window and putting my clients on pause.
Tomorrow for two short hours (which, yes, already has my heart palpitating at how to recuperate the time) I’m going to be catching waves in the Atlantic coast.
Welcome to my mid-life crisis.