This is a question I struggle with. I don many hats throughout the day: wife, daughter, mother, teacher, and myself. Right now I am supposed to be cooking dinner while my husband and daughter watch Jeopardy! together. I currently have neither the energy nor the ambition to stand in the kitchen and cook something.
My husband and I are both on spring break and enjoying the week off and just hanging out. We had plans to do small day trips, but our daughter’s conjunctivitis and a double ear infection quickly derailed those plans. Yesterday was spent at the doctor with our daughter and grocery shopping. Today I decided to clean out the closet. I got rid of two bags of clothes. It was refreshing but also upsetting. I felt that every article I chose to donate, I was throwing away a piece of who I am or once was.
Do you remember in school when they would have you spell your name and you had to write a word that begin with every letter of your name that described you? I remember choosing words like caring, tall, neat, and loving. I recently tried to do that again., but I struggled finding ‘nice’ words to describe myself.
I seemed to have lost myself these past few years. Five years ago I packed up my life in Rhode Island, said goodbye to the familiar comforts of home, and moved to Texas. I wanted desperately to experience life and discover who I was as an individual away from my parents. I would forge my own path through the wilderness. Less than a month after moving down here, I met my husband. In that five years we got married and had our daughter. I do not regret those decisions in the least because I found my best friend and had the best baby in the whole world.
These last five years I’ve changed hats so quickly that the hat labelled “ME” was lost in the back of the closet. I have struggled to make friends here. I moved to a town where EVERYONE went to school with each other and stayed friends and married high school sweethearts. It is hard for me to enter into those groups and make connections.
My husband is from here. He has had the same friends since middle school. They have this amazing, unbreakable bond. I envy him. I rarely visit his friends’ houses anymore because we have our baby and we both feel guilty calling his parents to come watch her at our place an hour before we want to leave. Usually, our friends ask to hang out right around the time we are starting our baby’s bed time routine. I am big on those routines and do not feel comfortable with her spending the night at someone else’s place. I like her sleeping and waking up in her own bed.
Before we had her, I went out and hung with friends as much as I could. Now, no one comes over to visit or asks me to hang out. I feel like I’m at the point of begging people to hang out with me. But I am not looking for a pity party. I know I need to discover who I have become before I can really start making those connections. I am not just a mom, wife, teacher, daughter–I am ME: a strong individual who is not afraid to speak her mind, loves to be silly and enjoys playing stupid games, going on adventures anywhere, and giving everything I do 150%.
To sum up, I just thought of one more aspect of ME: I love to cook! Tonight’s dinner is New England-style baked scrod with homemade risotto. Writing about my frustrations usually helps to boost my spirits and give me juuuuust enough energy to accomplish what I put my mind to. And by the way, I’m cooking because I want to, not because I’m expected to. Right now I’m walking my daughter through the steps of the recipe. She looks captivated, if a little confused. Maybe she’ll take after her mom, or her dad, or be her own utterly unique creature. Eventually, she’ll have to wear a lot of hats, too. But for right now, she’s my little pierogi…and that’s all she has to be.