I have spent every day of this summer with my boys. We are back from London, having also gone to Vancouver to visit their dad and see his incredible world up there during production. I’ve arrived home realizing that the only reason this whole life-style works and ends in happiness, is because I love what I do. There are no medals of honor for this job, and certainly no pay checks. Your clients don’t often say thank you and you can go to sleep and then wake up again, exhausted. Some days you have to scream to be heard and other days its the silence that’s deafening. After a long day’s work at this job, no one usually praises you and you never get a bonus.
It’s not easy defining myself as a mother first. It negates a lot of other qualities and jobs I am also capable of. But I strongly believe I cannot have everything, at the same time, in the same moment. Even today, as I sit here trying to learn my lines for a very small part in Husband’s show, I am brought back to the days of when I was a full time actress putting everything on the line to get the gig. It is hard at times to reconcile that I no longer attend fully those desires that defined me in my twenties and thirties, an actress, a screenwriter; that somewhere along the way of supporting Husband and raising these boys I put everything else third and fourth on the list, and then sixth and seventh. Did I let myself down? Can I stand up to a feminist and argue that I haven’t let the sisterhood down?
I couldn’t have let myself down too much if I am this content. If you’re lucky enough to not have to work, then it’s a clear choice to stay at home with the kids. Clear, but not necessarily easy, and conscious, not a haphazard decision that happens to you. Once I realized this, I was empowered by the choice.
School starts this week. I had a mini freak out session when I saw the pile of paperwork and past due dates from each of the four schools. I love summer. I love not having to deal with homework, schedules, routines and driving. I swear, I would travel the world and be immersed in constant summer mode if I could figure out a way to educate them. I get the same panicky feeling they do come September when the shift happens and the rules dominate our lives. I feel like one of my boys, emotional about the change and not ready for the work.
My role as sole parent is also very different when it’s during term time, and Husband laughs at the anxiety I already have created for myself long before the early mornings begin. I absolutely hate going to bed early because of school the next day. My anxiety is real, as it is for each of my boys. I suppose I am scared of how Fall is going to be without Husband here to help; how my job description will treble when anything extracurricular in my life will consist of pads, practice and papers due, instead of passports, parties and Paris. I allow myself to dream a little longer during those elongated summer evenings in London, be a bit freer with my spirit and my desires and give more time to my other defining roles. The boys keep their lives simpler and at ease with each day. We are all feeling aware of the cocoon that wrapped around us all summer slowly fade away, and none of us is truly ready to let go.