I find myself in a very rare position these days. I am essentially unemployed and I have a dear friend who is in the same situation. We refer to ourselves as "Ladies Who Lunch" and from time to time extend it to "Ladies of Leisure Who Drink Coffee and Eat Lunch and Don't Need Concealer or Chiropractors Anymore". (full disclosure - sometimes I still need concealer and she still needs a chiropractor - but not like either of us used to)
Almost every Monday, and sometimes on other days on an as needed basis, we get together for coffee and talk (no big whoop) which more often than not turns into lunch and sometimes a little shopping. We have both noticed how our shoulders almost visibly relax about 3 sips into that first cup. Her family has commented on her increasingly mellow attitude.
Stress? Be gone!
We've been talking recently about how there's a little (not much, just a little) guilt associated with our leisurely afternoons. First, I suppose, there's the inherent stigma of being a stay-at-home-mom. Particularly when your kids are school-aged. We're not supposed to be happy, relaxed and content in this lifestyle. We're supposed to be apologetic. Lord knows, I spent enough years being apologetic about it. Answering the "so what do you do" question with non-answers like, "well, I'm a teacher by trade, but I put it on hold to raise my kids" or, later, when I started teaching part-time, I would claim that as my career. This year, for the first time, when filling out the kids back-to-school paperwork, I took a deep breath and filled in the blank which requested my occupation with: SAHM.
I worried about how I would be judged by her teachers and the office staff at her school. As if a.) they have the time and inclination to judge me and b.) it would really make any difference in my life if they did. But still, I worried.
Then there's the actual enjoying it part. Staying at home is supposed to be a sacrifice. And sometimes it is. Certainly I miss being a two-income family, but more than that I miss the daily interaction with other people.
So I seek that interaction and, instead of finding it in the break room, I find it at the local coffee shop. And instead of it lasting 30 minutes, it lasts till I'm done. Or till I have to meet the school bus, whichever comes first.
And I am mellow.
I mentioned concealer earlier. The other day I sat down to put on my make-up and I had the concealer on my pinkie when I looked in the mirror and saw, to my immense surprise, that I wouldn't be needing any that day. The bags under my eyes just weren't there.
So I decided to stop apologizing for enjoying my life. Obviously it's having a positive effect. Tom is probably laughing right now, because apologizing is what I do. I'm sure I won't stop altogether. But I'm going to reign it in a little bit.
I'm sure there will be a time when I will work again. I can't imagine that there won't. But until that time, I'm going to enjoy what there is to enjoy about the place where I am now, instead of wishing it away.