The Freedom of Parenthood

I’ve been without child now for a week.

My great idea for this transition was to keep to myself so as not advertise myself as the needy emotional wreck I feel like inside. I mean, he’s just in college. And he’s just over the bridge from me. I’ve actually seen The Boy a couple of times this week. He’s already been home to do his laundry. I talk with him almost every day via text or phone or email.

And in a week I’ve:

Done countless word search puzzles, which is truly a mindless pursuit but I’m actually pretty good at them.

Gotten lots of emails, phone calls, and drop-ins from family and friends who I know are just checking up on me to make sure I’m not suicidal.

Slept for about 20 hours, down from my usual 40-hour-sleep week.

Worked and worked and worked.

Thought and thought and thought.

All that thinking is never a good thing. I get myself into more trouble by thinking than by acting, and it’s been my experience that if you’re thinking about something too much, it’s not working. But I just can’t help myself. I’m one of those Devil’s Advocate people. “Well, it’s like this… But maybe it’s also like this… Or it could be…”

This week I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to be now that I’m not a fulltime mom, and the only conclusion I’ve come to is that there sure is a lot of freedom in life, for life, when you’re a parent.

Being a fulltime parent allows you to overlook a lot of things in your life that maybe aren’t being fulfilled because you’re so busy running to soccer practice or to the grocery store that you’re able to put them out of your mind. Your life is just not a priority. The kid is.

So, it doesn’t matter so much if your job is just a job or your relationship just means you have someone else to pick up dinner when you’re stuck in the office and someone to have sex with on a regular basis without having to wonder if you remembered to shave. Who has the time to look for a more fulfilling job or better mate?

But when the kid’s no longer the priority? Then you have to face the fact that you hate your job and don’t really like your mate all that much either. And you don’t have an excuse anymore.

Now I know that not everyone’s like me. I know that there are people who won’t settle. But, I’m not really one to upset the status quo. If it ain’t really broke, why fix it? When the status quo changes on you, though, you lose the freedom of just letting things go. You have to deal with all that crap you’ve managed to sidestep for eighteen years.

And all of the sudden, you don’t feel so free.

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