I wrote this post on Tuesday, published it briefly and then decided against it. On the advice of fellow blogger, ex-London highlifer and stay at home mum Anna, who assures me that all I say is true, here it is again.
WARNING: There now follows a whiny, self-indulgent post.
I'm not feeling great. Maybe it's the hangover from our wonderful time in Blighty, maybe it's the hot weather which has arrived with a vengeance (I hate hot weather), maybe it's because my mini-beasts are with the grandspoilers so I have too much time to think. At the moment I wake early in the morning, when the sun rises, and I lie in bed, thinking, and thinking, and making myself sad. There is no new problem, there is no looming catastrophe, but I am still battling with feelings of worthlessness as a stay at home mum and feelings of blind panic about what to do following post-stayathomemumness.
Some brilliant things have given me RTBCs recently. Matilda is enrolled in the local école maternelle, which is handily situated at the end of the road. She's very excited. Owen has taken his first steps. He's very excited. I have another student who wants to learn to speak English like what I do. I'm... not so excited. May I make it clear once and for all, to anyone who cares, teaching English as a foreign language is not my life's passion.
With Matilda's enrolment in school have come the questions. So, you'll be going back to work then? Erm, no. Owen isn't one yet and this stay at home mumness is a two children deal. I sense, perhaps erroneously, that behind this question is a judgement. Damn well get back to work you lazy bugger. But I don't feel like a lazy bugger. I feel like I do a hell of a lot. Same as other women do, plus they work though, right? That's, again perhaps erroneously, what I sense from people here. As my belle soeur honestly pointed out, staying at home with your kids is not well viewed in France. I also often hear, Oh I couldn't do it, I'd go mad ... I need to see other adults... to get out of the house... to be stimulated. As if I'm some kind of halfwit, and so are my children, and we sit around in the house all day, one and a half wits between us, randomly throwing things at each other. We sometimes do that. But not all the time.
So I'm either mad to stay at home with my kids, or bad for avoiding the workplace, and frequently I feel that in my current state I am not worth getting to know. My world is small. And not very interesting to anyone but me. I do believe this will change but that doesn't help me shake my suspicion that my topics of conversation (bar the inevitable mini-beast related miscellany) have shrivelled up and died. When I had just one mini-beast in tow, I could do other things beside mini-beast taming. But with two, at their current ages, I consider it the height of personal achievement if I manage to make a cuppa at some point during the day.
Even blogging is starting to prove a source of discomfort. I still have the self-destructive habit of checking out other mum blogs, all about mums doing amazing and beautiful things and being amazing and beautiful people, and having hard times, but still being amazing and beautiful through the hard times. I'm not having an especially hard time, I've had to face no great trials, and I'm neither amazing nor beautiful. I'm just grumpy about life right now. Can I be allowed to be a grumpy, for what many would consider to be piffling reasons? I can't do a million different things at once, and be a beautiful and amazing mother, and an inspirational person. Some people can. And can write about it. Beautifully and amazingly. I'm jealous. And perhaps a little incredulous. I'm just grubby little me. Grubbing along, with my teeny peaks and my tiny troughs. And my two super duper mini-grubs. And my Fanf.
Things could be worse.
AFTERWORD: Anna shared with me her response whenever anyone asks her if she's going back to work: "I just turn up my nose and say I would never work for anyone else now". I like that a lot. I intend to steal it.