The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

Image

My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

“What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

Anne Lamott

Infinity and beyond…

“We react to what is in front of our eyes, not what the other possibilities may be. Our survival mechanisms are designed that way perhaps, taking in and processing what needs to be dealt with in the waking world of the moment.

“Yet we are also designed in such a way that we can at least conceive of those greater realities. Curiosity, imagination, thoughts, hopes and dreams… through these we touch a different reality every day that has its own inner life for us…”

Just a snippet from the wonderful perspective of Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye

Yet, if one could ignore space and time and be everywhere and every-when at once it would, theoretically at least, be possible to count them. Even taking all future snowfalls for the projected lifetime of our planet into consideration, it would be a finite number. There was, once upon a time, a very first snowflake to fall. There will be a last. There would come a point where there were no…

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Our Dreams, a poem

When are dreams
just dreams –
Cotton candy clouds above our
wondering eyes,
Entirely magical and beyond human touch?

When are they
substantial –
Sand or clay or peanut butter sandwiches,
Taken in hand
and formed to what we wish?

When do they
get taken –
Envied, criticized by
abusing fingers
Whose dreams left long ago?

When are dreams
– just dreams –
Substantial
Taken

Missed

And when do we

dream

again?

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com


©2020 Chel Owens

Hey! It’s a Blog (and Life) Update

After crawling through pregnancy and limping through the newborn stage, I have emerged to be a whole, new Chelsea! This model is …a bit more overweight, a lot more tired, and barely has time to read and write.

She’s also taken up employment.

I work in a cafeteria. I applied for a cashier job and was hired at my son’s school. I don’t do much cashiering currently because every child gets free school lunch in America. The job has many perks: free food, free exercise, limited exposure to people, and unlimited latex-free work gloves.

I’ve taken the time I normally laid around the house; irresponsibly folding clothes, washing dishes, getting the baby out of the potted plants, finding shoes, reprimanding children, getting the baby out of the cleaning cupboard, picking up towels, washing pans, getting the baby off of the stairs, planning meals, balancing the budget, getting things out of the baby’s mouth, helping in the dice store, and cleaning cleaning cleaning- and put it to good use doing similar things in a more commercial environment that doesn’t have a baby crawling around.

After paying for day care, I bring home about $10 each day. I haven’t even learned what portion of that Uncle Sam will take; I don’t get my first paycheck till Thanksgiving. Maybe.

But, if you’re still reading, I doubt you clicked on this to learn about the intricacies of folding a towel after lunchlady work while using your foot to push the baby away from the stove dials as a timer goes off and dinner burns. The blog update part of this is that I need to cut back on posting. Frankly, I’ve gotten burned out by the dead-end that writing is for me anyway.

I’ve mentioned this before, I know. I need writing and I NEED this community. I also need sleep.

Here are the blog changes I will implement:

  1. The weekly A Mused Poetry Contest will take place once a month.
  2. I will occasionally answer prompts like Deb’s 42-word story, Girlieontheedge’s Six Sentence story, Carrot Ranch‘s 99-word flash, Colleen Chesebro‘s Tanka Tuesday, Esther Chilton‘s limericks, and maybe a Blog Battle or d’Verse.
    I recommend you check them out and enter, too!
  3. I’ll post COVID-19/Coronavirus updates if you’re interested. We’re now on a statewide mask mandate and all extracurricular school activities are cancelled for two weeks.
  4. Most importantly, I will read my friends’ posts whenever I get a chance.
  5. Even more most importantly, please know that I always mean the very best when I comment or write. I do not look to offend.
  6. I support President Donald J. Trump as I have our other elected leaders, and I dislike people saying offensive things about him (or any other political figure). Be civil.

If you’re still around after those announcements, here’s some cake:

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Bring on the Rain

“I am in control!” She screams, gripping fists of invisibility so hard she feels what’s left of fingernails digging against her palms. Forget the past; forget what Steve or Phil or Jack or even James -if that was his name- said. “I am in control!”

Forces more powerful than any touched by man answer, without words. Pushing, tearing, whipping the lake’s edge against her -her, a small, insignificant figure to challenge God’s great breath.

“I am -” she gasps, “in control!” Spray and tears stream down her face;
wipe clean
spray
clear

Till, beckoned by her challenge, the sky-fall comes.

Inspired by Carrot Ranch‘s prompt, high winds:

September 3, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about high winds. It can be on land, sea or in outer space. Who is facing the wind or protected from it? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 8, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

What I Hear

Conversation. Voices that are not mine or my children’s or the creaking moaning ageing of the house -voices from others are talking. And laughing. We have friends over, and we are visiting without fear.

As we talk about their move from out of state, we hear an airplane fly over. We hear a click-clunk of scooter on sidewalk coupled with happy child-talk, from outside. As the night darkens, the child-talk becomes teenage squeals as our older neighbors begin night games in the street.

Do you remember these things?

Music -I hear music. There’s an impromptu outdoor concert a few blocks away. There’s a neighbor cleaning his house with the radio playing. My husband sings to our baby; he grins, entranced, as he watches the slow notes move his father’s lips.

The hose, outside, is on. I hear the rush of water that used to send me running to scold, “Turn that off this instant!” Now, I open our blinds to summer sky; glance down to muddy children, laughing in the hose-rain. I wave.

I remember these things.

As sounds filter in where once they were not, I remember. I feel my soul shudder thaw stretch unfurl. I feel. I hope. I smile.

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

In response to Rethinking Scripture’s post, “Summer 2020 – What I Don’t Hear.”

©2020 Chel Owens

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason.

“If you get the chance, take it.

“If it changes your life, let it.

“Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”

Harvey Mackay, though often attributed to Dr. Seuss