I think I’m having a mid-life crisis and I’m only partially kidding. I’m constantly feeling discontented at work and at home, and I can’t seem to stop the anxiety over things that are completing out of my control. World events, mean people, physical signs of aging . . . it all has me thinking that a sabbatical in Saint Barts is just the ticket.
My husband Doo went through one last year. He started working out excessively, talked of buying a convertible Porsche, and seriously contemplated how to make bank and retire early. He was engaged in parenting only partially, and even then complained of the carpools and the expense and the general time commitment of raising four children. His “manopause” lasted about six months, and I’m thrilled to report he is completely back to his more realistic and happy self.
Now it’s my turn. The problem is, a mom’s collapse is far worse than a dad’s. I’m the default parent, the go-to adult who helps with homework and makes lunches and signs permissions slips and coordinates transportation and cleans toilets and settles arguments and schedules appointments and creates magical birthday parties. When I’m in a bad mood, which of late seems to me the norm, “stuff” doesn’t get done, and consequently, everyone’s world turns upside-down. Then my mommy guilt kicks in, and the cycle begins again.
Exacerbating the situation, my family is completely disregarding my “buttons,” though they resemble bright orange traffic barrels. They truly don’t seem to care that the house is a disaster, that despite my best efforts I can’t improve my 5K time, or that my profession no longer carries the same joy it once did. Jeeze! When did I turn into Danny Downer?
I am trying. I’ve come to terms with the reading glasses that taunt me from my bedside table and the fact that my first floor will never appear in Architectural Digest. I recognize that it’s not too late for a career change, and that it’s within my power to delegate many of my responsibilities, both domestic and professional, to lift some of the weight I carry. And I’ve become much better at setting priorities, with the top three pertaining to actual humans rather than tasks. Still, lately I’ve definitely been in a funk.
Alas, one of my daughters is smirking at me, playing a haunting tune on her tiny air violin to signal that this descent into self-pitydom must end. Now. But I do enjoy a good Woe-Is-Me party! Wallowing in despair always makes me feel a tad bit better. Or maybe that’s the pinot finally kicking in. Regardless, thanks for “listening.” I might not need that tropical escape after all!