Today is the day that I write my very first blog post and I am a little terrified by the thought that there could be people out there in the world that can read my words and actually enjoy sharing my thoughts and inclinations! There is quite likely many more people who will absolutely despise every single word that spews from my mouth, but I've decided to take that risk.
This day began like many other Saturdays. I am always thrilled at greeting the weekend. It holds the magic, this end of week day, as it did in my youth, and I still find myself looking forward to this day like no other. As I have grown older, I have gotten tangled in the trappings of responsibility and with it, so has my weekend grown more complicated. I am like many other mothers who use this day as a working holiday. Saturdays are meant for grocery shopping, lawn mowing, bathroom cleaning , and so many other chores that simply are too extensive for weekday work. I work my way through this mental list, begrudgingly one by one, usually completing most by Sunday evening.
Today I find myself in the midst of a unique day on the island of Nantucket. The rare sunny Saturday in June! It is a fact that we have not had a sunny weekend day for almost two months now. I have grown accustomed to the dreary, foggy, overcast, and chilly horrible weather that is Nantucket spring. Unlike most places that bloom uncontrollably and thrive with life in the spring, Nantucket is unique in that it becomes less inhabitable as spring progresses. Every resident finds themselves forlorn and depressed as they gaze outside and wonder if the sun will ever shine on this god-forsaken island. Will it ever? Will we die before warmth grazes our skin again?
It turns out that we will not die (at least most of us) and today we have made it to yet another New England summer. A fleeting season, but worth it if you can survive the other 10 months to make it to this point.
Back to my chore day. Today as I was wrapping up my tasks for the day, I ended the day with a simulating game of walking in circles called mowing the grass. My husband tells me that I love mowing the grass, and I tell him that he can stuff it. The fact is that I hate mowing the grass because it is not fun. How many other chores involve walking in circles for an hour while a loud motor roars in your ear and grass gets blown in your face? But mowing the grass makes invites a time of introspection as there is nothing to do but think as you complete this mind-numbing task.
My thoughts today were regarding the roles of women in this century. I am a good example of the new role that women take in the 2000's. We are not just mothers. We are a plethora of people, and do literally every task required in one's life. We are accountants, landscapers, auto mechanics, computer techs, housekeepers, chefs, CEOs, and everything in between. When my mother was young, she was not allowed to wear pants or learn how to drive. Her only task afforded her in life was to learn to be a good mother and take care of a husband. This seems very old-fashioned in today's society, but it was not that many years ago. I like to think that we have come a long way, but my life, seemingly against my will, has fashioned itself to be similar to my mother's but contains bonds that are much more strong. In today's society it is uncommon for a mother to simply be a mother. It is far more common for the mother to also work. This is a goal that we fought for in the 1960's and 1970's and now has become a mainstay. Unfortunately, with this wonderful gift, we gained all the responsibilities that we had before, along with a myriad of new.
My mother would have never mowed the grass as I am now, as that would have been man's work. Yeah! We won! Now I have to mow the grass for the rest of my freaking life. We have gained all of the responsibility that men used to have on top of all of those that we have always had and yet we think that we have somehow won. I know who won. The men that no longer have to lift a literal finger to make dinner or take out the trash. Because they are too busy being men.
I frequently speak to many other women who share my concerns. We are overwhelmed with the amount of tasks that we have to do in a single day. We wake up, then wake up everyone else. We make breakfasts, then lunches. Everyone gets dresses (by us) and we fight to get these wonderful people to school. We then work all day at a job that is somehow less important than our male counterparts job, to run out to pick up everyone, and run them to their various after school activities. Sometime later we stumble home, exhausted from the long 12 hours previous, and proceed to make dinner for an ungrateful group that will ultimately not eat what is served because it contains vegetables. Where is the man, the half-contributor to the DNA of this brood? He will come home when he pleases as he is on his own schedule that does not involve the emotional thought of another person. Again I ask what have we gained? Twenty years to life.
I know that it sounds ungrateful, but I love my children very much. They are my life as I have poured every ounce of my soul into their raising without ever thinking of myself. I love them so deeply and I am so invested in their success that I frequently forget that my own life has value apart from theirs. This is where the problem lies. My husband never merged himself with the children and thus has always retained his own identity, whereas I am struggling to remember who I was. Is it important to find myself again, or does it not matter, as I am irrevocably changed. As my children grow and leave as they must, I find myself alone more and more. I have worked for these days, but they are not what I thought they would be. I am growing old alone after having poured my life into the life of others, but the grass still needs to be mowed. So I mow. I take out the trash. I pay the bills and I wonder the purpose of my life. A life so full yet so empty and losing meaning every day.
Who am I if not a mother? Just another landscaper that does a terrible job with the grass.