So, here's my question to you: Are you happy now?
Articles like this one from two days ago surface frequently, citing studies that having children make you less happy. I'm often at a tough spot to say I'm really happy these days. I've got two small children who depend on me for everything. I have a strong network of local friends and, of course, Maria, for daily support, but both Jeremy's and my families live out of town and if you look at it through a practical lens, that's just one less daily resource we have. And, honestly, the only time I let myself relax is a few minutes at bedtime, when I read a few pages of a parents or food magazine or go on some preemie online board.
And there are times - even more so lately - when I fantasize about my old life. And they aren't even that great of fantasies - just the dream of being able to work until 7 p.m. during a weeknight (so I could finally get caught up at work) and then meet my husband out for dinner, a movie, a play or a visit to a jazz club. Sigh.
My life is a middle-class kind of difficult right now. My husband and I are blessed with jobs we love, a roof over our heads and we shop at Whole Foods. We don't have to worry about our next meal or the safety of our neighborhood. When I say that my life is hard, the difficulties lie in me trying to balance work and home as a full-time working mama primarily. And not having a lot of time for myself.
When you put things into a broader context - as I'm wont to do - and I think about the devastation in Joplin, Missouri this week - or Japan earlier this year - or the 10th anniversary of September 11, I know I have nothing to complain about. Nothing.
So, am I happy now? I am - pretty much. I do admittedly miss my old life sometimes. Jeremy would have one awesome wine collection by now if we hadn't had kids. I probably would have been to Paris by now too. And let's not even think about the euphoric state Roscoe the cat would be in.
Here is what I know:
I have a lot of joy in my life. Joy comes from my daughter's smile and her kicky legs and my son learning the concepts of rhyming and opposites in a single week (and me having no idea if he's behind or ahead of kids his age).
I am blessed.
I am thankful.
I am excited about the future. Honestly, I cannot wait to see the people my son and daughter will become.
I would never say my life was meaningless before kids, but I certainly feel more purpose these days - especially at my day job of saving the planet for Jack and Jossie. And that makes me feel satisfied.
So what about you?