Friday, February 17, 2012

"The Ten Year Nap"

If you've not read Meg Wollitzer and you're a woman, you should.

I recently finished reading her novel entitled "The Ten Year Nap," a fictional account of four friends in their thirties who have left careers to raise their kiddos. 

The gist is that in their 20's, they spent their time getting graduate degrees, traveling, going on dates, finding their partners, building their careers and enjoying disposable income.

Now in their 30's, they've had children and a chance to stay at home while their husbands earn the dough and their new responsibility is to peddle their kids to story hour, play groups, preschool, and along the way, lose their minds, rediscover new identities and transform their marriages and friendships.

It's all very apropos for where I am in my life.  And the title alludes to the notion that women "give up" their 30's to hunker down with their children doing the most important job of all.  In essence, the 10-year nap.

I'm 36 which means that this summer, I will have been at home full-time for five years.  My youngest just turned a year old, which also means that I will probably be at home for at least the next four years until she starts school all day long.

Like most, I've figured out routines, rituals, and a schedule.  Our house flows fairly seamlessly, except when I get sick or the baby is teething or the big kids fight or it's below zero and we can't go outside. 

But what does all of this mean?  When I'm in my 40's maybe mediating again (for money) or teaching a class will I look back and think, "My God, my 30's were an absolute blur."  Or will I reflect back fondly remembering the park, the pool, the children's books, and the time spent.  I'm certain that it will be a mixture of both.

Right now, I've got to be honest, I'm tired.  Being on the home front can be relentless and unforgiving.  The needs rarely wane and the personal time has to be fought for.  I pray that over the next four years I can remember that I'm doing important work and that I won't lose my edge or my least not permanently.

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