Massively Multiplayer Real-life Role-Playing Game

I’m struggling to align my mental image of myself with my new role as SAHM in this Massively Multiplayer Real-life Role-Playing Game called ‘Life’.  You may have heard of it – like World of Warcraft only without the healers to come and get you back in the game after you’ve accidentally set yourself on fire.

It’s nothing new. I’ve been here before and asked the same hard-hitting question:

“What the Sam Hill will I do with myself while the baby is sleeping that will make me feel clever and worthwhile and maintain the shreds of sanity I’m barely hanging onto … but doesn’t involve cooking, cleaning or craft?”

In the olden days of my first time around as SAHM,  I discovered study and I really do attribute it to keeping me from going completely ga-ga.  I started my Bachelor of Science (Library Technology) via Virtual Campus and of course, fell pregnant midway through my first semester. Never one to let a mere trifle as children stop me, I carried on for the next 10 years, cutting back to one unit a semester when life got complicated (i.e. had another baby) until I finished.

Once I’d completed that sucker, I was hooked and went on to do a few other courses and diplomas related to teaching, editing, proofreading and graphic design.

The only one I didn’t see through to the end was the teaching grad dip. One round of prac finished me. I had three kids at home already – did I really want a class full of them as well?

Looking back, I note that I started them all at a time where I was struggling with my identity and self-esteem. Some people drink and take drugs. I get my jollies from assignments. Drugs would probably be cheaper (just ask my accountant about my HECS debt)  but hey, my addiction fills out a CV really well and makes me look smart.

This SAHM do-over, I vowed to take a different path from the norm. I would get involved with mum’s groups and baby play-based education sessions. I would take the baby for long walks in the pram. Leave baby home with Dad occasionally and go out for Friday afternoon drinks with the girls.

I would not sign myself up for more study and would definitely not spend countless hours at the computer with the baby asleep (or waving its arms frantically in hopes of gaining my attention) in a bouncer at my feet.

If I were grading myself on how I’m doing so far, it would look like this:

“Welcome to Stay At Home Motherhood … again.

So far your efforts to get out and socialise are to be commended and you seem to be tracking well for achieving some semblance of regular adult conversation and interaction – even if it is baby-centric. Excellent work. Keep it up.

I see you’ve arranged to get together with former work mates this week. Please remember that whilst your world revolves around your baby’s bowel motions and cute smile that may or may not be related to said bowel motions, not everyone will want to hear about it.

A simple “Baby is still alive. Husband and I still talk to each other with words of more than one syllable. I am a little tired but all is good” will suffice.  Try engaging interest with topics other than your baby such as world politics, the state of Kim and Kanye’s marriage woes or, if desperate, the weather.

However … I see you’re getting into the blogging again and I wonder if this is a wise choice?  That baby is only going to take vigorous bouncing at your feet for so long before she really jacks up. Please arrange an appointment to see me about this before it goes much further.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone is waving their arms at me frantically …

Memory Loss

Still-Alice-coverI forgot my mother’s birthday.

Well, technically, I didn’t forget it – I was just a whole month early for it. And when the mistake was pointed out to me (by my mother), it actually freaked me out.

I blame February’s 28 days for the mix-up but it should have registered that her birthday is just 8 days before my youngest son’s, not a whole month before.  It’s a semi-long and complicated story but the general idea is that I had two meetings in my calendar for the 16th of February and March and figured I could kill two birds with one stone by traveling to Brisbane early and spending time with Mum on the weekend for her birthday. Only thing is, the meeting is March is a teleconference and the one in Feb an onsite one. So in between all of that, I got a little mixed up.

But still …

It was a shocking moment when I realised my mistake. I was absolutely gobsmacked at my own stupidity. How could this happen? I’ve known my mum’s birth date for almost as long as I’ve known her! Am I losing my marbles? What is going on here?

There’s a movie out at the moment called “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore. I haven’t seen it yet but I read the book by Lisa Genova a few years ago. It’s a brilliant yet terrifying read from the first person viewpoint of Dr Alice Howland, a noted linguistics professor at Columbia University who makes the devastating discovery that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Everyone gets forgetful; loses keys; can’t remember someone telling them they were going somewhere etc. But it’s when she’s doing the same morning jog through the same streets she’s followed for years then suddenly coming to a stop in the middle of campus and not recognising anything that she realises there’s something more than simple forgetfulness going on.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to slowly lose yourself – but I think I had a taste of it the other day and I can safely say it is not a pleasant sensation.

I made jokes about it with the kids, asking for assurances that when I get to the point where I start forgetting to put my pants on and go wandering the neighbourhood, they’ll come and drag me back home and dress me.  Their response was along the lines of believing I should be free to do what I want and why stop me from entertaining everyone?

Little bastards …



Keeping the faith

It’s Day 4 today. Today I will find out whether we have embryos to transfer tomorrow or the poor little windowlickers have failed to keep trudging along. I’ve been here once before. We got the phone call at 3.30pm the afternoon before. The team was out before I even got a chance to bat.

Now, I’ve done my fair share of personal growth-related reading over the past 5 years about positive thinking and how we create our own universe and we chose this path long before we were born for a reason. And to be honest, I can look back and see where I did indeed manifest what I wanted.

This morning, as I watch the sunrise over this city I’ve sat stewing in over the past 5 days, far from home and my love and family, I asked myself “How?How do I stay positive? How do I manifest this little bit of creation to go my way? How do I possibly affect the universe and all it’s magic in such a manner that the outcome is in my favour?”

And you know what? By writing this blog and thinking about how I’ve done it in the past, I think I’ve found the answer.

I wanted a marriage that was loving and equal, where I didn’t feel inadequate and the ‘follower’ who had no hand in the decision making process for the family. I eventually got it but had to go through a divorce first. And I can remember thinking how I didn’t want to be married anymore … And to my shame, started acting like I already wasn’t.

When I separated I needed a good job and a community that would support me as a single parent and an opportunity came up to move back to a job in a former organisation I’d worked for in the town I’d only left 18 months ago and swore I would never return to. I started planning our move even before I got to the interview stage. I acted as if I’d already got what I wanted.

The same job three years later was stifling. It had served its purpose. The kids were grown, I had been able to financially support them, buy a car, have a credit card (yep, didn’t think the bank would give me one – so naive), take the kids on an overseas holiday. I was safe, secure, had found a loving partner who was everything I had imagined, including the reading in bed together at night (it’s the little things). I was ready to get out of that job and to try something different. So I started studying graphic design at night and on weekends.

I wanted to be free of the red tape and ridiculous bureaucracy; to be master of my workflow and able to do things I really wanted to do; explore other avenues. I knew what I needed: a financial cushion; networks from which to get clients; a supportive partner who would be happy as long as I was happy. For the 6 months before I resigned, I was working as if I’d graduated with my diploma and already left, doing jobs after hours in my home business. I sold my unit to give us that financial cushion. I acted as if I’d already got what I wanted.

The common theme in all these stories is that I started acting as if I’d already got what I wanted. And perhaps there, my friends, is the answer. Don’t worry about how it will happen. Just have faith that it will. And act as if it already has. Does this mean I start buying baby things? Do I start looking at the calendar, making sure I don’t plan any big trips for April-May next year? Maybe.

I guess with the other situations, I felt like I had some control. With this, I believe we’re relying on the magic of the universe. Maybe all it takes is buying a little baby suit today to get the ball rolling …