Monday, April 28, 2008

Enter the drudgery

Do people still have midlife crises? They were very popular back in the eighties, if I remember correctly. I'm in a troublesome, transitional phase of my life. Here's a rundown: I'm just shy of 35 and quite well educated, but woefully lacking in the career department. I am a married mother of four, ages 8, 4, 2, and 8 months. I am an expatriate (more on why that bears mentioning later). 

One day, several months ago, I emerged out of a post-partum fog, peered through a haze of sleeplessness and realised that I was finished having babies. For almost ten years I had been trying to get pregnant, wondering if I was pregnant, trying to stay pregnant, trying to recover from being pregnant, trying to recover from not being pregnant, celebrating babies, and mourning babies. It was all-consuming. It was my career.  And now we are done. We have four quite (even if I do say so myself) amazing kids and my job title has the words "stay at home" in it. 

I don't know why it makes a difference, but the drudgery of it all never really hit me until we decided not to have any more babies. There's something special and magical about being pregnant. It's not hard to figure out the psychology of it. First of all, you have a tiny human being growing inside you. You get a lot of extra attention, people are always asking how you feel and making sure you have a cool drink and somewhere comfortable to sit. You have a long-term excuse to get out of stuff, to eat and and nap at will, and there are gifts involved. What's not to love????

Now I have one kid in elementary school, one in preschool, and two littlies at home. I have a husband in a fairly high-profile job. And I have housework to do. Enter the drudgery.