Written before baby was born.
I’ve always been a homebody. As a child, I stayed mostly at home, finding adventure mostly in my house via books and writing. Occasionally I’d stray with my mom for a walk around the district, but my home and mind had everything I needed.
As a teenager, I didn’t have much of a choice but to be a homebody. I experienced some struggles with it when I wanted to go hang at a friend’s house or vice versa. The only friend I ever had over was one to study a handful of times and once I had a very fancy birthday party.
I never went to anything with a friend, not a movie or the mall, except the last dance in my senior year. I was limited to school, the after school soccer games I had one year, church (ugh), and visiting family I wasn’t that familiar/uncomfortable with. Sometimes I hated feeling so stuck, but luckily I had lots of friends online, a big imagination, and books. It wasn’t as lonely as it may sound.
When I got to college, as you can imagine, I stayed mostly to myself initially, especially my first year. My high school friends speculated I’d probably end up going buckwild once I had new freedom. I even had a car to get away with it. Yet I didn’t. I was a well established shy introvert with generous sprinkles of anti social behaviors. By my third year, I started becoming more social, but mostly I maintained a balance between worlds.
After college, it was quite the same. I stayed in mostly, especially my first year out. I was in a new, quiet city and making friends was nearly impossible. After I moved to a more sociable city, again I found a decent balance, but mostly still to myself.
I always knew if I became a parent, I’d want to be of the stay at home variety. I worked in all sorts of settings with kids of all ages. I didn’t and don’t trust what exists as an adequate well rounded education system, a sentiment my partner fully agrees with. I left the school system, including college, feeling like I barely touched the full spectrum of my capabilities. The system was not equipped to find and expand on every child’s individual talent(s). Caregivers are busy trying to make money and career moves to do it either. I doubt, and still do, that I’m smart or capable enough to do the stay at home and homeschool thang, but I sure as hell know I can do better than what is. I have always been drawn to teaching and maybe this would be an outlet for me.
Except for my high school years, I had a say in how I came and went as a homebody. Going from working to settling into the stay-at-home role, especially after a year of doing a traveling job and then moving to a new island, was quite the transition. I didn’t complain much about it because it was such an ideal situation, but internally I’d occasionally battle with my possible 18 years 9 months contract.
One battle? I’m used to financially taking care of myself. Trading the responsibility of making my own money was very hard, especially when most of my life I’ve been told to never give up that responsibility to a man I wasn’t married to. Seeing as I don’t believe in traditional marriage, it added intensity and some of my family and my insecurities magnified it. My partner never made me feel bad about money – if anything he encouraged me to spend as I desired, but I still curbed myself from spending how I normally would if I were making some of the money.
The other reason I felt stuck is more literal: we had one car, a car that was stick/manual, a car I didn’t know how to drive for months. It felt selfish to ask my partner to take me anywhere after he’d work so many hours a day/week. We talked about how it’d be good if I knew how to drive if there was an emergency, so we decided to try to teach me. Incoming.
After a few painful attempts, I figured it out! Okay, almost. Hills still give me anxiety because manuals tend to roll back a little, or a lot if you’re me, before taking off. Still I drove because some days I just had to get the heck out of the house and a walk around the block wouldn’t do. Maybe I had some jungle fever (we live in a forest)?
The closer I got to giving birth, the less I drove and the more I started feeling worried about my dedication to a 4-6 weeks recovery time. The terrifying feeling of being stuck at home that long made me write this to pinpoint and deal with my anxiety. I probably wasn’t going to mind the first week or even two with my perfect eating, crying, pooping, and sleeping distraction plus a body in recovery, but after that? Mentally I couldn’t grasp staying sane for a month, month and a half at home.
A much bigger part of it was for those nine months, I had to work on myself. I had some behaviors and childhood traumas to work through before baby’s arrival. Sometimes I just wanted to get away from the inner work. Home was beginning to feel less like a haven and more like a place filled with my skeletons. It made me feel even worse that with all this space I couldn’t get my shit together. I failed a lot. I had one job: take care of myself. I had never had the privilege to focus on myself so intimately and boy was I a lot. Sometimes I wished I was the one working because it was familiar, comfortable, and way easier than peering into my soul, heart, and mind every freaking day. And all the while of course creating a child I hoped wouldn’t be affected by my shit.
I don’t have the resolution to this story yet. This is mostly rambles to process. I’m still on this seemingly destination-less journey. For now, admitting I’m scared outside of my head, is the start to disempowering my fears. I feel like it’s smaller, more manageable. However, no matter where you go, your problems will follow. A new location can help alleviate the symptoms, but it’s no cure. The cure is to be at peace anywhere at anytime.
Pending after becoming a stay at home mom post.