It's coming up on five months since I left my job. Depending on the hour of the day, I would tell you how amazing it's been or how defeated I feel. While I love getting to spend more time with my kids, and am so happy I no longer feel guilty about leaving them (because now when I do, we all need a break from each other), my expectations for who I'd be once I was no longer working have fallen short.
First, I thought I'd be less stressed. Turns out I'm just one of those people who finds SOMETHING to stress out about. So while I was working I just didn't have the mental space to stress about the condition of the landscaping in our backyard or even the wrinkles on my face (because I had cases and clients to occupy my thoughts), now every time I look in the backyard I feel my blood pressure spike as I make a mental to do list of everything that needs to be done before we list the house.
Also, when I was working, it was easy to dismiss the messiness of our house as a by-product of never being home long enough to do anything about it. Now sometimes I'm home all damn day. (Thank you 93 degree September days). However, when I am home, it is with one or two small people, so if I'm able to clean up one room, they're making a mess in another (or peeing on the floor somewhere.) Also, it turns out I'm just a bit of a messy person in general. In case you think I'm exaggerating, here is how our family room built-in bookcase generally looks:
I know its a terrible picture, but you don't need it in perfect focus to appreciate this disaster. (Also, side note, Boris built this bookshelf soon after we moved into our house. We had it full of tasteful knickknacks and books for about twelve months before plastic toys and Sandra Boynton took over.) For some reason though, the state of this bookshelf makes me feel like a failure. Even though I tried to set realistic expectations about what stay-at-home life would look like, there was a part of me that thought my house would looks a little closer to an Ikea catalog than a children's section of a library at closing time.
I'm not sure what the lesson is here, other than maybe our ideas of what a different path will look like don't always pan out. This isn't especially comforting given our current plan to continue overhauling every other aspect of our lives, but there's no turning back now.