Ella and I have some interesting conversations in our times together. The other day she asked me how much our home cost and I told her. "Wow! Did you have all that money?"
I told her that we did not have all that money. I explained the bank let us borrow the money and that every month we give the bank back small amounts of money. I went on to reinforce the message I gave her recently about why daddy works...They give him money, and that's how we pay for the house,"so if daddy doesn't go to work, then we can't have a house. The bank will take it away from us."
"Oh, well that would be ok. We could just go live with the neighbors."
Tonight, Ella and I had another conversation and I was able to glean from it that Ella was paying attention to my explanations of how things work. At the start of the conversation, I complimented Ella on her problem-solving skills as well as her initiative (yes, it's so rough to be raised by a mental health therapist). I then asked her if she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.
"I'm going to be Cinderella."
I was a bit disappointed that she didn't have bigger plans (for supporting me in my old age) and asked her how she would make money to pay for her house to live in. She thought about it for only a second before switching plans.
"Oh. I guess I'll be Belle. Cause she has the Beast."
It took me a second, "Oh, so you mean the Beast can pay for her house?"
"Yep." And she skipped off leaving me to realize that while I never really had to worry that Disney Princesses were giving Ella an unrealistic standard to live up to, I did have to worry about what I was showing her.
Now granted, this really isn't something to get worked up about unless you are a jaded, insecure feminist who hates relying on anything that has a penis...But since I am a jaded, insecure feminist who hates relying on anything that has a penis, I did get a bit worked up.
My immediate thought was that I needed to go get a real job and put off my private practice work. Then I realized that that would be an awful lot of work...to take care of 3 kids, a home, a yard, and be gone 50+ hours a week.
While I don't want to be gone from my kids, forcing them into a daycare facility, I DO wish I was able to get something done that still whispered of MY essence. I didn't know how to convey it articulately, so instead I ranted at Dave about how I can't figure it all out. I don't know how to get my practice lifted up, raise our girls, take care of all the home stuff, and gain full-time employment to remedy the ever-increasing debt that piles up for us. "I shouldn't be miserable, but I am. When I can't get writing done, when I can't get my private practice work done, when I can't even keep one corner of the home clean, I start to resent the girls. I just want SPACE! And then I resent you because you are gone all the time furthering your career. And I'm mad at me because there is NO reason for me to be miserable...but I am at times and I don't want to be. Everyone is healthy, we have A LOT. I ought to be singing from the rooftops."
And then the girls walked in, the conversation, as it so often is, was interrupted and I'll go back to trying to figure it all out on my own, as so many moms do...If you'd like a more articulate link to what I am trying to say, you can read the writing of a former grad school colleague at This link.
Or if you'd like to be thoroughly incited by how family un-friendly our society is, you can read a book I recently read by Sharon Lerner, "The War on Moms: On Life in a Family Un-friendly Nation." That book may have saved my self-esteem. Until I read it, I assumed I was the idiot who couldn't get her shit together.
Click here to see the author briefly speak: Watch video
Now I can just blame everyone else and sit comfortably in my victimhood. ;) (Not really.) But the book was very validating -- something I never expected to get from it when I grabbed it off the shelf as I chased Andi through the public library.
Whew! This post -- much like the conversations I have with Ella -- went in a direction different than I thought it would go in...