Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Don't Ask Me What I'm Up To.

Whenever we visit Utah/Idaho,  we are lucky to be able see many of our oldest and dearest friends. I love seeing them- I love to catch up on their lives. But there's always a moment that I dread whenever I talk to people I haven't seen for a while.

"So, Sarah, what are you up to?"

don't talk about the kids. don't talk about the kids. don't talk about the kids. 

"Oh, I'm just busy... uh... watching the kids."

dang it. 

I make a rule to not mention the kids when I am describing what I am "up to," because I find that when I am supposed to be talking about what *I* am up to, I can only seem to talk about what *THEY* are up to. I don't hate that I only talk about my kids, but I do hate that I haven't thought of a better decoy answer.


What does that even mean, "What are you up to?" I know that when I ask people that, I usually want simple, synopsis answers. It's a feeler-question; a general check-in; a way of summarizing your very existence into about 5-10 words. I'm busy with work and school. I'm training for a marathon. I've been volunteering with some underprivileged kids. I've been working on a novel (JEFF!!!).

But me? If I leave the kids out of it, (and that's a huge IF, it's pretty hard for me to do) I can't really come up with anything. I yelled at a pigeon today. *

I don't like to summarize my life in a few words. It's always the same. "Oh, I'm just busy watching the kids."  And I'll say it in a self-deprecating way, because that's just. what. you. do. "Oh, I just stay at home with the kids." "Oh, I'm just busy chasing the kids." Oh and just. You have to make sure to say "Oh and just."

I don't really have the energy to make a case for being a stay-at-home mom. It is more than a 5-10 word answer. It is wonderful and awful. Do mommy blogs mention that enough? It really is awful sometimes. Do the powers-that-be that make you feel bad about not "doing more" with your life realize that staying-at-home is wonderful? It is absolutely full of moments that make you cry with joy. There's a teeter-totter that we ride (and yes, working women are riding it too- their teeter-totter is probably worse because they have to wear business casual while on it) and nobody knows why we do it- why we constantly go up and down between being proud of who we are and what we do and being secretly ashamed of it. And this blog, genius that it may be (did you notice that the title of the blog is a pun on my last name??), cannot make sense of this problem. I am just a girl, who just ate a bunch of Skittles and who stays at home with her children all day and is happy to do so, but nonetheless who often feels complicated feelings about her place in the world and who wishes she had some more Skittles. And I don't have a solution, but I do have a suggestion.


*I really did yell at a pigeon today.


Chloe Smith said...

Yep. Feel the same way. However when ive added anything else i rarely have the energy and find myself overwhelmed. I am learning all i can handle right now is " just" being a mom .
Maybe we can say to make it sound more fancy " oh just raising little humans that because of my parenting techniques will become something great in society" :)

Sue said...

I wish I had some skittles. Being home all day with the kids is tough. Maybe you could say, "oh just keeping two human beings alive, healthy, and growing." :)

Marta said...

I feel you. As a fairly new member of the club, people often ask me how motherhood is for me. I usually say something like, "oh, you know how it is.." and let them fill in the rest with however they feel about it. Then I say something about how she sleeps though the night so I really can't complain.

mindy said...

(I went to high school with Jeff) I know the feeling... I usually add, "It's a good day when I have the time to hop in the shower!" To all mothers out there (this is a link to a picture on instagram of a quote):
I enjoy reading your blog. Say hi to Jeff for me!
Mindy (Enos) Bird

Audrey said...

I think the question should just be outlawed in general, such a terrible conversation topic :)

Val said...

Oh so true! Thanks for saying it.

Natalie said...

Oh man. This made me miss blog stalking so much. You are AWESOME! One day you will be famous for your wit. And I can say I know you and supported your super awesomely hilarious blog. Yesss