As of this morning, I am officially unemployed.
For the past year and a half, I have been working. Working for people and places that I truly enjoyed. And, for a variety of reasons,
I’ve made the decision to not do that anymore. Some of those reasons are exciting (I’m going to write more!), some of those reasons are mundane (someone should really dust this house more often), some of those reasons are more complex and intricate, which often happens when motherhood and employment intersect.
Cumulatively, all of those reasons kept bringing me back here; to it being the right time to be at home.
When I explained to a friend all of the complicated thinking that led up to me bowing out of the workforce for a bit, she helpfully pointed out, “Oh! So, it’s like you’re taking a gap year.”
“YES,” I exclaimed. “A gap year! Exactly!”
So, sort of like Cheryl Strayed in wild. If Cheryl Strayed regularly meal planned for her family of five while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
When the kids found out that I would no longer be leaving the house for work each morning, the first thing they asked was if I could please, pretty please, drive them to and from school every day, a prospect that I find infinitely wearisome.
After I explained to everyone that they needed to suck it up and would continue taking the school bus like the rest of the kids whose mothers don’t love them enough to personally transport them to and from school each day, Millie looked at me and asked rather accusatorially, “So, like, what are you going to DO all day?”
Bob, understanding the deep value in our union, stepped in to wisely answer, “Whatever she wants.”
Which is absolutely accurate. With all of my kids in school full-time, this fall marks the first time since 2009 that I have not served as the primary caregiver for my three children. I have mothered them tenderly and lovingly for the past eight years, meeting their every need with infinite grace, wisdom, and patience. (That is all true. Just ask my kids.)
So, yes, Millie, I’m definitely going to do whatever I want. Which, if today is any indication, appears to be some rather sloth-like behavior.
But, I mean, I do have goals and stuff for my gap year. Outside of the writing and the excellent parenting, there are certainly things I’d like to accomplish.
First and foremost, I’d like to really, finally, for once use my Crock-Pot. Every year, as soon as it gets cold outside, I think to myself, I should find some good recipes for the Crock-pot! Throw everything in in the morning, dinner is DONE. But, every year, my Crock-Pot just languishes, completely forgotten, in the cabinet. No more! I declare this coming winter, The Winter of the Crock-Pot. (As such, please forward applicable recipes. Must appeal to the pickiest husband and children on the planet. Also, cannot contain red meat, fish, or pork. In addition, cream-based sauces are out, as are red sauces, so is an abundance of cheese, or really any dairy at all. So, none of that. But, should taste good. Thanks in advance!)
Second, I am going to continue to read. I fulfilled my reading goal of three (3) books this past summer and, with a recent raid on the local used book store combined with the library’s sale, I have a stack about ten-high on my nightstand. I’ve really missed reading so I hope my friends are all prepared to enthusiastically discuss books with me at great length that they read five to ten years ago!
Also, I’m for sure going to clean my house with greater frequency. Well, try to. I’m definitely going to put forth effort. Sort of. Probably. I’m aiming for making my bed AT LEAST twice a week.
(As an aside, Bob and I are purchasing a new range for the kitchen and I want one that has the two ovens – the smaller convenience oven on top and the larger turkey-cooking oven on bottom. I think this would be SO HANDY when I’m trying to prepare both chicken nuggets AND tator tots for my kids at the same time. When Bob and I were looking at these types of models online, I said, “You know, that bottom oven looks really low to the ground. That’s probably going to be hard to clean.” Bob looked at me, squinting in a patronizing and patient way and said, “Is that really a concern?”)
Also, I’m going to organize the crap out of every corner of this house. When we moved in, three and a half years ago, I just… put things in closets. There it all has stayed, in disarray, chipping away at my psyche. No more! I’m going to KonMari my way through every closet and dresser and cabinet in this joint. It’s going to be amazing! No one is going to be able to find ANYTHING because it will be so ORGANIZED!
I’m also going to paint the last three rooms in our house that need to be painted. Definitely, for sure going to get that done. I might even actually hang pictures on the walls. Finally! Maybe they’ll even be FAMILY pictures – of us! That I have printed out from the computer and everything! (This is getting awfully ambitious though.)
Okay. I’m off to throw out all of my kids’ favorite things in the name of organization! (Just kidding! I’m going to go binge-watch The Good Place. I really think pacing myself is the right approach here.)
Also, don’t forget about those Crock-Pot recipes!