Friday, March 10, 2006

OOT (Out of Touch)

My sister, StuntMom, commented to me yesterday that I've been a bit out of touch with It's true, and I apologize. In the colorful events of this past week, I've actually thought a lot about the StuntMom community, and how much I appreciate that although we come from such different backgrounds, we are all very committed to actively raising our children. So while the rest of the house sleeps, I'll give you an update.

First, I've been interviewing for a teaching job, just a couple of hours a week, similar to what I had going when I lived in Portland. I miss my teaching so much. So I've been sweating out updates to my resume, calling directors of Adult Education, and interviewing. Now I've landed a couple of classes, English Brush-Up (starts March 21, runs for 6 weeks), and another right here in Rockland, a writing class for students working for their high school diploma, that starts in September. So once a week, I'll be talking grammar and sentence structure (and more) for a couple of hours. I'll be able to ride my bike to class, it's so close. The classes both meet just once a week, so it's perfect. So, that's one big time-eater, this interviewing process.

Next, my daughter has started taking an art class once a week, every Wednesday. It's been so wonderful for her. This is the first time I've taken her somewhere and left her in the charge of an unrelated adult. On the first day, I figured she'd be a little anxious, but no. She saw the paint, and it was "see ya, Mom." The class goes from 2-3:30, and the teachers are so great. She gets to do painting and creating without me "directing." It's really good for both of us. And what do I do for the hour and a half? I stay down the hall, in the studio of these teachers, where there are comfortable chairs, colorful artwork, a pot of tasty coffee, and quiet. It's as close to a spa atmosphere as I've ever had. I sit quietly and work on my knitting. What with my fiber arts get-together every Tuesday from 2-4, and this, I feel like I lead a life of luxury. (Just in case you're wondering, my husband watches the two younger boys for both of these events.) Since the start of the art class, I've become a much more "at peace" mother; knock on wood, no bouts of frustration or funks.

What else? Oh, I've been working frantically, in my spare time (ha ha), on hand quilting a queen sized star quilt that I started years ago. I've got it on a frame in my parlor - the kids actually like it there, as it acts as a sort of fort, under which they can play. I didn't realize it took so much time to hand quilt something. I've only done baby quilts in the past. What's the rush? I plan on raffling this quilt as a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer 60 mile Walk for a Cure that I'm doing at the beginning of August. My fingers are calloused from the needlework I've been doing. My goal was to have the quilt off the frame by the end of February. Now I'm hoping it will be done by the end of March. We'll see.

And here's where I've been thinking of StuntMom and the readers with such fondness. We may quibble about the finer points of being a stay at home mom, but really, I think we're all on the same page. United we stand. Well, last week, I got together with a mom I knew years ago, back when my first child was born. She too had a newborn, and we hung out together every once in a while. At the time, I was in graduate school, and commuted up to Orono 4 days a week (hour and a half drive). I didn't have much hang out time then, but I saw her from time to time. Anyway, her child is a few months younger than my daughter - so that makes him 4 1/2. This mom is also a stay at home mom. Last week, we met at the library, where he proceeded to run around and yell, as if he were at the playground. Monkey see, monkey do, my 2 1/2 year old son started charging around. So I called all of the kids together, and explained (in front of my friend) that this was a library, and what they were doing was absolutely not library behavior. My long lost acquaintance then told me that she'd been after the library to set up a sort of door, to shut off the children's section. Then the kids could be as loud as they wanted. She was serious. I am just old school, you go to a library to look at books, not be loud. As the behavior of her son was embarrassing me, and setting a poor example for my kids, I suggested we take a walk down Main Street, and stop in at the bakery/cafe in town. I was going to take the kids there for lunch, anyway, as my husband had some clients coming over to our house. Anyway, I could go on and on about this outing, but I won't. Let's just say that afterwards, my son mentioned to me that "that boy had bad manners." And my acquaintance - she told me that she really needed to have another child soon, or else once kindergarten started, she'd have to look for a job. Okay, I'm being judgemental here. Can't help it.

And then, I received a call from a long lost relative (she has been OOT since before the birth of her daughter - I haven't heard from her in over 6 months). Shocked that she called, I made chit-chat, and asked her how being a stay at home mom was treating her. "It's so mundane" was her reply. Wow. So I told her about StuntMom, that it might inspire her, give her some ideas, give her a place to vent her feelings. She cut me short, and told me she was far too busy to use the computer, and anyway, she already has 5 great friends she can vent with. She said this right on the heels of telling me that she has one child in daycare full time, one that goes 2 days a week, and has her six month old full time at home. Okay, I confess, I am passing a little bit of judgement here. But only because the word mundane was used to describe her existence. Mundane. What does it mean? Good old Webster: "mundane: common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative." Okay, there are some aspects of being a stay at home mom that are banal: changing diapers, housecleaning, balancing the checkbook. But to pick that word to describe such an important job? Maybe, because I teach writing, I take words too seriously. At any rate, her attitude scandalized me! It made me appreciate and marvel at how amazing it is that the readers and writers on StuntMom do not feel this way about raising their kids.

I guess I better go to bed. We have a big day ahead of us. Tomorrow the kids and I are going down to Portland for a day of fun. We're going to see my good friend and her son, and then pick up a dear friend of mine from Davis, California at the airport. She'll be our houseguest for the next couple of weeks. Sorry to be OOT. I'll work at being a little more regular!

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