Professor's House

Is This Really My Life – Are you Exceeding Your Expectations?

It occurs to me as I go to withdrawal cash from the bank that there is only $100 left in the checking account. My math mind tells me that I cannot get my haircut, buy new mascara, and put gas in the car for a $100. So I am stuck in the quandary of deciding whether or not this ‘situation’ warrants transferring some money from savings. The truth is that we just got paid, but add together bills, instrument rentals, 3 tank fulls of gas, groceries and perhaps a bottle of wine (or two) to help get me through the week…and I, find myself broke once again.

Sadly, I can remember that a little more than a decade ago, money was never issue. In fact, the only issues in life were what to wear, where to go and how fast to get there. The thing was, I couldn’t wait to have children. I remember a time when my husband and I would lie in bed making love for hours on Saturday morning, wake up only to eat and then go back to bed. Now, its cartoons and cereal by 8am, and morning sex happens at like 5am, rather than once the sun is up.

I can also remember the convertible that I dreamed about. It has been sappily replaced by a white minivan, which has more gook under the seats than in the wheel wells. Some days, I imagine that I am in a convertible and roll all the windows down, turn up the music and start singing, only to be interrupted by a chorus of unruly grunts and groans from the back SEATS….And, here I thought that convertibles were supposed to be two-seaters.

I also think back to those pre-family days when meal times weren’t really ‘times’ at all. I ate when I was hungry, drank when I was dry and never looked at the clock. Back then, 11pm wasn’t too late to leave the house, and grocery shopping consisted of buying a box of cereal, skim milk, and strawberries. Now, it takes hours to get through the store and even using coupons – I spend at least $200 every other week on food. Who are these people that eat so much?

With experience under my belt, I see now that the inklings of human nature to procreate are molded by societal expectations and preconceived notions. You know, the intoxicating smell of Johnson’s Baby powder, and the desire to see your own eyes recreated in someone else. There are the dreams of the white picket fence, the grass that is always cut and the sound of laughter ringing through the hallways of your home. All the people I knew with children back then seemed so happy, so blessed and so incredibly content and satisfied with life that I couldn’t get wait to have a family of my own. I crafted through my own imagination and naïve dreams of what life is supposed to, the perfect painting of life as a mom and wife. And you know what….some days I sit back on the couch and wonder what in the world I was thinking? Is this really my life?

That’s the funny thing about life. You start out wanting one thing, only to find that the one thing you wanted isn’t really what you expected. Sadly, nobody tells you how darn hard it is to have a life of your own – and to raise children – and to maintain a marriage and keep up a home. I consider motherhood, life distracted. Of course, it isn’t always a bad thing, and I pretty much could not imagine my life any other way now. Yet, I have to wonder – as I am busy planning my family life – could it be that once the kids grow up, my life will change again? Will it be what I expected then?

Raising a family and being married is the hardest thing two people will ever do. It becomes easy to lose your focus under a mountain of bills and expectations. It also becomes pretty easy to lose your self, and to lose sight of your own creativity and passion in life. Don’t believe me; try writing this article with I-Carly blaring in the background, 2 children fighting and one singing her ABC’s as loud as she possibly can.

There are nights that my husband and I sit at the kitchen table, scratching our heads and wondering what the hell we should talk about. Or if we should talk at all? We have become more excited about American Idol and little girl’s softball games then we are about other things in life – mostly because we know that these two things make our children happy. And although we may have forgotten what we want to be when WE grow up, we definitely know what we want our children to be.

Every parent, a few years in, once the baby has outgrown the innocence and ease of being little – spends some time in the back of their own mind wondering, if this is really – what their life is? There are tremendous amounts of stress, indulgent amounts of guilt, horrendous troubles, and endless worries. And yet I know, that even as I write this article and warn every person across the globe that marriage and child raising ARE NOT as glamorous as they appear – millions of people will do it anyways. Just like I did. And the truth is that while often hard, sometimes frustrating and occasionally limiting….there is no other better way to spend your life.

One last look in the mirror reveals some grey hairs; crow’s feet that look like owls have landed on my face and frown lines that have grown from worry over the years. There is no stopping the progression of life, and not everything has turned out exactly as I have planned. Yet, still – I wouldn’t change a thing. How about you?

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