I Want a Minivan
Life is funny. As in, really funny.
Here I am making all these grand declarations about what I want to do with my life, and all the while the truth of who I am, who I REALLY am, is churning below the surface waiting to rise up at the right time.
When I am very quiet, and when I am at complete peace, and when I take money, prestige, pride, comfort, and false security and stability out of the picture, this is my truth:
I want to quit working outside the home and be a full-time mom and homemaker, including all the domesticity it requires.
I want to create. I want to write for pleasure. I want to play my guitar and sing again. I want to write music again. I want poems, essays, and stories to pour out of me again.
I want another baby.
And I want a minivan.
I love watching Hallmark movies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I especially love them now that I have to watch my one year old. (MY BABY IS A TODDLER. He is babbling and cruising and giggling and demanding to touch and see and put everything in his mouth.) Because the plot lines of Hallmark movies are exactly the same, I can tune in mid-movie, if need be, and know exactly what the heroine is going to choose and how the love interest is going to be so clueless, and how no one is going to use clear communication skills to actually clear up the petty misunderstandings that almost tear them apart as a couple (because let’s face it, three whole days is plenty of time to suddenly be in a serious, romantic relationship!).
So today it was a movie about a successful career woman who finds her ex on some Facebook-like social media platform. She left him to come to “the big city” (the city is evil!). So now she has fame and fortune, with a high-rise apartment and a boyfriend who is even more interested in career than she is (and who is, like all the romantic rivals, a total bonehead).
She sees her ex and runs into a creepy Santa Clause man who grants her a Christmas wish: she wakes up married to her ex, and they have two children, and they live in the gasp SUBURBS. She is revolted by the family dog, the kitchen, the girls themselves, and, the crème de la crème, the family minivan. It comes equipped with reindeer antlers and Rudolph’s red nose.
When my son was about five months old, my husband and I test-drove a minivan. It was new and spacious. It had loads of gadgets and kid-friendly entertainment features. It was roomy. It felt like driving a boat.
I said no. No no no. I would never be the mom with the minivan. Instead I would be the hip mom who worked outside the home and drove CRV-type vehicles around town.
I was the woman in the Hallmark movie as she grimaced at the size of her new vehicle.
But as the movie progressed, she came to like being with this family of hers. She liked being a wife and mom, a stay-at-home mom, the kind of mom I never wanted to be. I write about it in here about how I needed to work outside the home for my own sanity, blah blah blah.
So maybe that was true earlier this year, yes. I wasn’t as connected to being a mom as I thought. And it makes sense, right? I’m only a year into this. Pregnancy doesn’t count as a part of mom-land, to me at least. And the PPD fog hung over me for longer than I realized. It honestly only started to lift about a month ago, and I mean truly lift.
That’s when I started to look into my son’s eyes and never want to leave them.
That’s when my husband and I began to have some tough conversations.
That’s when I stopped applying to PhD programs, only having gotten one in to USC (and while that process was fun, it took a good month to get everything together, and it was a mental strain).
That’s when I realized I didn’t want to teach full-time, and that I never did. And that is why I basically cried in my last full-time, tenure-track interview. It’s like my spirit was begging me to see the truth, and the only way it could emote was through my tears.
Back to the woman in the Hallmark flick. She gets an opportunity in her new life to go to work for the news station she used to work for, and she is offered a position. She is elated. But when she realizes how much it would take away from spending time with her husband and children, she turns it down.
Most of the time I hear this message, that women can either have a successful career or be a successful wife and mom, and I get angry. Very angry. I go off about how this frame of thought is very limiting. I renounce stay-at-home motherhood and declare that I am somehow higher than it. I talk about how I’m not actually domestic and how I’m better off outside of the home anyway.
But today? I cried as I watched this woman turn this job down and go to see her girls in their Christmas pageant.
Then I laughed and thought of Balaam’s Donkey. Here’s a man who is too stubborn to listen to God, so God momentarily gives an animal human speech.
Here I am, a woman who consistently makes fun of Hallmark movies, who in her heart looks down on mothers who don’t work outside the home, and she is schooled by one of those very same movies.
You know why I’ve looked down on homemaking as a job? Because I’m scared of it. Because it intimidates me.
You know why else? Because I’m in love with money. I love the power to be able to work for money. I feel a high from it. I can look at my bank account and go “see, I brought this in. I don’t need to be dependent on anyone else.” It also affords me the right to shop. I can buy those items from Amazon and Target and Walmart because hey, I work, I bring home money.
I think there are other reasons that I will discover as I go on this journey, but my paradigm is being torn apart. I’ve never wanted to stay home and raise my baby boy and take care of my husband to the degree that I want to now. I am also officially sick of teaching. I’m done with it. I have to teach for a little while longer as we make some financial adjustments (which may include YET ANOTHER MOVE–we can really only afford our home with both my income and my husband’s), but I am counting down the days. In my heart I’m thinking two more semesters… just through 2018. This gives us time to plan but most importantly time to pray.
But I do think my minivan dream will stay. And that surprises me to no end.