Monday, November 2, 2015

Centers of Attention

I have begun to notice that in ways far beyond "how was your day?" at dinner, my work has become a more central presence in my household than I remember it being before. While I have had a career for my whole adult life, it has often been just a piece of the puzzle, a place where I am during the day, a source of a few tales at supper time.

These last few years, alternating between looking for work and managing a schedule that requires transportation planning, daytime sleeping, and strict attention to stamina management, I sometimes feel as though I have made myself the center of attention. One could argue that I should enjoy being in that spot. After all, we moms spend all sorts of time focusing on our children--shouldn't we have some moments to focus, and have others focus, on us? Yet, it is a position that does not come naturally for me. I have a hard time sleeping in preparation for a night shift when there are homework assignments to help with, costumes and hairdos to advise on, games to play, and treats to make. I am self-conscious when too much conversation revolves around if and when I'll be working and the logistics surrounding that work or lack of work.

I suppose that in a family, the center of attention changes on a fairly regular basis. There will be days when a middle school social studies test is the most important thing, and days when a head cold grabs everyone's attention. There will be days when it's all about college applications, and days when, yes, it's about when Mommy's gonna take a nap. Unemployed or working, I won't always be the center of attention--there are far too many people and things to take on that role most days. And that's really okay. I'll get that nap when I need to, and still be around to focus on a whole bunch of other centers of attention. Because what kind of life would it be if we were always looking in the same direction?

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