Cats, Fear, and Mom Guilt

I relate to cats.  My first best friend was a calico cat named Patches.
Then came Snowball, Munchkin, Patches 1, 2, and 3. The love of my life Kimba, my little therapist Angel, the middle child Tigger, my cross-eyed love bug Morey, snarky little Chelsea, and my sweet therapy cat Baby Bless you.

I had a zoo. I could have become the little old lady in the shoe with a million cats. The lies I told my mother so she would allow me to have one more cat. Like, how a box of six-week-old kittens followed me home from summer school.

Cats are chill. Cats give off an attitude like: “Dude, I got this!”
Even when a cat is scared, you can’t be sure of what they’ll do next.  A Cat can be your best friend, and your worst nightmare.

But cats teach us about life.
Cats feel the fear, and do it anyway.
If they’re scared, it lasts a minute, then they leap into whatever they’re afraid of.

I loved cats, we understood each other.
As a teen, I became a bit mouthy, and wanted to get out and explore. My mother would say: “Curiosity killed the cat!” And I would respond with: “But satisfaction brought her back!”

There was a time in my life when I wasn’t afraid of anything. Like a cat, I would leap into what scared me, but now, especially this weekend, I want to stay in bed, and hide under the covers.

Here’s a little back story.

I was a stay-at-home Mom. I took care of my kids, and I think I’ve taken pretty good care of my husband too. I took pride in being a full-time mom, and I didn’t want to be anything else.

But amazing things happen when you raise kids. They do exactly what you taught them. They grow up, live their lives, find someone to love, have their own kids, and as proud as you are, you have now been fired from the one job you valued, the one job you were used to.

As their lives change, yours will too, and to be transparent, I was left with a gaping hole in my heart.

Not because I missed them, and wanted them home, but because I gave everything to them, and in the process I lost me. I felt uneducated, stupid, useless, unnecessary, and began to get depressed.

I don’t regret staying home, I regret that when they were old enough to care for themselves, I didn’t go back to school,  I didn’t start writing,  I didn’t build a business,  I didn’t,  I didn’t, I didn’t________. They needed me I said, until they didn’t.

I wasn’t always like this. I was the girl who would never stay-at-home.  I would never rely on a man for financial support. If a man didn’t support my career, I walked.

Then I fell in love, and when my son was a baby, I went back to work, and ended up in the emergency room.  They called it a reaction to sugar, I called it a panic attack. I didn’t want to leave my son.

So hubby went to work, and I stayed home.  It was hard, we struggled financially, but when they came home from school, I was there, and I was proud of that. I was proud of how we bonded as a family, even with every move, every health crises, every challenge. I was proud that even with no family around, no babysitters, no time for mom & dad date nights, we grew closer.

Holiday meals weren’t special, but they were special to us. I made a mean Mac & Cheese, boiled hot dogs, or whatever I could burn in the oven. Sometimes I even caught the oven on fire! Now that was exciting!

We didn’t have much. We had cats, we had each other, and a boat load of love.

Now, as they make their way in this world, I couldn’t be more proud.
Could they have become the amazing people they are today if I worked?
I’m sure they could have, but I couldn’t have. I needed them, I needed to be home with them.

Recently hubby, and the kids shared how much it breaks their heart that I had nothing for me.  They prayed for me, they tried to support me, but they couldn’t gift me a passion. They couldn’t force me out the door, they just loved me through it.

So here I am, 51 years old and re-creating my life.

I’m in a writers group, and a writer’s guild, but sadly not as active as I’d like.
I just finished a plant-based cooking course. I’m was excited to graduate from this course. It gave me such joy. I felt talented in something I never thought I could be good at. I’m not setting ovens on fire anymore!

This course inspired me, so I kept going.
What can I do next?
Can I get a job one day?
Could have my own business?
Could I bring in a paycheck?
Suddenly the skies the limit, and the only thing holding me back was me!

So I signed up for a vegan baking course, then a plant-based professional cooking course,
and through this process, I fell in love with chocolate!

My heart started to swell, I started dreaming of the possibilities, and how I could make people happy. All I talked about was chocolate. So I signed up for an intensive course, and started training to be a professional chocolatier!

After I graduate from these courses, I will proudly be the kids mom, and hubby’s wife. But now, I will be a cook, a baker, a Chocolatier!

I should be really happy, and I am, but I’m terrified, because I’ve always done one thing well, and that was being Mom and wife.

I’m overwhelmed.

My courses take a ton of time, and my responsibilities at home are suffering.
I am not used to studying during the day, letting laundry go, having to set reminders to pay bills, do housework, and food shop. When my kids call, I’m not used to calling them back because I’m busy, or talking to them while walking through a grocery store. I have tried to give them my undivided time, whenever they needed me. I wasn’t perfect, but I tried hard thats for sure.

I knew my job as a Mom/wife. I knew what was expected from me, what I wanted to give them, how, and when to do it all. I messed up, but they still loved me.

This is a new world for me.
School?
What the hell am I doing?
I could fail these courses, and then what?
I feel like I am way behind the eight ball, and I have to call a 30-something Mom to help me figure all this out. I have no clue how to manage it all, and I’m not even raising kids anymore!

I’m only 51 people!
I didn’t raise them in the dark ages.
Yes, we worked like dogs, but staying home was a choice, albeit a hard choice financially. I couldn’t afford a babysitter even If I had gone back to work.

Yet, there are those Moms that drive kids back, and forth to every sport / activity imaginable, scheduling their days on calendars, working full or part time, homeschooling, being Mom and sometimes Dad too, and they still find time to get out and have a social life. They seem to have it all under control!

Did I miss the memo?
When did Moms become super Moms?
Is there a Super Mom Intensive course I missed because I should get on that.

So  as I sip a nice, hot, cup of fear, topped with a dollop of wife guilt, and sprinkled with a light coating of Mom guilt, I want to go back to bed, and hide under the covers!

But I can’t.
Because Patches taught me to be fearless.
Snowball taught me to seek adventure.
Munchkin taught me life is too short.
Kimba taught me to have a quiet confidence.
Angel taught me there is a God, and he listens.
Baby Bless you taught me to be brave.

I can’t, because I’m curious.
I want to know what I am capable of.
I want to know what I am meant to be.
God has written my story, and I want to see how it ends.

Be Still and know,
Kath

3 thoughts on “Cats, Fear, and Mom Guilt

  1. Robin

    I just found you on twitter and I can not wait to read your journey! I am 53 and the last one is a sophomore in high school . I too have health issues but I am unable to work. Due to 9 moves I didn’t finish my degree. Now my marriage will end when my son graduates and I have no clue what will happen. But God is good and I will be ok! ❤
    Excited for you to be a chocolatier!! That is great! So thankful I found your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, I remember you from twitter! Life is a journey that’s for sure. No clue where this recreating me process will finally take me but I’m excited to be moving forward finally. Thank you the support and good luck with all your life changes. God is most definitely good but some days we need him more than others. Thank You!

      Like

  2. Pearl Allard

    Wow, yes. I’m not an empty-nester, but I still identify with the fear of continuing the adventure Jesus has for us. Thank God we don’t journey alone! Thanks for being real, Kathleen.

    Like

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