Friday, November 20, 2009

Moms and Friends on the Tennis Court

My last child went to all-day kindergarten in 2005. I’d spent ten years taking care of children around the clock. At least one of my girls was always with me; mostly while running errands or doing kiddie activities.

As we drove in and out of our neighborhood, my eyes glanced over to the tennis courts. Women were dressed in their little skirts and visors, swinging rackets and having fun.

“Who were these women?”

“Where were their kids?”

While I wanted to be with my kids, I was a little envious.

Now, I’m one of these women. I’ve been taking tennis lessons for a year, but today I played in my first tennis tournament, a charitable event organized by my tennis teacher. She called it, “Tennis for Turkeys.”

As I prepared to go, I thought about the day being Friday, a weekday, and how most people are going to their jobs. It was a strange feeling, “People are going to work and I’m off to play tennis.”

Some of those people love their jobs, but many don’t. Others are spending the day seeking employment. I wonder what they think when they see people on the tennis courts, biking, etc., as I once thought - wondering how they had the time and “took” the time. (Can you tell I’m from a working class family? :) )

I have this thought sometimes, because people tell me how “lucky” I am.

I don’t feel “lucky.” The path to the tennis court has been long and hard. I feel blessed because I “can” take time for leisure – a necessity for my sanity.

Like everyone, I have my good days; I have my not-so-good days. I have periods of stress and periods of smooth sailing. Today is a good day.

I encourage everyone to do your best, whatever it is – work hard, play hard!

Are you doing the WORK and PLAY of your choice?
Share a thought and leave a comment; and read the comments of others, too. (Click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the post.)
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Menopausal New Mom said...

I like to think that the "work" of being a stay-at-home mom is my choice. I worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years, in the office and on the road. Was a single and independent gal, bought my own house blah, blah, blah. Now I depend on my hubby to pay all the bills, pay me a salary so I have spending money and take care of the vehicles and yard work.

I like this life. I have already had the career, I have nothing to prove and I can relax about being a mom who is totally dependent on her husband.

Thought provoking post today. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I agree with Menopausal New Mom. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to afford to continue to stay unemployed. With the economy being what it is, I have no other choice but to get out there and try to find a job.

I am very happy for those that don't have to or have and now have the opportunity to enjoy their hard work.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

I can totally relate to your post. I worked on and off out side the home when my kids were little so I've been on both sides of the fence. The difference is that I never took care of myself until that I am in menopause early according to the doctor who said too much stress in my younger years probably contributed) All my children have lives of their own now and so finally I take time out for me. But it took a lot even after the girls all left to go out and do something totally for ME-not sure why....sometimes I feel guilty about going to the spa or getting a massage....but I found that I'm a better person because I take care of myself. I'm a better granny and mother and much better wife. Only my 2 cents.... :)

Jen said...

Women who work feel guilty for not being at home with the kids, women who stay at home feel guilty for not earning money...personally I think there's too much competition for the few jobs that are available right now and if you don't have to work there is no shame in letting someone who needs the money have the job. Enjoy yourself.

Tabor said...

This will always be a mental battle for women. We are torn in both directions. I think fathers regret not being home, but not as much. I am now retired and feel guilty for not getting out and volunteering more...but eventually I will fix that.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Not always, unfortunately and fortunately. I am a mother after all.

Anita said...

MENONEWMOM-DEB, You sound very comfortable being who you are. I am too. Like you, I worked professionally for 15 years as a computer programmer, bought the house, car, etc. too, and I haven't missed it since. Thanks for starting this conversation!

CHOCOLATE, when you do find that job, I really hope it will be something that allows your personality and creativity to stand out!

NAKAMURAS, Isn't it a good feeling to pamper yourself with girly stuff, sports, the outdoors, etc. Most of us have to "go through stuff" to learn what our needs are.
And...your comment is worth more than 2's priceless. :)

JEN, I've touched a little on "the Mommy Wars" when I was younger, but I am way over that now. It's too much value in bonding with women that are walking a different path than my own.
Regarding a job, that was a good point you made. I don't want to be employed now, because I am enjoying my flexibility, so it is good to let others that want to be employed have that chance.

TABOR, the volunteering thing (which I will blog about some day) has been an issue for me, but not now. I had a project last year, but decided to let it go this year. So guilt. :)

EILEEN, I'm guessing that you are comfortable with your decisions... very good.



forever lost said...

Beautifully said. I was so "blessed" to stay home with my children until 6 years ago. We did without a lot so we could be so "blessed". Now working and only one child at home for 2 more years. It feels very strange at first, but now I have learned to use some of my time making plans with the adult children and doing special things with my husband...
Life is good today for me as well!

Anita said...

BOOTS, sometimes it's hard to express thoughts in writing, but it seems that you got it. :)
I wish you many more good days!



Menopausal New Mom said...

Hi Anita, hope you will swing by my blog today for the party. I have an award for you!

gayle said...

I envy you!! Both my girls are grown and living lives of their own. I stayed at home with them until the youngest was in 2nd grade. Wish I had never gone back to work. I am the happiest when I am at home. Pretty soon it will be time for me to retire..I hope!
If you love what you do ...never go back to working outside the home!!

Unknown said...

Hi there,

I'm stopping by from Menopausal New Mom's blog---heard about you and wanted to say hi! I'm your newest follower.


Midlife Mom said...

After working for 22 years I retired 'early' in my late 40's. I have never regretted it a bit. I do quite a bit of volunteer work but also have time to putter around my house, spend time with my grand kids and travel with my husband. Life is good! I'm very blessed.

Anita said...

ERIN, looking forward to "hearing" your thoughts.

GAYLE, thank you for your sincere comment. I understand your feeling about "home." Hang in there until your retirement. :)
I'll get over to your blog soon.

MIDLIFE MOM, I can sense your peace when I visit your blog. I smile when people tell me "life is good" for them. I wish you continued blessings. :)

Unknown said...

I'm back and wanted to echo what Jen said. We don't need any income I'd make (which wouldn't be much, anyway, probably not enough to even cover the cost of childcare), and I've been a stay at home mom since Day 1. I often feel guilty for being at home, but I don't even think I'd be qualified for much of anything. Mommy brain!

Anita said...

ERIN, Sounds like you're where you want to be right now. I am too, although income will probably be in my future.

I hope my post didn't give the wrong impression. I do not feel guilty for not having to work for income. Mainly, I feel compassion for those that would rather be doing something else, like taking their kids to Story Time or out playing tennis in the morning.
I wondered how they feel, and how others feel too, about whatever their "work" obligation is.

Ps. "Mommy brains" change. There will come a time when the school bus rolls off, and you don't think about them much until it comes back. :)
Continue to enjoy this season - I will too. Thanks for adding another point of view.

Joanne said...

I so agree with you on the "luck" issue. So often we're quick to label people as lucky without really looking at what experiences, choices and work brought them to their "lucky" place in life. Kudos to you for working to be in the place you're at today!

Anita said...

JOANNE, thank you. :)


Morgan said...

I have to get breaks away for my sanity too!

There are some women that do stay home, but their children are either:
a. at preschool or school
b. with a nanny
c. they don't have any children

Maybe some of the women you are seeing fall into that category.

However, in the area I live in, I've noticed quite a few guys (and ladies) that are out riding bikes or running after 3pm in the afternoons and on Fridays. I think it has a lot to do with their work hours. Some of the big-name jobs around us have their employees off by early afternoon and even give them fridays off. Sounds nice, huh?

yonca said...

If i don't have a money problem i wouldn't worry about working or career. I would enjoy raising my kid maybe kids. Also will enjoy my hobbies. Of course right now i do enjoy being with my son. But money is tight. There are always worries.
I like you said that 'I have my good days, i have my not so good days' yep, just like that:)
btw, have you got a dryer yet? Maybe this post might be helpful.

Iva Messy said...

...enjoy the court ;)

Cindy said...

I'm still trying to make my "play" my "work" that generates more income.

RANdom said...

As as guy (am I the only male who has commented on this thread?) I think raising children is THE most important job a person, male or female, can have. You've raised two children and now it's time for you to enjoy your retirement. Good luck in the tourny!

Anita said...

MORGAN, Sounds like we live in similar neighborhoods.
I was being facetious when I wondered about "where their kids are" years ago when mine were strapped to me. :)

YONCA, you may have money issues and worries, but your blog shows you as a very positive and cheerful person. :)
Thanks for the dryer info. I looked at the link. We shop tomorrow!

IVA, yes I do enjoy the court! :)
Gotta get over to visit your blog.

CINDY, Isn't that the ultimate - to do something that seems more like play than work, and to make money doing it! I totally understand. :)

RANDOM, Thanks for the male input! :) It's good for women to know that men value child rearing as much as we do.
And yes, I am enjoying the retirement from corporate America. :) I appreciate the sentiment.
Hearing from you gives me motivation to seek some male readers. Gotta work on that. :)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Welcome to my blog! You might find my blog a bit geriatric but never mind eh! Don't feel guilty about anything. As long as you're putting something back into life in your own way thats great. See you.

Anonymous said...

When you love what you do, work and play are one and the same. That goes for stay-at-home moms too.

I have a huge amount of respect for you moms who have to remember to get three kids off to three different schools at three different times (each with the right school bag and lunch), then pick them up from three different schools at three different times and take them to three different after school activities, and then pick them all up from those activities at three different times, and somehow manage to do all that without ever once leaving one of them standing by the curb wondering where mom is.

That would all be a huge disaster if I had to do it. Huge. Heck, I consider it a good day if I remember where I work and what time I have to be there.

Btw, I found you through "Grumpy Old Ken"s blog. I like your writing.

Anita said...

KEN, good to hear from you!
You said a LOT in a samll statement. I will enjoy your "geriatric" blog and comments. :)
Come back soon.

JEFF, thanks for the smile, the laugh, and the compliment!
Your appreciation for your wife is for all of us. :)


Hilary said...

We had our work from hone business and every opportunity for both of us to be with our kids when they were little. I've never regretted a moment of that. It allowed us both to have the best of both worlds.

Anita said...

HILARY, Mom AND Dad being available throughout the day...I'm sure that scenario had its benefits. :)
You always have wonderful memories of raising your kids. When mine are away at college or have left, I hope I will be able to look back with the fondest of memories, too.


Menopausal New Mom said...

Hi Anita, I would use Mary, the gal who did mine. She has a button on my page, press it for info. She's fantastic and can translate anything you want into a neat cartoon of yourself!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

It's great that you've come to this place in life, where you can play some just as you want to.

You're so right though, we do question how others manage to do it. We get envious. Sad, and wrong, but true.

Abby said...

It is WORK being a stay-at-home mom! Best job I ever had, though.

Now that my kids are all in school, it's hard for me to just self indulge. I love bicycling, but mainly bike to run errands.

I enjoy my current teaching job, but mainly took it because it's so flexible and part-time. I was a working girl before the kids and don't see that as conducive to the family.

Husband and I used to play tennis all the time too, BC! (before childrens...)

Anita said...

EILEEN, I thought I'd better get started with the "playing."
I'm 51. :)

ABBY, I feel the same. It is WORK to be a stay-at-home mom, and I have no regrets either.
Funny...the self-indulging is beginning to be work, too...scheduling, coordinating get-together times with friends, rushing to get somewhere, rushing to get back, buying necessary items, etc. But no way I'm giving it up!!! :)

Empty nest will be here before you know it, so I'm told. You and Husband can resume your tennnis. :)