Living, Maternal Health Month

Unintentional Hiatus


My month-long series on maternal mental health ran up to the end on a high-note. It organically happened that I took Sundays off (which happened last year, too, I believe) and I missed one Monday. But the second to the last day of the month led into a multi-day outdoor assault – my own family’s feet on the rocky outcroppings of a letter-boxing trail and my husband and I splitting wood like the lesser versions of Paul Bunyan that we are – keeping me away from blogging for much longer than I anticipated.

Shouldn’t have been a big deal, missing that last day of the month, right? Wouldn’t have been – save my anal-retentive perfectionist tendencies and overbearing need to summarize. I couldn’t post any inane essay on my pre-series schedule before concluding the series. And life was ratcheting up, not allowing me to sit and form any cohesive set of thoughts.

My youngest’s preschool program finished for the year, also ending those blessed two and three-quarter hours of writing time twice a week. Some of it had also become crush tortilla chips while surfing the web after writing time, but it was alone time nonetheless.

image from Peggy Lampman

image from Peggy Lampman

Perhaps the biggest challenge to my settled psyche, however, is the change in schedule itself. I can hear the words of my wise LICSW repeating in my head, telling me the beginnings and endings of school years are transitional times for everyone in the household. I still try to tell myself it’s no big deal, but apparently it is. Yes, we’ll all be liberated from hectic mornings and rigid schedules, but we’ll all have to get used to spending all day everyday with each other. None of us will have freedom from each other. No alone time. No individual activities. No uninterrupted playtime with friends – be it other children or corn chips.

Then it started raining. I half-heartedly set myself to chipping away at the piles of laundry and dishes that had accumulated whilst we frolicked with sharpened woodland tools outside. And I went and read this amazing – in its content, expression, and ability to scare the bejeezus out of me – article about motherhood that messed with my already fragile state of juju (which may, in fact, become the starting point for the summary posthumous post of my series).

So I’m here. In some state of transition. But aren’t we all. God damn walking the tightrope/balancing life again. Isn’t there just some set state of equilibrium I can have installed in my inner ear?



3 thoughts on “Unintentional Hiatus

  1. When my three children were all in school, because of the age gap between them I had one in high, middle and elementary for a while. Then the eldest left for college and and years went on. Once I reached the point where my daughter left full time education I couldn’t understand what I was struggling with. After all, didn’t I have all that lovely free time with no school calendar to keep to? Yet I felt lost. It felt strange when the school year carried on without my children and I realised then that I actually liked the structure as annoying as it could be sometimes. The year wasn’t broken up by school holidays and events. Suddenly there was nothing except what we planned for ourselves. Having my daughter home all the time, and still is, because of her struggles with Asperger’s and social anxiety, I have reached the stage where all my friends are independent, kids up and left and grown and working. I sometimes wish I could go back to those school years when I felt safe and balanced. I feel less so these days and sometimes I’m not sure what to do with it. LIke you Jennifer, I long for some kind of equilibrium and I wonder if, as mothers, we ever really do find it. Sorry for the downer…just wanted to share…


    • Jennifer Butler Basile says:

      Not a downer, Sherri, just the truth. Motherhood forever alters the course and nature of our lives – for good and bad. I think, too, in life, we never realize that we liked what we had until we’re on to something different. I hope you find what you like while you’re in it – along with some sort of equilibrium. xo


      • Thanks Jennifer…had a tough week…you know how it goes…but it is the truth indeed. I don’t think we ever stop trying to find our equilibrium as mothers. On those rare occasions when it happens, we need to take them for all they’re worth!
        Have a great weekend and a wonderful summer with your girls…I’ll think of you in Maine, eating Maine lobster… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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