Finding myself in the Middle East

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gotta be me, just gotta be me

Outdoorsman has been coming home for the last few days sweaty, tired, aching, covered in a layer of fine white dust, and happier than I've seen him for a long time. He got a contracting job, he's making money and working with his hands at something that he is really good at. He's learning better as a result, because his head is clearer (though slightly sweatier and dustier) and he is Hunter-Provider. Hear him roar.

I'm so happy that he is happy, and really, the money thing will be good, too. Okay, it will be great. Until they come out with a diaper and yogurt tree, we kind of need it.

So what's the problem, you ask? I'll tell you.

Did I mention that I work at the bottom-most rung of Ramat Eshkol society? I am a babysitter. I babysit babies and change their poopy diapers and let them spit up on my carpet and drool on my toys and pass on various bugs and diseases to my kids, my husband, and I while their mommies go off and do Very Important Things.

Outdoorsman never wanted me to work. He wants to Provide while I be a full-time SAHM. Change my own babies' poopy diapers and let them spit up on my carpet and drool on the toys--but they would be pooping my babies' poop and spit up my babies' spit up and drooling on their own toys, so it's different, you see. Plus, I might actually have more energy for the endless book reading marathons and the more-than-occasional tantrum and the startling questions--

(Princess-"Ima, if there are boy birds and girl birds, how can the birds know if they are a boy or a girl?"
Me--"erm...maybe it's written on the bottom?"

So. Bear all the canclulations in mind. My work is not exactly glorious. It also takes its toll on my mothering and energy levels. My husband wants nothing more than for me to be free to be the best mother and wife that I can be. A+B=C. Or something mathematical like that.

So why, when Outdoorsman triumphantly informs me that I do not have to work next year, that it's finally going to all work out, why do I just feel a sense of loss? How can my sense of self possibly be wrapped up in this?

I think that maybe it has to do with the 36-hour day that we women are supposed to have. The day where it's the best thing in the world to be home with the kids that you, after all, brought into this world, but have you no self-respect, woman? What are you, a baby and diaper machine? So hence, the 36-hour day. Viola! You stay home with your kids, and have a full-time career at the same time! It takes on new dimensions in a kollel community, where working in order for your husband to learn is held so sacred. The ice-coffee-beat women, those black-clad pouty-lipped dependantly wealthy girls are held (by me as well, I must admit) in distain.

I guess I'm afraid that I will become A Lady In Black.

No, that's a lie. I'm not afraid of becoming one of them. It goes very much against my nature, and besides, the last time that I was a size 2, I was officially admitted to a rehab for anorexia. My twenty extra pounds and I are bound for rehab no longer. No, what I am afraid of is even more embarrassing.

I am afraid that people will think that I am one of them.

I will find myself explaining. (I'm looking for work, I don't know how it got this way, on second thought I'll put back the oranges, they are so expensive, you know how it is, and so do I because I'm also not a free-loader.)

I am 27 years old. I have two kids. I have been married for 5 years. (Reverse the order of those last two, on second thought.) How long will what they might think control what I do?

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