Dried bits of rice from dinner two nights ago and curled clementine peels from this morning litter the floor and the kitchen table where I sit to write. One baby is in bed, another watches Dora, and the oldest baby is at his Tante’s house, due home for lunch. This morning I have made oatmeal, poured bowls of cereal and almond milk, and shuffled the dishes back to the sink. I have changed clothes, and diapers, and I’ve poked through poop to confirm that a little glass bead swallowed days ago has made its exit. I’ve dressed children as dragons, been chased around the house, taken the costumes off. I’ve arbitrated toy disputes, disciplined little scratching fingers, been kicked hard in the back as I sat on the floor, working a wooden puzzle. I’ve made a pot of lentil mushroom soup. I’ve eaten soft bread, piece after piece folded mindlessly into my mouth while I stand at the kitchen counter and stare at my phone, reading U.S. Election coverage.
Outside, it snows.
Internally, I wrestle with the looming decision to put Aedan in kindergarten. With feeling like a failure because I don’t wish to spend all of my days with my kids. I know that’s not true; I admire the women for whom childrearing is ultimate fulfilment, but I have to come to terms with the fact that it’s not for me. I need others to step in and take the wheel.
I think of Hillary Rodham Clinton, also a mother, and the fact that she is very likely to become the next president of the United States, and how that bears on my little life in this snow globe town. I’m no politician, I’m no HRC, but I watch the flakes coming down, Dora on in the background, and watch my sleeping daughter on the baby monitor and I wonder what I could be, given space and time. And although they drain me, exhaust me, frustrate me, these three new humans I’ve brought into my life and this world have made me take a hard look at who I am and where I’m going. Where I could go. For that I am grateful. It’s still surprising to me that they’ve shown me I don’t want to be a full-time mom. I still feel like I should want that.
Women like Hillary, women like those that fill my life, women like myself, have to find our unique path in this world. Once we discover our truth and our purpose, we owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to live it fully, no matter how difficult, how uncomfortable, how challenging it might be. That includes everything from the challenge of being a full-time, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom to that of running for president of a country and everything in between.