More than what’s on the dotted line

It’s been too long since my last post; how time flies when you’re having fun!!

I have not been inactive for lack of ideas, time at the computer, or desire to write. I’ve had plenty of ideas, and even though teething has hit our home hard, and convenient naps have been few and far between, I have been finding myself reading, re-reading, and typing away at my laptop. I’ve been working on a project!

I was humbled to be asked to professionally proofread a dear friend’s masters thesis. For as long as I can remember I have been known affectionately (I hope) as “Mrs. Corrector-Head”. Naturally, I said yes and for four weeks I read, re-read, and corrected the grammar and spelling of a piece of research in which I felt the heart and soul of its creator emanating from. My friend writes as he speaks, and so after spending four weeks mulling over this work, I felt we had engaged in long conversations, late into the night as we once had when we regularly spent time together. An enriching time, a rewarding time, to fill a need outside of my home; to use my brain and my gift for academic writing to help a friend and contribute to the presentation of a marvellous piece of research.

But I would be dishonest if I failed to describe the relief on finishing, the breath of calm that lingered over my heart when I sent the proofread draft with its accurate referencing and academic language back to its home.

Over the last few months, I have had to fill in many forms. Most forms ask for ‘Occupation’. The last few months have seen my status in society changed multiple times;

Community Radio Host (employed)
On Maternity Leave (employed)
Unemployed
Freelance Proofreader (employed kind of)
Unemployed

As I came off maternity leave, I decided, in discussion with my workplace, that it would be best for myself and my family that I did not return to my previous role. As for a future role, we would leave that up to circumstances in the future. I stopped writing ‘Radio Host’ on the line when we decided I wouldn’t be returning after my leave, and I wondered what do I write? I started to write a dash. Unemployed didn’t seem adequate, Stay at Home Mum didn’t resonate with me, and what about my side gig doing kind of random jobs when people ask? There’s so much weight put into our employment status, how much money we do or don’t make, what rung of the corporate ladder we’ve reached…and I never expected to be here, on indefinite maternity leave, with no real idea of what I want to do except be here for my family.

It’s a shock to my system that’s for sure.

Less than a week after the birth of my son, I was being asked when I would be returning to work. Friends, family, colleagues, all wanting to know. All with expectations that I would be returning, soon. Less than two months into my child’s life I was confronted with “I bet you’re going crazy at home.”

I get it; it’s as much a shock to everyone around me as it is to me. It’s equally as shocking that I’m happy with this choice. I’m happy with the image of who I am and what I do everyday. I’m not thrilled with the words “stay at home mum” but I’m working through that baggage I’ve picked up along my journey to motherhood.

What kills me is the question; so what do you do? Until this point, I’ve been able to point at the baby usually attached to me and say “maternity leave” and everyone is satisfied when I go on to explain what I do for work when I’m not on maternity leave. Now I find myself fumbling…I point at the baby, then proceed to fill in the blanks…I used to be on radio, I worked in a research lab for a while, I have science and theology degrees, and for the last few weeks, I’ve been doing some proofreading work from home.

That dotted line next to ‘Occupation’, that polite, get-to-know-you leading question…is a little more complex when you’re an in-betweener.

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2 thoughts on “More than what’s on the dotted line

  1. I get it Elf, when I got sober back in 1994, I made the decision to attempt to live my life on spiritual principles. In respect to Christians I don’t call myself a Christian, but I am definitely not anti-christian. I spoke with a minister who explained some stuff to me like “repent” means to turn around and live life the opposite to how I used to. This meant for me that I needed to swap selfishness for selflessness. (or at least attempt to). As far as work was concerned: and in lots of other areas, “be still and know God” means that I can ask to be shown, but I need to stop pushing agendas. When I have done this, the results have been remarkable, to say the least! It has led me to be a careworker/group facilitator in a rehab, an interstate truck driver, cafe owner, coffee kart operator owner, garden supply merchant, and toilet builder. I didn’t plan any of this, it was literally put in my lap. I have also ridden my pushbike around Australia, become a ride Marshall for South Australia premier cycling association, gained my coxswain certificate, earned cert. 3 and 4 fitness/personnel Trainer, been fortunate to be used in many alcoholics and addicts turning their life around, burying my darling daughter with love and free of resentment, and still having a loving marriage of 45+ years with my forever sweetheart. I was told I could only pray (with words) for 2 minutes because that was all my ability to be humble and honest could take, but I could pray with actions for as long as I could take it. Selfless actions for no reward. I could never plan or organize the life that I have enjoyed by being still and knowing God.
    I am so certain that your future is brilliant, unexpected, challenging, marvellous and busy.
    What I’m trying to say is that if anyone asks you what you are doing now, do what I do: just say, “I’m waiting to find out”
    Love ya Elf, cherry pit spittin’ champion of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

    Like

    1. Wow, Bull there’s so much in this comment
      Thank you for sharing so candidly!
      “Be still and know God”, is such a calming thought, until it’s weaponised. I’m glad you’ve been able to find peace in it, and clearly have led a rich other-oriented life.
      I also appreciate what you have shared about prayer. I struggle to pray with words, and always have, but to pray with actions that seek the divine in others and connect that to our own, is so powerful. Thank you for submitting yourself to that calling and emitting your being into the world.
      “I’m waiting to find out…” and finding comfort and fulfilment in the waiting. What a world, what a life.
      Thank you
      (I hold my cherry pit spittin’ as one of the greatest success stories of my life so far ;))

      Like

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