My most recent read is Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten Year Nap–a novel about a group of friends, connected both by their sons’ attendance at a New York City private school and by their own decisions to give up their careers upon having children.Wolitzer explores the women’s pasts as she delves into their feelings about their current lives and their hopes for the future.
What struck me most about the novel was how similar in tone it was to Ellen Tien’s article in last month’s O Magazine, “Divorce Dreams.” Like Tien, who admits to being in a “mid-wife” crisis in her marriage, these women seem to be in some sort of “mid-mother” crisis. And no one seems all that happy about where they’ve found themselves, either in real life or in fiction.
I found The Ten Year Nap difficult to relate to–wanted to tell the characters, “Enough already! If you don’t like how things are, change them.” Evidently, though, many people didn’t see it that way. Check out this link for other bloggers’ thoughts.
Reading everyone else’s comments about how they related to the novel made me wonder if I’m a little weird in this regard–now, those of you who know me quit asking, “Only in this regard?” But, just as I said in regard to my marriage when I wrote about my reaction to “Divorce Dreams,” I’m happy with where I am on the motherhood front.
In fact, I’m enjoying this time with my kids even more than I did during their younger years. Sure, teens and preteens are high-maintenance in their own unique ways, but I love the conversations we’re able to have now. Love that I can talk books with them. Love times like tonight when I taught Dancer Girl to make one of her favorites–Tortellini Carbonara–all by herself. Love the glimpses of their future selves that come much more frequently these days.
And I really don’t mean to come across as all “oh, my life is perfect,” or anything. Things get crazy around here. I get frazzled. I yell at the kids. But, I’ve come to grips with my own decision fourteen years ago not to leave my job. I struggled for a while with that, but now I feel comfortable with my decision. It’s a good place to be, one that I hope every mother, regardless of her own decision to work or not to work, finds for herself.