How life changed after marriage
After marriage I became determined to fit in. As in, fit in with the institution by behaving in ways that kept my marriage happy, which is another way of saying in ways that kept my husband happy.
I’m not blaming him. He always had a clear idea of what marriage meant. Me, not so much. Maybe I should have thought about it some more before the ceremony.
Or maybe there wasn’t any point, since all marriages are different. But let’s just say I struggled. What bothered me was the unspoken expectation to behave like a good wife and then mother does, subservient to everyone else’s needs.
Again, I don’t blame him. He certainly never said I had to put my life on hold, and I’m pretty sure he never meant for it to happen. But after children, the division of labour became such that we ended up there anyway.
I didn’t want to send my kids to daycare, because I believed little children do better with their parents. I still believe that. I also wanted to homeschool them because my own experience with schooling wasn’t great and I wanted them to grow up learning things but still having time to play and be unstructured and free.
We lasted 12 years with the homeschooling. Then they all went to school, in good part to be like everyone else but also to be with everyone else. The appeal of a normal social life was hard to resist, and that’s a very natural and healthy thing to want. Off they went.
Problem is, after those 12 years - during which I kept working as much as I was able to, and maybe even a little more than that, as the permanent bags under my eyes can attest - I had sort of lost track of where I wanted to go with my life, at least the part of my life that lived outside the wife-mother universe. The jobs I had taken during those years worked well for the wife-mother, but not so much for me, the individual who used to have her own dreams and aspirations completely unrelated to marriage and motherhood.
I’m learning to find my way back to myself now. There is light at the end of that tunnel. But that’s the thing: Marriage, even though no one ever planned to have it do this to me, brought me there anyway.