Things to Do - Stuck


Years ago, when we were in our young twenties (so so many years ago now), one of my best friends came up with her own theory for life - don't get stuck. She noted that some people become stuck after high school because they find it hard to grasp that nobody cares how popular you might have been in a former life. Others get stuck after college, Reality Bites style, insisting they will never work for "the man," while smoking pot all day and reading philosophy. (Not that anything is wrong with rejecting "the man" - you just need an alternative trajectory.)

According to Allison, if life has a goal, than that goal surely must be to enjoy where you're at while you're there and then to move on - don't let yourself become the forty year old hanging out in a twenty-something bar thinking you look hot dancing to Dynamite.

I have to say, I still find this a pretty profound insight from a 23 year old.

Anyways, throughout the last fifteen years I've tried to follow Allison's advice. I embraced my twenties for all their drunken randomness - I traveled as much as I could, I drank Jagermeister shots, I went to law school, etc. Then I moved on. For the last seven years, babies and toddlers have completely consumed my life. And while I enjoyed their cute little coos and their non-stop cuddliness, I did not find this period of life very "sticky." I'm too impatient for babies, there's so much uncertainty - who will they be? when will they talk? what will they have to say? And regarding the terrible twos, I found them absolutely exhausting - from one completely unpredictable tantrum to the next.

So now here I am with a 3, 6, and 7 year old. T spends our afternoons putting out imaginary fires and capturing bad guys. And throughout the last few months I've wondered how my fussy, disagreeable baby has suddenly become the most adorable little boy to have ever walked the planet. While T creates imaginary worlds, F and P work on homework, art projects, or sometimes help me cook dinner - as the sky outside gradually fades to black, all three kids continually tell me details of their days. And I'm loving it. I love that my kids are all still young enough for playgrounds and old enough for museums. I love that all three of them still run up and hug me when I pick them up from school. I love all their never-ending questions about everything from fire poles to poverty. And I love that I now have mornings to myself, that I go to Bikram Yoga 3 times a week, that I (gasp) grocery shop BY MYSELF.

In other words, despite all my efforts, I fear that I have become stuck. Because I'm not ready to move on from here, I'm not ready for tweens and for all three kids to attend grade school. I'm not ready for dating and proms and the words "my mom doesn't understand anything" - which really means I'm not ready for them to grow up or maybe I'm not ready for me to grow old. Or maybe I just need someone to tell me that it keeps getting better. Anyone? Anyone?



  1. I'm farther behind than you, I'm still stuck in my 20's not wanting to face the real world yet.

    Talking from my mom's side though, both parents have both shown examples of pushing forward at every stage of life. Throughout my years growing up, mom went back to get her education. She eventually graduated with a bachelors and went off to get a paralegal certificate.

    My step-father continued trying to keep up with modern events. He gives music, hobbies and activities that teens value a shot so that he could relate to his kids. Now he has a wonderfully open personality that has learned to talk to anyone at any age.

    Maybe moving on isn't about adjusting to the traditional parental role (being lost in the generations of your youth and not trying to understand the newer generation). Maybe it's about adjusting to grow with them so they don't feel a chasm in the relationship. Maybe then they'll still run to you to give you a hug when they're suffering from severe teenagitis.

    And I'm 25, single with no children, so what do I know? I just know that I related to my step-father and hope to emulate his example one day.


  2. Your post really struck a chord with me.

    I'm nearly 23. I've graduated from college and paid off all my student-related debts. I'm childless and unmarried, but I've been in a wonderful relationship for the past five years. I work with children and moms-to-be all day. The pregnancy hormones are flying this way and that. It's hard not to avoid the pregnancy talk around here.

    I envy that moms have a constantly evolving world, from daycare to work to home and back again. I envy that they're able to spoil their children with love and surprises. I envy that they're probably not spending eleven hours a day at work every day.

    Lately, I've been thinking that my life has gone so slowly since graduating college. I'm working in my field, doing what I intended to do with my degree. I try to imagine my life five years from now compared to five years back. Five years ago, I was a seventeen year old finishing up high school, ready to start thinking about college.

    Do I feel stuck? No, because I know my world will be changing within the next month. We're moving to a new place, and we're going to begin a life together under one roof (as opposed to two).

  3. I rarely respond to comments on this blog, not for any bad will, just usually i don't know what else to say. but both of your comments were so wonderfully written and so encouraging that i wish i knew you well enough to call you up for a beer sometime. so thank you!!

  4. Hi Darcy- I guess you still have at least 2 years until the quite troubling years of puberty will hit your family... I remember my younger sisters in this age- one passed everything quite okay, the other one was terrible-TERRIBLE!.. as for me I guess I was somewhere in the middle. I guess you will have to go with the flow... and if you did not get stuck until now you probably won't get stuck in the next step either... I wish you all the best :o)



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