At loose ends

Having some time on my own is wonderful.  I’ve already stopped calling it “free time” because it’s been very busy time, mostly full of very exciting things like folding laundry and sweeping the floor.  I actually am having trouble figuring out how to fit all of the things I want to do with this time into the time that I have.  My to-do list is longer than the hours I have available.  Eventually, I’ll figure out what is important enough to get my attention and what will need to be put off (but it’s a little overwhelming while I figure it out, because everything feels like IT MUST GET DONE).

Oddly, though, I am feeling overwhelmed and aimless at the same time.  While I have a ton of stuff to do, some exciting, some mundane, some essential, there’s also an odd sensation of drifting.  I have lots to do, but I’m totally on my own while I do it.  Instead of weaving every moment of my day around the whims, tantrums and snack schedules of two little people, I’m independent.  That’s liberating, but also lacking in definition and direction.

While it’s nice having time to myself, it’s also lonely, and it feels a little . . . useless, maybe?  After being “on” as a mom every minute, and filling my time with menial but important tasks like folding laundry and changing diapers, running errands at the mall or sitting down for a solitary coffee feels pleasant (in that there’s less poop involved) but a little . . . superfluous.  It’s a strange sensation.  I’m not working, I’m not taking care of the kids, I’m not devoting every minute to the household . . . so what AM I doing?

So, I think I’m starting to get it.  I think this is what I’ve heard other expat “trailing spouses” talk about.  There is some sadness, a slight loneliness, a vague panic of being on my own.  It’s not being “alone” — after 5 years of almost never having solitude, I find the alone part of it very peaceful.  It’s a kind of pressure, an expectation.  Now that I actually have time to myself, what am I going to make of it?  What am I going to do?  I have no excuses for not squeezing every bit out of being here now … but what does that even mean?

So, I’m a little overwhelmed.  On the one hand, I don’t want to spend every minute that the kids are in school folding laundry and going to the grocery store.  On the other hand, I want to feel useful.  This is a whole new world for me.  I think it’s going to take a while to sort it all out.

1 thought on “At loose ends

  1. My name is Cornelia and I am the CEO and editor-in-chief of Talk to me About Austria. is a website that I founded with my fellow Austrian roommate (I was born and grew up in Vienna but am now living in California) while studying in South Korea in May of this year when we realized that not many people know about how awesome Austria is and that we just simply have to spread the word in a fun, hip and creative way. Our initial idea has now turned into a full-blown start up company for us, my family and the rest of our team ;).

    Now, why am I telling you this? I stumbled upon your blog by accident while I was looking for cool things to do in Austria and interesting information/tips/tricks about this beautiful country.
    Our proposal to you is simply to collaborate. We wanted to invite you to become a distributing writer for TTMAA. Now, as we are a start up we wont be able to pay you for the first few months, however if your posts get great traffic, if you have fun doing this, then we are totally willing to pay you for each post once we generate revenue ;).

    We have now about 2.000 followers and growing! This would also be a great chance for you to get more exposure also to your own site as we would feature you as one of our contributing writers on our ‘MEET OUR TEAM’ page with a link to your blog/website!

    We are especially interested to get stories from your own unique and individual experience as an expat.

    If you are interested, just shoot me a reply and we can start talking ;)! We are pretty much also looking for someone who can write 1 short(er) article a week with taking their own pictures or (what we would love to see even more as we just started our youtube channel is a video of you, of you interviewing Austrians for smth specific, etc. we are flexible when it comes to your imagination and/or what you feel comfortable doing).

    I look forward to hearing from you! Have a great weekend!

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