On the eve of my 35th birthday I feel like I’m not who or where I want to be. Almost like a midlife crisis except I don’t want to go out and buy a fast car or get my boobs done. I think I would describe it more as an overwhelming sense of underachievement. I’m married, I have children, 2 houses, a job, even a dog. I’ve ticked every socially required box for a woman in her thirties. The anxiety that manifests when I think about where I am in my life is hard to ignore and I can’t help question why I feel like this?
I had my first child very young and to try and prove to the world I wasn’t an irresponsible tramp, I lost that spark. You know the one that makes you spontaneous, gives you that twinkle in your eye? I’ve dressed like an older women and hid myself from the world and tried to conform to a mould I invented. I didn’t want my kids or anyone else for that matter to see me as a fun or spontaneous. I saw this personality as irresponsible and unreliable. I wanted my kids and all those judgemental spectators to look at me and see stability, consistency and routine. My poor husband has been stuck with the boring wife. No drinks at social events, boring pyjamas and leaving events at reasonable hours to get the kids in bed lest I be judged by that invisible jury. I’m not saying that being fun only comes from drinking and sexy lingerie but the restrictions that I have placed on myself over the years are nothing short of ridiculous. What makes it all harder is I’m not sure if I’m navigating these waters alone or if other mum’s feel exactly the same way?
I’ve always had super high expectations of myself and would probably describe my personality Type as an A. Competitive, workaholic and impatient. I have often been described as the person who wants to run before they can crawl. I had an amazing job in my twenties. In my 30’s my job is boring and terribly unfulfilling. It gives me a great sense of pride and achievement to be able to financially contribute to my family. The problem is the financial contribution compared to my husband is miniscule. This is a point of discontent for me and if I think about it possibly one of the root causes of my sense of underachievement. I don’t see my husband as the only one who should provide for us and I want my contribution to be substantial. I feel by not doing so I’m letting him down and placing undue pressure on him to maintain a lifestyle that without him would cease to exist. I think I’ve looked at our relationship as a competition, one in which I am definitely in second place. He sees my contribution to family life as just as important as the financial contribution but it’s not good enough for me. I know there will be differing opinions on this and I’m not afraid to disclose mine. Being a mother just isn’t enough for me and I want my husband to see me as more than that. I worry it reduces my status in the relationship and I constantly feel like I’m not achieving enough and worse that I’ll never achieve what he has.
I know that as I embark on my 35th year of life I’m going to give it my all. I’m going to pursue what I’m passionate about. I’m going to take the metaphorical bull by the horns. Most importantly I’m going to have more fun! I’ll crank the music on a Sunday afternoon and dance in my underwear, let my hair down at social events every now and then and let the kids miss that 8:30pm bedtime deadline. A mid-thirties crisis may not be all bad. It opens your eyes and frees your soul. I’m not sure that I’m an underachiever, maybe I’ve achieved so much that I have run out of targets to hit? Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped creating targets that I feel like I’m underachieving?