Many of my mom friends and I found ourselves with kids in school full time for the first time this fall.
Trigger massive identity crises.
Compound with the old trope that a woman turns forty and becomes invisible.
It's true. I'm 41. When I walk around the hood with Julian and/or Lila the Dog, dozens of neighbors say hello, stop to chat.
If I leave the house solo, I might as well be wearing some king of magic invisibility cloak. I can slip past the very same neighbors, totally under the radar.
Once in a while someone will actually do a double take, and say, "Oh! It's you. I didn't recognize you without your entourage."
Female friends of similar age report near identical experiences.
Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, it's not so bad. But usually it's demoralizing.
Some of my friends experienced a back-to-school season panic along the lines of: "Oh my God, I need to get back into the career I ignored for ten years." MUCH easier said than done.
Others wander around looking shell-shocked by the sudden block of unstructured time during daylight hours, and throw themselves into charities and cooking and re-decorating their homes.
A couple of women I know were smart enough to see the problem coming, and nimble enough to react. They had so called "luxury babies," infants they never originally planned on, but decided they wanted as their little ones grew past preschool age.
There's a plus side of full time kindergarten for me: more time to write, which I'm putting to good use.
And still. I can't help lying awake at night and thinking BIG midlife crisis type thoughts.
Should I have another baby (if that ship hasn't sailed)?
I know I should have contemplated a second kid sooner, but I've spent five years with some version of medically induced PTSD from the hellacious pregnancy and aftermath that produced the Grape.
And honestly, until right before he turned five, I was content. One happy, healthy child is more than many people have, and I am grateful every day. Maybe he was my one good egg. Maybe the fact that I almost died should give me pause (it does).
Or should I get new boobs? Nothing crazy. Tasteful C's.
Or is the fact that I'm contemplating the new baby versus new boobs question in the same breath an indication that what I really should do is have a glass of wine, book a nice beach holiday somewhere, and get a grip?
Do I get points for self awareness? I mean, at least I recognize a midlife crisis when I have one. That should count for something.
Oh, yeah. Happy Halloween, all!