This week has been one of those weeks where I’m not quite on top of things due to kids being home sick … but I have to admit, it’s also one of those times I’m really, really grateful for what “we” do – as thanks to Kevin’s current profession, I get the privilege of being a full time mum.
This means when kids wake up with a fever in the morning, my only stress (other than making sure they’re ok) is possibly swapping out a classroom volunteer day & wishing I’d hit the gym at 6am instead of missing out all together. I feel incredibly grateful that Kevin & I aren’t arguing over whose turn it is to take a day off, that I’m not racing into school to provide relief work for my students (I was a high school teacher once upon a time) with sick child in tow or figuring out how to achieve what I need to depending on how many days my kid will be off school.
This state of affairs is to me at least – a privilege. What I have come to realize slowly is that I value being present & home with my kids more than I value what we could gain out of my extra income if I worked.
It took me a long time to reach this conclusion as I truly missed my workplace for years (seriously – years) after having children.
So for those who do work I fully appreciate that while there may be need, there is also more often than not, great joy in the workplace – qualities gained that I will never enjoy being at home full time.
That is not to say any of us have the perfect fit with work & home life, but we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have.
In my situation of full time parenting however, I also know that – being totally honest with you – I have very low coping mechanisms. I do not have the capacity to work & parent & am in constant awe of those who do. And I do not say that lightly. Prone to anxiety, I don’t do very well juggling too many balls at once. For us, the status quo works – having me home to keep things ticking over smoothly is something that goes with the territory of Cup work – long hours, little flexibility & frequent moving.
It also – for the time being – goes with the territory that is simply who I am. For a long time, I had “the grass is greener” attitude – feeling like an underachiever because I didn’t have the corporate position to use in discussions – I only had potty training bribes to offer; feeling almost ashamed that I couldn’t share the latest stats on the the market & that as a result, we couldn’t take the annual Hawaii trip & weekly Tahoe missions like so many around us here in the Bay Area.
This area we live can warp your perspective slightly – it can create expectations in life that can, I suspect create a sense is jealousy & discontent over lack of “things” & lack of “holidays”. It’s not what I’ve encountered in many, but it is present & such dissatisfaction over such privilege is something I still find confronting.
As time has gone on here in the States, I’ve remembered a number of things – one being that my values do not revolve around some of the things others value – I’m not arrogant enough to pretend I wouldn’t lap up such a lifestyle were it truly an option, but I am by no means unhappy nor wanting in any way. I feel satisfied in life & truly, truly blessed & grateful. How did I get this lucky?
However – what I’ve noticed of late though is that my ability to enjoy the “now” can waiver according to the future & it all boils down the the ending of another Cup campaign. I began this blog to partly chronicle our life in the America’s Cup community & thus far have not actually done much about that!
For the past two years, since we moved to the Bay Area for the next Cup, normal life has prevailed: we’ve become part of the community, made friends, joined sports teams, volunteered at school…. & Kevin has come & gone to work as in any other job. This year however, summer 2013 is the Cup itself & great change is potentially on the horizon. And while I boast about our gypsy life & how much I love it (& I do love it for the most part) – my natural tendency toward anxiety will hang heavy in the coming months as we wait for events to play out which will dictate the coming two or more years of our lives.
The winner of the Cup has the right (within edicts of the Cup Rules) to choose where & when the next race will be held. Thus, should Kevin be hired for the next Cup by either Oracle or another team, that location will likely be home at some stage in the coming years.Some teams however only relocate for the final months or final year, not for the entire campaign. Thus there may be a return to a lot of potential commuting ahead.
In other words, we have no idea where or when we will be living anywhere after the Cup as it all comes down to who wins on that final day.
As New Zealand is “home” (I think?) & we are not US residents, we must leave the US … do we ship our stuff to NZ, wrench kids from school & friends, begin new school, make new friends only to pull them out again for the next location in 6 months to a year? We can’t stay here so that is the only plan I guess…. Unemployment between Cups is always daunting – …..but we wish to continue what we’re doing & Kevin has worked hard to get to this point so we are committed.
In terms of life’s problems, this is hardly a hardship. We are not dealing with anything life-threatening.
However, despite this, the unknowns still manage to cause me great distraction & anxiety. Mostly as I worry about kids & their lives. I feel emotional about moving & leaving important relationships. I am longing for a permanent place of our own but feel suffocated thinking of settling down in one place.
How to wrap my mind around the ever-changing nature of this lifestyle I have decided is to be able to take either option & make it work. We cannot plan in concrete beyond October yet we need a plan for our family regardless of whether we end up implementing it or not.
This is Cup life.
While many will be out there this summer, on the Bay, swilling champagne & debating design features of each team; talking over the skills of sailors & glamming it up at the Louis Vuitton Ball. Most of us, those of us on the non-leisure spectator side, will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of races to decide on our fate: on future income; kids schools; home location; outside jobs & more.
We watch to support the endless hours our husbands have put into this boat & this race. It stops being a job & starts being a life when you relocate. We watch to see what the future holds for us. We watch to support what has become our family over the past many years – no matter what team you’re with, we all share Cup life & community together.
For some the America’s Cup is entertaining sport. And for some it is simply our life.