Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The "Dirty Thirty"

Well, I was recently informed by my twenty-six year old brother, Brendan (who is much cooler, hipper and more with-it than I am), that not only am I entering my thirties next week, but I will be celebrating my "dirty thirty." What does this mean? I have no idea what this means. I take my lack of knowledge in this area as an indication of how far away my life is from a typical thirty-year-old's.

So, how do I feel about entering my thirties?

Well, at thirty years old, I have been a wife for eight years. At thirty years old, I am a mother of three. Sometimes I can't believe it myself. And yet, at about the age of ten, this is exactly what I pictured for my life. And I do feel so blessed to be able to say that. 

But lately I have found myself a little self-conscious about the domesticity of my lifestyle, especially when certain people visit our home--something that I feel paints such a vivid picture of who I am. Meeting someone for the first time in our house can feel a little too personal, as if they are forming their first impression of me by reading my thoughts.

First of all, our house looks and feels very lived in. Which makes sense, because we live in it. But this is no Pottery Barn catalog picture here. It's not that it's dirty really. I feel like I keep a reasonably clean house. Or at least I'm comfortable with it. But the last time someone new was going to come to our house, I scanned our rooms with different eyes. The baby swing in the corner. The dozens of cookbooks on the shelf. The eighty or so library books piled in the living room. The small fingerprints on the windows. The coffeepot with brown splashes covering its white surface, because it is wiped down too seldom and greatly depended on every single morning.The wine rack holding a couple of half drunk bottles. The stone cross hung on the wall with palms fixed behind it.

Furthermore, I feel that our home gives great indication of our financial position, something I may not always be comfortable sharing with all who enter. But there's the deck that needs to be replaced. The hardwood floors that need to be refinished. The dated, single-pane, aluminum windows. The trim that needs to be repainted. The driveway that needs to be repaved. The missing baseboards that need to be replaced. The lawn that needs to be re-landscaped. We slowly pick away at the projects our house presents to us, all of which require extra money and extra time, two rarities in our home.

Am I embarrassed of these things? Not really. In fact, in the depth of my heart, I am proud of them. The baby swing represents the new life that is growing here. The cookbooks, my love of cooking. The library books, our choice to homeschool. The fingerprints, my curious two sons. The dirty coffeepot, my life as a stay-at-home mom in which I believe there are more important things than just cleaning. The wine bottles, time with friends. The cross, my relationship with Jesus.

Even the undone projects can be a source of pride if I think about them the right way. They are an indication that we are living within our means, that we are making mature and wise choices with our money and that in the past year and a half, we have not put one single transaction on a credit card, but rather, cut our credit card debt nearly in half.

But although in my heart I am sincerely proud and feel truly blessed, at times I feel self conscious of the way my life may look from the outside. I fear that it may appear that I am a brainless woman with no ambition except to fold laundry and have babies. I also sometimes fear that I will always be somewhat of an oddity with people my own age, because I began building my family so young in life. And even at thirty, the desire to belong is definitely present.

So, again, how do I feel about entering my thirties? Honestly, I feel great. My life is just what I dreamed it would be and I cannot believe how lucky I am that I can say that with great honesty. My only reservations about my age come into being when I consider what everyone else may think about my life. And what good does that ever get anyone?

I will be spending my birthday with my loving husband, my three children and other family while on a week long camping trip at Sun Lakes. I have recently decided that I am a Yes Mom, something which I may write about soon.

So, yes, I am taking a four-month-old baby camping. Yes, I am a stay-at-home, Catholic, homeschooling, middle class mom.

And yes to entering my thirties :)

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