It seems when the youngest started school people became awfully interested in her life. People that couldn't have cared less how she passed her time at home with small people in tow suddenly want to know. But do they really? Do they really want to know why she's still at home? What she does all day?
Do they care of the ongoing marital disputes that stem from his unfounded belief that she would always want to remain at home, feeding, clothing, sustaining. Sorting out every thankless, mundane detail of the household; removing stains, organising birthdays, filling in school forms, cleaning the toilet, cutting the hair from the vacuum cleaner roll bar.
Do they know she's devoted over a decade of her life to being at home with her children. Stifling personal ambitions and desires, in favour of sticky floors in village hall playgroups, snotty noses and nursery rhymes so their children would be with someone who loved them. Enabling him to put his head down, work hard and progress in his career.
Maybe now the smallest small has started school, she's reflecting on the how the straw she pulled now seems a little shorter than she'd first thought. He is deemed successful, the effort of the years are paying off financially and esteemed status is his. Her current earning potential could likely be eclipsed by a teenager. The gentle ageing of salt and pepper hair leads people to call him distinguished, a silver fox. Her body is worn by the years of childbearing - the crepey skin that wrinkles slightly across her abdomen, the sad sacks that hang on her chest where her adored breasts proudly sat, wilting reminders of how amazing her body once was. No noble or courteous term for the body that remains. Only relentless criticism from society, shaming her for her imperfections, hastening her into action.
This is not what she'd wanted to become. She is redundant. The sacrifices she made for all those years mean, in the eyes of strangers, she does not hold much value. What does she do all day?
Maybe her soul recoils as he asks every morning 'what are your plans today?' as she looks towards the void of the upcoming hours, struggling with the unintended imbalance of their union that makes her feel the need to detail and justify her every activity. Maybe she doesn't speak to a single person for the duration of her day as she completes chores that no one will ever notice. Maybe the loneliness she encountered as a stay at home mama is magnified to an unbearable extent as she is now truly alone.
Maybe by 10am she has already eaten half a packet of digestives, each smothered with a slick of nutella as she tries to eat her feelings of dissatisfaction away. Maybe she is out running, just to be away from the home that holds so many memories. Maybe she is perusing the sidebar of shame with a can of diet coke. Maybe for the first time in a long time, she's getting to the hygienist or the gym without asking for favours. Maybe she is earnestly looking at jobs online, trying to figure out if she could make it work with the kids and the house and the dog - and if she even has a snowball's chance in hell of getting an interview. Maybe she's at home, getting all those jobs done that have been on the 'to do' list for years. Maybe she is taking classes, going back to school to learn and grow. Maybe she is struggling with her place in life, knowing that really, she has it good, she has her family and her health, and that others aren't so fortunate. Maybe it's all relative.
Maybe she is loving just being herself for the first time in years, maybe she no longer knows who 'she' is. Maybe this is a state of flux.
Maybe she's wondering where people get off judging her, asking her what she does all day. Maybe you don't know her story.
Maybe, it is none of your business.