I have too much free time.
This has been a problem since I graduated from college. Luke was about three months old then, and I was eager to do what I'd always planned on doing - devote the bulk of my time to parenting, while any remaining time could be spent on the solitary activities I loved. Reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles, music. I like solitary activities. And that hasn't changed. But it is possible, shockingly, to get too much of a good thing.
Even with a baby, I wasn't as busy as I thought I'd be, because we had to live with my parents for a year while my husband applied to grad schools. I was extremely grateful to my parents for letting us stay with them, but it was rough for all of us. I felt like I'd moved backwards in terms of adult behavior. I had no household of my own. I went from full-time classes to almost no scheduled stuff at all. I have self-disicpline when someone else is setting the deadlines and responsibilities, but it turns out that when it's all up to me, I become very lazy.
Well, then we moved to Massachusetts for grad school, got our own place again, and then I was pregnant with Emma. It got better, with a house of my own to tend to and two children and so on, but in spite of what I'd heard every other mother say, I still had more free time then than I did at any other point in my life (other than, I assume, those few years before I started kindergarten that I don't remember). When Luke started school, there was even more free time. Ryan was born, things were busier, but they all grew and became more independent, and now, in September, they will all be at school all day long.
What in the world am I going to do with myself? And how can I complain about it when everyone else in the world is insanely busy and hates me for complaining about the opposite problem? I've been there; I've been so busy I could barely take a breath, and thought longingly of having just a single day without a packed schedule. My past self would probably hate me too. But here I am.
I do love having ample time for reading, writing, puzzles, music - you can add yarnwork to the list now that I've learned to knit and crochet. I have tons of ideas for writing lately, particularly since I've gotten into a new fandom and churned out buckets of fanfic. I have a novel that, with some revision, might be ready to send out queries for. But even I, an extreme introvert, can only fill so much of the day with solitary activities.
There are the necessities - dishes, laundry, cleaning - that I'll do when I have to but never gleefully. I don't look forward to having everyone else out of the house so I can go and tackle that pile of clutter. Oh, sure, there's enough clutter that I could probably spend several straight days on clearing it out. That sounds perfectly horrifying. I can spend maybe an hour, at most, on cleaning before wanting to flee.
A job? Yech. My pitiful qualifications would limit me to standing behind a cash register. I did that for about a year, and it was sucking the life out of me. Yes, I need to get out of the house and interact with people. Even I recognize that, much as I'm inclined toward the hermit lifestyle. But is there any way to have mild, comfortable interaction without tremendous effort on my part? No one is going to come to my door to randomly befriend me. I have to reach out to people. That's terrifying. No one is going to reach out to me because they don't know I need it, but an irrational part of me says it's because they don't want to interact with me.
Oh, and most other people are busy during the day with, you know, jobs and parenting and important things.
I don't want to be a complete ingrate. I feel very, very fortunate that our financial circumstances aren't so dire that we need a dual income, and that my husband supports my desire to be at home for our kids. I'm very happy to have kids and be a mother. I love our house even if I don't keep it pristine and tidy and full of cutesy crafty decorations. Overall, I'm glad I have the life I'm living. It's just.... you know.
Ideal scenario? I get a literary agent, start getting publishing deals, and suddenly my hobby becomes my career. Then I'll go on book signings and such, which would provide social interaction in just the sort of venue I'd appreciate. Until then, I'm going to be squirming here at home, somewhere in between fear of the outside world and boredom with the inward.