Confession time, sort of. In order to get ready to do this whole blog thing, I pre-wrote a lot of the blogs you have been reading. I wanted to be sure I was able to post every week and also blogging was very therapeutic for me. They felt like they were just pouring out of me and I was in a great place emotionally, mentally and physically. It also allowed me to get them edited, which you will soon see I desperately need help with. “I got this,” I thought, “look how easy it is to write!”
Well, right now I am not in a great place. It feels like life has peaked for me in a sort of perfect storm. I am in the (hopefully) tail end of a home `remodel, trying to finalize my book, be an active blogger to support my book, volunteer at my kids’ school, volunteer at my church (we go to two), volunteer at a neighborhood school, juggle kids and their needs, be a pet owner, a hopefully semi-nice wife, a responsible home renter while we wait for our house to be ready and do self-care. I woke up one morning and it seemed like all those things suddenly needed me RIGHT NOW, and quite frankly I am struggling to get it all done.
Even as I write this I hear my Awfulizer telling me to suck it up, its not that bad. I am healthy, as are my family and friends. We are not struggling financially, any more than any other family. My marriage is doing great and my kids appear happy. There is no reason for me to feel stressed out. I have no justification to feel anything than happy, and in fact I SHOULD be doing a better job at everything I am doing.
Cause I am not doing a great job right now. I actually feel like I am letting everyone down, in fact as I write this my youngest is begging me to play with him so I am launching Beyblades between sentences in an attempt to get both done. My house is a mess, there is laundry (both clean and dirty) everywhere, I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner, my puppy is destroying something in the yard that I am ignoring, and I have a list of things I also need to be doing right now. On top of that I lost my eldest’s karate tournament papers, the socks I had to buy for my kids’ school project and I have been scattered brained and unfocused.
My knee-jerk response to all this goes in one of two directions. I swing between demanding more of myself and pushing myself to do more and more. Saying yes to more to try and make up for what I messed up, and then running around trying to fix/clean/organize all my messes. OR I go the exact opposite direction and I hide. Not in a positive self-healing kind of hiding where I take a yoga class or book an extra therapy session, but in a hide myself in my room with the white noise machine on taking excessive naps kind of way.
I know this is not the right way to handle this. There are better ways to handle it when all you feel like you are doing is treading water to survive. I am trying really hard to focus on them. So, true to form I formed a list.
The first thing I am trying to do is talk back to my Awfulizer.
He says- “You are being a bad mom, you should be playing with your kids. Making them organic gf muffins and gourmet veggie laden meals. You are failing.”
I say (or try to)- “Nope. This is a season. A month or two at most, and they are ok. My kids know I love them, and they love hot dogs. We are going to get through this. I am going to give a few extra kisses and hugs every day, and let them know it is a crazy time but it will pass.”
He says- “Your house is A MESS. You are a slob and everyone would be disgusted if they could see they way it looks right now. You are gross.”
I say- “Yep, it is a mess, but my friends and family don’t care. They understand life gets hectic sometimes and its easier to let the house go for a bit and let yourself focus on other things instead.”
He says- “You are not doing enough. Just being a mom is not enough. You need to do more, but you obviously can’t. That’s why you keep messing up.”
I say- “Listen- being a mom IS HARD and more than enough. I volunteer and do more because I like it and I like to help, I do not need to prove anything. Also, any help is better than no help and I am doing the best I can. That is more than enough, and I CAN do anything I set my mind to.”
We have a lot more conversations, but you get the gists. I am trying to stand up TO myself FOR myself more. Nothing will get better if I can’t start being kinder.
I am also trying to stay focus on one task at a time, and that includes self-care. I need to go to yoga 2-3xs a week or at least make time for a walk every day. This helps to center me and keeps my spirits up. When you are struggling, this is invaluable. It seems like the last thing I need to be focusing on, but you are my witness that I am reprioritizing it again. Everyone likes me more when I have time to ground myself and that includes me. It also helps my concentration and alleviates a lot of my feelings of being completely overwhelmed.
Finally, and this is the hardest one for me, but I am asking for more help. I believe that I need to do everything myself and that is wrong. I don’t. People actually WANT to help their spouses/friends/parents, we just have to ask for it or in my case accept it when it is offered. I need to let my husband do dinner when he offers, or let him take the kids to their activities. I am not less because he does it, he gets to be more because I do. I can ask my kids to clean their rooms and help put away the laundry, in truth they probably SHOULD be doing those things. They are old enough now to help out around the house and it will help them to have those skills. When people offer me outs in my various projects or offer to help I need to actually take them up on it. I do not need to be a martyr, no one wants me to be one and no one likes it when I act like one. So why do I do it?
So that is where I am, struggling but also fighting to struggle in the healthiest ways possible. We are not less in our hard times, whatever they look like. We just need to handle ourselves kindly and with the same compassion we would handle a friend we saw in the same situation. I know in a few months this will all be behind me, we will be back in our house, life will have settled down and I will be great again. I also know that I will have times where I feel this way again too, and I hope that when I do I will take what I have learned this time around and continue to grow in my health.