Thursday, November 7, 2013

"As Good As It Gets"

The activities of the last few weeks have been unbearably busy.  I have been feeling so uncomfortable with the pace of my life.  More often than not, I felt completely overwhelmed and all I could do was practice deep breathing over and over again.  Yet, I am a stay at home mom and this implies that I should have time to spare.  I think this in my own head, and others' have verbalized the same sentiments to me.  I need to change those awful thoughts in my own head that I am not enough and need to do more to in order to validate myself as a person.

Currently I am volunteering as:  a Girl Scout leader with weekly meetings for one daughter.  This takes more time than I had anticipated.  I'm also a member of children's council at church.  The girls' school semester thus far has been daunting,  I show up for all of my children's events including chapel skits, parent teacher conferences, class parties, field trips, student of the week activities, picking up from play rehearsal, pep squad practice, dance rehearsal, attend middle school football games and then the basic routine of homework, tests, and projects for a now fifth grade Middle Schooler and a Second grader whom both now have more academic responsibility.   And keeping up with medical needs such as speech therapy, eye exams, flu shots and now one needs an OT evaluation for help with her writing. And both of my daughters had fall birthdays...don't get me started on birthday party preparations or when animal control showed up twenty minutes before my eldest's birthday party to take our newest rescue dog to the slammer for nipping a girl on the leg.

This doesn't include all of the emails from teachers, coaches, theater directors and others to keep track of all of these activities, either.  And then the balance of regular life:  laundry, shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, etc...  finances, house upkeep, etc, etc.

There isn't much time for bon bons.

Or Carolyn.

The last few years,  I finally said yes to very thoughtfully chosen activities for myself and for my children.  And this school semester, it has been draining. A few weeks in to the semester I thought, there is no groove here.  I can't get my bearings.   In my journey of healing which overwhelmingly fulfills me, there has been no time to think or to write, which I'm beginning to understand is how I process life. And then the ultimate was that I forgot to attend a play with a friend that I had arranged.  This was the moment when I decided that my weekly Girl Scout meetings which I was planning and leading were too much and I switched them to every other week.  I was mortified that I forgot to show up for the play which I was so excited about but immediately knew that...



A mind cannot handle constant input, and even better,  I don't want to do this to myself anymore!  My mind and body require rest and that includes during daytime hours, not just sleep.  I began forgetting not just events, but words in my vocabulary.  I crave silence and stillness and it renews me incredibly.  After a cathartic meltdown because I stopped long enough to process feelings that I had been too busy to entertain, I went to yoga today.  If was just a mediocre class but even that experience was FANTASTIC for my mind, body and soul.  I feel so calm as I finally have a day that I have no where I HAVE to be.  Now there is a multitude of tasks waiting but I have to take care of myself and it doesn't matter what other people think and that includes some in my own household.  My downtime is honoring myself.  It is also teaching my daughter's how to take care of themselves whether they understand it now or not.

I spoke to a few other moms about the pace of this semester and they were in whole hearted agreement with me, and they were relieved someone else was saying it out loud.  And then I thought,  why do we do this to ourselves?  Yet my kids really are not in that many activities.  The play WAS a big concentrated effort for a period of weeks, was wonderful and now it's over!  Starting a Girl Scout troop, well that is big.  I didn't know just how big.   Now I see the relief in my children as we have been able to come home after school and just have down time... and do homework and projects...

With the holidays coming, and even more jam packed scheduling, I thought, oh my, this is as good as it's going to get this semester, this madness. So, I am going to remember to reset my deep breathing reminder app on my phone and thoughtfully consider each activity and check on each member of the family as to how they are doing, including myself.  I have to say no if necessary.  It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing.  A stressed and numbed out mom cannot function nor adequately be present for myself or my family and that is what is most important to me.

Namaste.  This picture says it all.

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