Lean In. I am so happy this dialogue is taking place. That said, I have not read the book, and I’m not going to. I don’t want to. If I am going to take the brain power and time to read a book, I would like it to have nothing, AT ALL, to do with my life and how to do it, or for that matter, any of the heart crushing aspects of our world.
No gender/parenting/wife-ing books, no clinical or psychological books, no tension-laden dramas about the difficulties of life, cancer, ethnic cleansing, inner city violence, exploitation of children, or family dynamics. No no no! (**I did read the Hunger Games trilogy, which I loved. Yep.)
I know I am doing a good enough job, and I don’t need to read more books to tell me how to do that differently. I just laughed out loud. This might be a messy post. I have spent a lot of idle mind chatter on this topic. I’m not going to clean it up. Mostly because I should be doing something else right now.
Because I am doing a good enough job, and I am continuing to grow as a person, I am accepting that I’m human – and this means sometimes I actually suck. Sometimes I swear in front of my children. I don’t always read to them at bedtime. Often, I say no and put them straight into their bed/crib and rush through the bedtime routine and then go lay on the floor in the living room and swear quietly. Why? – because it’s time to rest.
Once in a while I yell. In fact, I once yelled, “I should not be yelling right now!” Sometimes, if I catch myself, I laugh, or I go outside. One time, I slapped the wall a few times until I felt like a big idiot. My children stared at me, then burst into tears. It sucked. I learned.
I have taught my children that this all means “I’m mad, I’m overwhelmed, I’m not handling this moment well” and that they can be mad too, and they won’t handle everything well. They have learned they can even sort of laugh when I am doing this, because otherwise it is scary. I’ve scared them – and there is nothing worse than looking at both of your children bursting into tears because you are mad about something stupid. But, just the other day, I blurted out in a frustrated moment, “J Christ!” after which Riley looked at me coyly with her “big mommy face” and said, “Mom, I do not think that I am Jesus Christ.” We are making it.
We’ve learned together that I have a temper. I have to handle that, and sometimes it is bigger than my hands. They know it is still OK. It has nothing to do with them. I am a spicy mom. I am a funny mom. Sometimes I am a tired mom.
I am growing up just as they are. I am figuring out how to be softer, how to pause. They are figuring out I love them so much, even when I’m reacting to something. I turn away, and I send that garbage away from them. It’s old, volcanic debris I used to hold in.
I didn’t exercise for 4 or 5 years. I call these the “wtf happened” years. During most of that time, I didn’t really drink much water. I held my breath a lot. I hibernated, and worked too much, and wished I was home with my kids. Then, when I was home with my kids, I did work. I was really good at my work. At home, I was tighter, and more rigid than is necessary. I was holding on, to something.
This summer, I started to set my alarm for 5:30 or 5:40 or 6:00 am. I drag myself out of bed and reorient to what planet I am on. Then, I ask myself – every single day – what do I need to do this morning so I can enjoy my life? Then, I do yoga, or I get on the elliptical machine, or I walk around the neighborhood, or I sit quietly and find absolutely no answer. Most days, I exercise – not because of willpower. (**I am not really sure what that is, anyway. I suspect it’s a story we shame or pride ourselves with, and nothing more.)
I do it because I was losing myself, one little grain of sand at a time, and I was crawling into little holes like Facebook and Pinterest and I wasn’t happy or writing or painting or exercising or drinking water or petting my dog or looking at the sky. There were too many mad days. I was eating handfuls of chocolate chips, and hiding inside of myself. I was being a good mom, and a good clinician, and mostly a good friend, but when I wasn’t wearing those hats, I was nonexistent.
I don’t know what changed. I know a few things happened that were sort of shocking, and maybe collectively those made me uncomfortable. The only thing I know for sure, with every cell of my body, is that if I don’t get up early, I can’t find myself before others wake up, and that is a bad thing. And I really like teen lit.