Awhile ago I had a very interesting conversation with my 84 year old Grandma… we were talking about raising little ones and how tough it can be. In about 2 seconds flat I caught Grammy and I having a little pissing contest about which generation has a harder road when it comes to raising kids….and well, when it came to the actual physical demands… she gets the gold prize – the olympic medal of housewifery – I mean – Can you imagine? Cloth diapers, outdoor toilets, washing laundry by hand. I conceded with Grandma that yes, it must have been exhausting but I was quick to assure her that she musn’t worry – us women have managed to put ourselves in an equally exhausting position when it comes to being women and mothers. Now we exhaust ourselves MENTALLY.
Now instead of cleaning cloth diapers we beat ourselves up mentally for not using cloth diapers and lay awake at night feeling guilty that we may or may not be effing up our children’s reproductive organs. Now instead of washing laundry by hand we agonize over laundry detergent choices, torture ourselves about how disorganized our laundry room and closets are, and judge ourselves mercilessly about every little nugget of our lives. The more things change the more they stay the same… 55 years ago a woman worked herself into states of exhaustion…hmmm… see any difference?
Here’s the kicker – it can be different – 55 years or more ago Grandma didn’t have many choices and now our choices are endless – and that’s what we torture ourselves with – whether or not we are making the right choice – and instead we just try to do it all.
That’s what my summer has been about. I started from scratch, from ground zero. I have simplified my life down to simply taking excellent care of my children, of myself, focusing on my marriage and healing our broken hearts. Now, I am going to slowly add whatever feels right.
So, how did this experiment work out? Some days – some days I can’t wipe the smile from my face at my dumb luck that with a little adjustment of priorities I CAN do this. YOU can do this. Other days I see what all of the rushing was about – for me – it was about avoiding the pain of Rowan’s diagnosis – and I’m having some rough patches here and there. Now, I focus on the rough patch. If I need to take a second, an hour, a day… I do – except now it’s not filled with sadness – it’s just filled with self-love and self-care. it’s filled with counting my blessings and baking cookies and stealing as many smooches as I can.
From time to time I have faced a few remarks about how people simply couldn’t afford to stop working as I have done… but sacrifices have been made… I drive a 1999 Grand Prix and haven’t had my hair professionally coloured in over 6 months!
I’m not saying that everyone MUST do this… but I do implore you to take a little stock and determine if in all the rushing around you’re kind of missing the point. If you are trying to make this big beautiful life for your FUTURE – make sure you don’t do it at the expense of your PRESENT. I have learned this summer that what you need will come to you if you let it – that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard – but you also have to show up for “right now” and open your heart to that.
So… Now I am returning to work and I am extremely excited about the opportunities I see here… I am so relieved that I can continue to stay at home with my kids… I am a little nervous, scared I will fall into old habits and go from zero to crazy. I am being mindful of that. More importantly, I am so excited about this next phase of our lives and the amazing things I know are going to happen!