“Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.” ~Simon & Garfunkel
I woke up this morning to feed the baby around 4. Once she was finished and feel back to sleep I was awake for awhile. I was literally itching to run. I was calculating if I should or shouldn’t throw my running shoes on for a 4 am walk/shuffle around the block. That way I would have tons of time to do other stuff during the day. I know I shouldn’t be running. I know I should be taking it easy so I can fully heal. And here I am, making bargains in my head at 4 am about how to manage everything I wanted to accomplish on my ever growing mental list.
I didn’t think I’d get to this place. I thought I was going to do everything differently. Right now I’m having a tough time. Normally it’s quite hard for me to admit that. I don’t like others to see my weaknesses and I usually feel that if you don’t admit to them, they don’t exist. But here I am admitting this for the whole world (or the 15 people who read my blog) to see. I am having a tough time.
Surprisingly enough, I’m not having a tough time with the whole “parenting three kids” thing. Once you have two VERY active boys, adding a third child, especially a calm, almost always sleeping baby into the mix really doesn’t change much. I’ve found with a little finagling I can balance most of what everyone needs, though maybe not what they all “want”. Sure, I have a husband at home who is helping and the two oldest are in school at least part time. But for the most part we are prattling along just as we always did, maybe just a little more tired than we were before.
What I’m having a tough time with is stepping back and simply taking time. For the first time, I actually have time. Time to sit back and relax. Time to heal. Time to think. Time to simply enjoy the smaller and larger things in life. And what am I doing with this time instead? Planning. Making lists. Checking my work e-mail. Replying to other emails. Organizing and cleaning. Mentally and physically exhausting myself because I seem to think EVERYTHING needs to be done TODAY. I feel like if I do it today, I won’t need to think about it tomorrow. I’ll have time to relax tomorrow. I’ll have time to give more individualized attention tomorrow. But you know what happens? A new task or plan pops up for tomorrow and I am right back to square one, thinking that I’ll always have tomorrow to play catch up on the more important things.
Part of it is that I have no idea what to do with free time. It’s not that I never have it. Having “grandparents” who love my kids and take them all the time gives me loads of free time. But that free time is usually marred by the guilt I feel. Guilt about having a slightly messy household. Guilt about maybe not having my lesson plans done months in advance or having some new game or activity created for my students. Guilt about not spending every minute of the day involved with my kids. Guilt thinking that I should always be doing “more” than I currently am, whether that be at home, work, or among friends and family.
I seem to live by my guilt. And I’m pretty sure if I don’t do something about it I’m going to die by it as well. I’ve got to learn to slow down. I’ve got to learn how to enjoy the smaller things. I’ve got to learn to let go…especially of the overly high expectations I have of myself. Maternity leave, while it’s just begun, will be over before I know it and I don’t want to look back and regret not spending more time with the kids, or relaxing, or just being. I don’t want to look back and realize that the work e-mails could have waited. The laundry could have waited an hour before putting it away. Who cares that there are 3 dirty dishes in the sink if it means I spent a little more quality time with the people in my family, or even just some quality time with myself.
I need to breathe, heal, and relax. I need to take this time to work ON me FOR my family.
And right now, I need to shut this laptop and go play a video game with my 4 year old who is patiently waiting for some extra time with his mom.