Two weeks ago, I had one of those weeks. On Monday morning, I lost my car keys so severely that I went as far to put our trash bags in my vehicle to see if my keyless start would work. I had to call a dear family friend to take the kids to daycare, while I searched and make up the lost time from work after bedtime. Tuesday morning brought with it an $85 ticket for not seeing someone in the crosswalk, ten minutes after daycare drop-off. (For the record, I was not on my phone when this happened.) My husband was traveling for work during all of these debacles and I just felt completely alone. For all intents and purposes, I felt like I was simply going through the motions of every day life… not really executing the whole “live life to the fullest” idea.
If I’m being completely honest, I feel like I have one of those weeks more than I like to admit. I know these small trials are nothing compared to the big stuff others go through on a daily basis. I have a beautiful family, a roof over our heads, and food to sustain us. At my core, I know this is all I need. However, I am constantly seeking more. This concept of more is the root of the problem, isn’t it? Why isn’t it less? Why do we push ourselves to take on another project at work? Add another activity to our kids’ plates? Tackle another project around the house? There is always something else that needs to be done.
I miss the days when I don’t know that the laundry is waiting on me upstairs or that I need to pack the lunches before I fall asleep on the couch with my work computer in my lap. I miss the conversations I’d have with faraway friends on weeknights. I am often too tired to form coherent sentences by the time my children are in bed. I frankly want to smack the person who came up with the phrase “you’ll sleep when you’re dead”… because quite frankly, I feel like a zombie 5 days out of 7. If I’m being entirely honest, it is often 7 out of 7. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating the truth.
I frankly want to smack the person who came up with the phrase “you’ll sleep when you’re dead”… because quite frankly, I feel like a zombie 5 days out of 7. If I’m being entirely honest, it is often 7 out of 7. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating the truth.
Here’s the deal: I know I’m creating a great deal of this crazy on my own. Working outside of the home is a choice I make willingly for our family. I love my children fiercely, but working — especially when we live states away from our families — allows me to maintain a small shred of sanity. (We have an incredible daycare, for which I am eternally grateful.) It allows me to have some meaningful interactions with adults during my workday and squeeze in a few errands on either direction. When I arrive at daycare pickup, I am excited and ready for my time with my little ones. On the flip side — if I wasn’t working — would there be fewer things on my plate? Would I be ever-so-slightly less busy or would I fill my plate up with other things? My guess would be the latter.
In spin class that same week, my astute instructor called out “You’re the only one telling yourself you can’t!” No word of a lie: I teared up in class, while forging through a tough climb. She is so right — except I took it another way. My problem is that I never tell myself “I can’t”. I inevitably say “I can”. The truth is that I can’t do it all — because if I try to do it all, I can’t do it all well. This is something my reformed perfectionist self still struggles with on a daily basis.
The truth is that I can’t do it all — because if I try to do it all, I can’t do it all well.
I always strive for an A+ and have never been strong at “settling” for a B. I’d rather have a few As than all Bs and Cs. I’ll take the analogy even further here. I can’t take as many ‘electives’ as I want (think work projects, development courses, etc.) and still maintain great scores in my ‘core classes’ (think my marriage, my children, and our home). Read: I need to focus on what matters — raising a healthy, happy family with my husband and keeping that roof over our heads — above all else. This includes taking care of myself, be it with a spin class or a coffee with a friend, so I’m fully engaged when I am with my little ones.
My keys eventually appeared in that laundry bin which was waiting on me upstairs. (Oh, the irony!) I paid the ticket — because I legitimately didn’t see the man in the crosswalk. Life moved on. The world kept spinning. I’m sure I’ll have another one of those weeks again soon, but I will trudge forward — like I always do. I will continue to remind myself there is no shame in “I can’t”. I know the day will come when I will sleep in… it just isn’t today. Give me a few years.