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Strep throat hit my household once again. And after gathering towels and sheets, throwing them in the washer, dumping out the humidifier water, spraying the place with Lysol (I lost count of how many times), cleaning the kitchen, sweeping, getting snippy with an insurance agent, writing on the computer, nursing the baby…………………..
I paused for a moment to write this article. Because I had this crazy thought: what if I just stopped?
What would happen if I just ignored all that needed to be done for a couple of days? Besides caring for my children, of course.
But what if I stopped working, if I stopped cleaning, if I stopped the phone calls, if I stopped paying the bills, if I stopped it all — what would happen?
You see since becoming a mother, I’ve learned a lot about my personality.
For starters, I get super obsessed with goals. So much so that when I say I’m going to do something, I will do everything in my power to do it.
I’m like this intense bulldozer on a mission. This attribute can be useful sometimes, but it also has its drawbacks.
My obsession has helped and hindered me in all of my significant roles: athlete, writer, teacher, mother.
I have done a lot I’m proud of, but I tend to put too much on my plate and burn myself out. And I have issues saying no to exciting opportunities.
Translation: I frequently overextend myself, and eventually the kettle overflows.
Maybe you do the same. Maybe you don’t. I just know what I know.
Becoming a freelance writer while staying home with my sons has been one of the best decisions of my life. But it still comes with the possibility of burnout — to a lesser degree than before — but it’s still there.
Sicknesses wear on me, and today, I find myself having trouble taking a breath. So I think about what would happen if I just stopped? Then this thought ends up stressing me out even more.
I’m like this swirling hurricane of positive and negative emotions battling the winds. And as much as I try to pause, I find myself multitasking again as I dictate this article into my phone while sweeping up catnip.
And then my mind goes back to what if I didn’t sweep up this catnip? And why is this darn catnip on the floor anyway?
To — What if I just sat around and watched Netflix all day? I’ve been looking forward to watching the new season of Shameless. I haven’t started yet because a show about addiction isn’t exactly kid-friendly.
Then I remember that the boys will be waking up from their naps any second.
I always think there’s too much to do to stop anyway. And deep down I wouldn’t want just to stop. I can’t. Again, my intensity gets back into the wrestling ring.
And then I think about how crazy I am because I’m so fortunate, grateful, and supported. Overall, I’m happy. But I’m tired, and like anyone, I certainly could make a lot of improvements.
For starters, my closet is a mess. I hate that stupid closet!
And sometimes I lose it. It’s more of a rant when it happens and not directed at anyone, but it happens. The kids hear. I’m no saint.
And some days the TV is on too much. And sometimes I feed my kids Mac and Cheese (apparently Mac and Cheese powder is evil). And sometimes I don’t follow through on the timeout because I want to sit down for five seconds. And sometimes I drink way too much caffeine.
And sometimes I keep the regurgitated milk-stained shirt on. And sometimes I forget to feed the cat. And sometimes I drink from a plastic water bottle that’s been sitting in the car (I get thirsty).
And sometimes I break our routine too much, and sometimes I don’t break our routine enough, and sometimes I zone out my husband (I still love you, hun). And sometimes I use a toddler leash (that device has saved my runner from the road).
And sometimes I lay down with my kiddos to get them to sleep, and sometimes I skip our walk, and sometimes I work too much.
And sometimes I forget to mop, and sometimes I give in to a tantrum. And sometimes I forget to strap the baby into the bouncer, and sometimes I buy a Milky Way from the grocery store (delicious).
And sometimes I’m too happy, and sometimes I complain too much…………..
And sometimes I wish we weren’t so stuck in our ways.
And sometimes I think it would be so much easier if we didn’t have so much information!
Then I always feel like I can do more: I can write more, read more, get outdoors more, clean more, save more, kiss more, sleep more, breathe more…
And then I remind myself how lucky I am. How I have so much that I ever wanted. How I would die in an instant for my family.
But how exhausting it is to have it all.
And the loop keeps playing, and I wonder if this is just the way life is. Because realistically there aren’t many mothers, or people in general, who can just stop — and who would really want to.
I’m no different.
And like most, I do need to work on making more time to pause. I also need to take advantage when I can do so.
Because there are moments when I can stop but don’t. Like twenty minutes ago. I could have sat down and stared at the wall.
That would have been nice. That might have rejuvenated me.
But instead, I dictated the rough draft of this article while sweeping up dried catnip. I felt compelled. I had an idea.
Now I think I hear a cry. It’s time to wake up. I hope this story was worth it.
Luckily, in spite of everything, I know that I am.