Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stop happening to me

Today I am trying my best to do everything right. My little one had Lego class this morning and instead of running errands, I drove to the mall that has a Starbucks and a big open courtyard of tables to get a coffee and then sit and write. I had my notebook. I parked my car. I walked up the turned off escalator.

There was buzzing everywhere. I looked around and there were tables for a health fair. The downstairs was packed. A band made entirely of senior citizens was playing Eidelweiss on a stage in the middle of the courtyard. There was a line out the door of Starbucks.

This wasn't how I'd planned it.

Of course, I thought to myself, of course it's not going to work. Of course there's no quiet alone time for me. I don't get to sit and write for an hour. Clearly I'm not meant to do this. Clearly I'm doing something wrong. This proves it. This writing thing is never  happening for me and I'm a failure at life and I should be ashamed that I even thought I could ever do anything other than go scan the grocery store for coupon deals.

I'm so tired of thinking like a victim.

I'm so tired of seeing things happening to me. I'm so tired of believing that I don't have any power or control in my own life.

This health fair wasn't happening to me. It was just happening. I was the one choosing to blow everything out of proportion and project meaning about myself and  my goals onto it.

So I got my coffee. I found a table upstairs. I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes and I put pen to notebook for the entire time. Because I can. Because I have a choice. Because it doesn't matter if it's the exact, right perfect thing, if I'm meant to do it, if the universe is on my side. Because I want to write and I can write and it's all for the good. 

My small girl has taken to giving herself pep talks. She'll be all by herself in a room putting her shoes on and I'll hear her saying "I can DO this. I believe in me."

Maybe I need to follow her example.

I can do this.

I can create my life. It isn't just happening to me.

I believe in me.

Monday, September 18, 2017

If I'm being honest

1. If I'm being honest, back to school has been really hard. BG is struggling with the transition to full day, with not having enough time to play, with having to do busy work that often isn't challenging enough. She's tired, she's anxious, she's crying a lot. So I'm tired, I'm anxious, I'm crying a lot. Because, sponge.

2. I thought by now I'd be writing more. I thought that once little sister was in preschool at the same time as BG was in school and I had two hour blocks to myself three times a week, I'd be deep in this work. I'd be showing up. I'd be the person I'm meant to be and I'd be out in the world and everything would be perfect. I'm not.

3. My other blog, the one where I share teaching stuff I've found useful, is fun to write, but I have all kinds of FEELINGS about it. I wonder if it's what I'm doing to avoid doing my real work, I wonder if I look silly and useless and people are shaking their heads at me for thinking I'm an expert when I'm really not, if I have nothing new or different to contribute to the world and the discussion, if investing myself and my time and energy in it is really just throwing stuff at a bad idea.

4. Sometimes I still feel that way about this blog too.

5. I feel lonely, but at the same time I feel completely peopled out. I long to feel fulfilled and affirmed and seen and heard without ever actually having to see or talk to people. Or risk anything if possible.

6. I just fell asleep on the couch for an hour and a half while Little watched PBS, and she's still watching it now. And part of me absolutely hates that, thinks that I'm the worst mother in the world and that I am proving why I don't deserve to be here on the planet, and part of me is relieved and thinking how my house has stayed clean and it's so quiet and I  haven't felt this rested in a while.

7. I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret publishing this brain dump almost as soon as I do, and I'm pretty sure I need to do it anyway.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This is parenting

I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing the sticky part of my kitchen floor with a yellow microfiber cloth because I can't remember where I put my mop, and I remember the stories of how my grandmother cleaned her entire house top to bottom every weekend, scrubbing the kitchen floor with a brush every week of her adult life. I look up at the pile of dishes in my sink. One of my daughters, then the other, both of whom I have put to bed at least twice yells from the top of the stairs that they need me RIGHT NOW. This is parenting. I am sitting on my couch with my four year old snuggled into my chest telling me about the strange dream she had ("My sister stole my sandals and I was really mad!") I echo her, affirming it, and laughing with her at how strange it was, then press my nose into the warm top of her knotted hair. "You're the best mom a kid could have," she tells me. This is parenting. My little one is asleep on the couch with fifteen minutes left before her sister gets off the bus from first grade, and I am sitting alone in a quiet house with the windows open, spinning a little in my desk chair, as my fingers glide across the keyboard, smarter than I am, catching at all these truths before they fly away into nothingness. This is parenting too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting still

BG is at her second day of first grade (I KNOW), and LS just fell asleep on the couch at 11:30 in the morning. It is quiet in my house. I feel like I've been waiting for this quiet for a long time. But even so, I find that I am searching for ways to fill the quiet, ways to keep busy, things to do. I have books to read, audio classes to listen to, facebook lives to watch. I have to clean my house, I have to write, I have to get everything done because I don't know when I'm going to have this space and this stillness again and if I don't do it all now I don't know if I'll ever do it. I don't know when I'll have this space and this stillness again. A few days ago, my kids were playing with their Little People quietly together without me (oh miracle of miracles) and I asked some friends on FB which of the things on my massive self care and personal development checklist would be the best use of my time. One of my friends asked me what my gut said. The truth was, my gut said to do nothing, and surely that couldn't be the right answer. Maybe it is. Maybe I just need to get still for a little while, to stop doing, to be here now alone in the quiet. Maybe that's the most productive use of my time after all.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The voice in my head says

What if I never have anything worth writing about ever again? I want to write every day, I want to get back to a place where writing is just part of who I  am, but the more I do it, the more I hate everything that comes out of me.

I wanted to write about mothering and life, to connect and relate to people, to make people feel less alone, to know they were doing okay. I wanted to create meaning in everyday life, I wanted to be seen and heard.

But it doesn't feel like that's what I'm doing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This morning

I woke up this morning not wanting to do anything. And my kids woke up this morning wanting to do all the things.

Shit.

"Can we paint our nails?"

"No, not today."

"If you let us paint our nails, we'll be extra nice."

"Why wouldn't you be nice anyway??"

"Can we use the pottery wheel?"

"No."

"Can we do karaoke?"

"No."

"How about pottery?"

Giant mom head explosion.

I don't know if it's me or if it's them. I'm tired of saying no, tired of saying not now. I don't want my kids to remember me as the mom who always said no not now.

I don't want to be counting down days until school starts. But I kind of am.

We're at library story time now because I needed a break. I hate that I needed a break. And I hate that even though I sat in the back corner to try to read, I haven't gone 5 minutes without a child on top of me.




Monday, August 21, 2017

What happened when I didn't write

Less than a week ago, I committed to writing 100 or more words every day for the next thirty days. And then for the past two days, I didn't.

It sucked, guys. And it didn't.

The truth is the pressure was pretty bad, and the idea that the world was going to end if I didn't write, that it was going to be proof that I wasn't meant to be a writer, that I was going to be a failure for the rest of my life, that something was inherently wrong with me was heavy. So damn heavy.

And what happened on the day when I didn't write?

I was disappointed. I was sad. I felt like I maybe could have done better, like I needed to do a better job at putting what was important to me at the forefront.

But. The world didn't end. Life kept going. And as much as my brain told me that this was proof that I was never going to really be a writer, I sat down today and wrote again. And that part sucked. I'm embarrassed. I'm ashamed.

What happened when I didn't write is that I gave myself another opportunity to practice grace. And, as BG says when it's time to sit down at the piano, I HATE PRACTICING. PRACTICING IS BORING.

But that's how you get better. You practice. You sit down. You keep going when you make mistakes. And you give yourself grace.