Showing posts with label fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fear. Show all posts

Thursday, December 6, 2012

So, this is happening

So, it's becoming pretty clear that I'm going to have a baby.

Yeah, I've always been a little bit slow.

Last time I did this, I had no idea what this meant. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it truly meant to be a mom, to have a little person who could simultaneously make you happy and insane, who was both you and not you, who both overwhelmed you and made you feel complete in a way you didn't know you weren't. I didn't know what it would be like to lose myself, to find myself, to recreate myself, and to do it all again. I didn't know how long it would be until I'd sleep, until I'd have my body to myself again (well, I'm still waiting for that one), until I'd find a way to make peace with all the things that had changed and all the things that didn't have to.

 This time? I'm terrified.

 Who is she going to be? Who am I going to be? These weren't even questions that came into my mind the first time around. What's going to happen to my sweet, crazy making eldest daughter? Is this going to change her? Is that a good thing?

 Are we all going to be okay?

 No amount of planning and calculating, of freezing dinners, of arranging help is going to make all these questions go away. There's nothing I can do to fix this, nothing I can do to make any of this less real. I feel envious of people who are excited, I feel angry that I'm so overcome by fear and uncertainty, I feel guilty for not feeling gushy and happy about my coming bundle of joy.

 But it is what it is, and where I am, and who I am. It's real and it's valid and it's okay.

 At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Letting go

This morning I woke up angry. Spitting fire. Without words to describe what was going through my mind. Coffee didn't help.

BG and I had an appointment downtown to do another experiment at 9:30, and at 8:30 I realized that we weren't dressed and BG hadn't eaten. There was no way in the world to not be late. And I hate being late.

I threw clothes on us both, put her in her car seat with some Cheerios (mom of the year, right here), and booked it to the city.

The pretty young grad student met us at the gate, the same one that did our study last time. And BG sat quietly in my lap and cheerfully watched the video she was shown, only looking away a few times. A physics genius, my one year old. She grabbed the "Where's Pooh" book off the thank you gift shelf before she was even offered something. She babbled and giggled all the way to my car.

I pulled out of the parking lot. My gas light went on. BG started saying "mamamamamamama" and signing for food, both with increasing intensity. I looked at the clock and thought of how long it would take us to get home, of how much I had to do to get there. I turned corners, apologizing to my baby, listening to the petulant woman on my GPS tell me she was "recalculating" every five seconds.

And that is how I found myself in front of the botanical gardens, a furious baby in my back seat, my gas needle below empty, at 10:00 on a Wednesday morning.

And I parked my car.

Climbed into the backseat.

BG giggled when she saw me. We sat in the car and I fed her an applesauce, nursed her, and talked to her a little. Then I scooped up my now-pleasant baby, grabbed my diaper bag, and went inside.

The ticket was $12, which is a lot of money for me (I'm well aware how lame that sounds), but I didn't even pause. I grabbed a map, paid the lady and in we went.

I immediately realized I hadn't brought my stroller and my hip was getting sore, so I set BG down on the ground and let her run. At first I tried to hold her hand and read the map, but I quickly realized I wasn't the one in charge.

So I let go.

We stared at the fish. We pointed at the banzai trees. We walked around the orchid room 5 times.

Then she reached out her hand for me to take it and we walked out.

This job, of being a mom? I'm not patient enough for it. I'm not brave enough for it. I'm not strong enough for it. But this job of being my kid? BG has that one down pat.

And maybe that's all we need.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And then the pancakes stuck (or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the pancakes)

So, I've been struggling again lately with a lot of anxiety. My thoughts race and I can't concentrate and I start to feel helpless.

It's frustrating because I feel like I can't focus and so can't do the kind of meaningful work I'd like to do. It's disappointing because I thought I was past this and don't want to feel like this again. It's scary because I can't control it and I worry that it's just going to be like this forever.

I spent the past 2 days trying to do everything right. I slept. I ate. I exercised. I went out. Yesterday, I met someone for coffee, did an exercise video, cleaned my bathroom, went for a walk with the baby, danced, played, ate salad for lunch, took my vitamins and fish oil, distracted myself with crossword puzzles and massive quantities of Sporcle. I read and did every anxiety tip I could find, and at the end of the day I just felt angry. And tired. And my butt hurt.

This morning, I decided to give myself grace. I stayed in my pajamas. And I made pancakes.

Except I forgot to grease the griddle and the pancakes stuck. Behold the string of irrational thoughts.

  • "This is so unfair. Why do these things always happen to me? Nothing ever goes right."
  • "I'm such an idiot. I can't believe I forgot to grease that. I always do stuff like that."
  • (Watch how the irrational thoughts come the target of the irrational thoughts. "Oh my gosh, I'm so whiny. And irrational. The pancakes are just stuck. Everything in my life is so good, I can't believe I'm complaining about this."
  • (For my next trick, I will beat myself up for beating myself up.)"Oh my gosh, it's no wonder I'm depressed and anxious. I keep trashing myself. I'm such an idiot."

Or. The pancakes stuck. I have to scrape them off. They aren't pretty. They still taste okay. It's frustrating that I have to clean this all off the pan now. Of course it is.

Let's eat pancakes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I wish I were braver

I wish I were braver.

(Subjunctive tense. I am a grammar genius. Count it. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. About how I am avoiding this topic. Wait no, that wasn't it, was it?)

(Sigh, let's start again, shall we?)

Last week, I walked to a metro station in Maryland, got on a subway with my baby in her stroller and took her to the zoo. And I did it all by myself. Cue applause.

Only ... not. Because that's ridiculous. Because it's ridiculous for that to be a big deal. Because it's really not hard to get on a train. Because it's even less hard to go to the grocery store, to pick up a phone and call someone, to drive a few blocks out of your way to get a cupcake you really want.

Except these things terrify me.

Yael wrote a post a while ago about our comfort zones. About how stepping out of them is overrated. About how we need to take care of ourselves and that makes it okay to stay in.

But I've stayed in my comfort zone my whole life. And I'm not very comfortable here.

Lately it seems like all the bloggers I admire most are saying, "If blogging feels hard, if you feel the pressure from it, if you can't write every day, then let it go. Write less. Let go of the guilt." And I read it and think "Oh good, I'm off the hook."

Except I don't want to be off the hook.

I want the pressure. Because otherwise I won't do it.

Because I need it to be scary. I need to be scared. I need to do it anyway.

Because the zoo? Was lovely. And the train? Was just a train.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life's Lessons: Scary things

Life With Baby Donut

  1. Hurricanes? Are scary.

  2. But I've been through several, so I have great advice.

  3. Make sure you have lots of water in the house. And your flashlight batteries charged. And cookies. So many cookies.

  4. And if you have to evacuate, do it. Think of it as a slumber party.

  5. And then, wherever you are, breathe. It will be okay. Even though it's scary. I know.

  6. Speaking of breathing, I need to do that more.

  7. And face my fears. Which, umm, you may have heard about.

  8. Because really? In the end, that's how you beat them.

  9. When you list everything you're afraid of, suddenly it becomes clear which things don't matter.

  10. And which things really do.

  11. I want to do work that matters.

  12. And surround myself with people who feel the same way.

  13. And stop worrying about the people who don't.

  14. So thank you all, again, for your kind comments the other day. You all make my list.

  15. And that? Makes life less scary.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm afraid

Just in case you were starting to think that everything was bright and beautiful in mommyland around here, I want to tell you. I’m having a bad day. I know it’s just a bad day, I know it’s just a bad mood, but in this moment it feels like everything is crashing down. It feels like my progress isn’t real. It feels like I’m all alone. And I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that people don’t like me as much as I like them.
I’m afraid that I’ll make a fool of myself.
I’m afraid that I’m a bad mother.
I’m afraid that I’m a bad wife.
I’m afraid that I’m a bad friend.
I’m afraid that I’m a bad writer.
I’m afraid that I’ll look like I’m trying too hard.
I’m afraid that the things that I do won’t matter.
I’m afraid that I’m wrong to think they *could* matter.
I’m afraid that if I’m honest, people will not like me.
I’m afraid that if I’m not honest, they’ll see right through me.
I’m afraid that this will never get better.
I’m afraid that all that’s left to be wrong is me.
I’m afraid that I complain too much.
I’m afraid that I lie to myself.
I’m afraid that I care too much about being liked.
I’m afraid that means I’m not a “person of substance.”
I’m afraid I will never fit in.
I’m afraid that I shouldn’t want to fit in.
I’m afraid this will sound like I’m fishing for compliments or desperately seeking approval.
I’m afraid that I am.
I’m afraid that I won’t get it.
I’m afraid that the wrong things matter to me.
I’m afraid that it’s my fault.

And right now? It doesn't matter if any of this is true, if any of it is real. It feels real. It feels true. And I'm struggling.

And? It might be okay that I'm struggling.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My bloggy funk

In my head, I am a great writer.

I mean, I know I can write. We're going for honesty here, so I'm going to skip the kind-of-fishing-for-compliments-self-deprecating false humility. I know I can write. I can write well.

But I don't.

I love blogging. I love visiting blogs, connecting with other bloggers on twitter. I love being part of the mom blogging community. These days, though, I feel like I can hardly call myself a blogger. At best, I'm someone with a blog. A "precious," "cute" little blog.

And there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, I appreciate when you say those things. I appreciate that you're here at all, especially since so many of you have such wonderful, popular, and Important blogs. I mean that. I have the best blogging friends in the world, and when people like you say my blog is cute? It makes me smile.

But really I want more than that.

I want this to be What I Do. I want to BE a blogger. I want to have a blog that does something that matters. If any of that even makes any sense.

Sometimes, I think about taking a blogging class, about joining a blogging forum, to figure out what I need to do to make my blog bigger. To make it something that can matter. In my heart, though, I know what I need to do.

I need to write. And I'm not.

Why not? Because I'm tired. Because my life seems so mundane. Because the baby is climbing on the TV. Because I'd rather waste away the day on twitter.

Because I'm afraid.

What happens if I try and fail? What happens if my funny isn't funny, if my heartfelt isn't moving? Why would anyone really care what I have to say?

So how do I overcome this paralysis? How do I keep moving forward? How do I become the blogger I want to be?

This is a response to the prompt about my goals and what is stopping me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Mommies

At my mom's club meeting last week, there were two moms with 6 week old babies. Their boys were even born on the same day.

I mean, really, they were just asking to be a metaphor. Seriously.

The first came in and looked around awkwardly. She was nervous, both about meeting all these new people and about going out with her tiny baby. She kept checking him in the stroller, apologized for his crying every time he whimpered (which honestly I couldn't even hear), and picked at the food on her plate. She confessed that he had his days and nights confused still, and that she has only slept 2 hours the night before. She confided to me that she wanted to go back to work but had checked daycares and couldn't bring herself to leave him anywhere. She looked shaken, scared, confused, and tired.

The other mom was completely comfortable in her own skin. She introduced herself to everyone, shared her (hilarious) birth story immediately, played with other people's children. Her little 8 pound boy was draped casually over her arm, not making a sound, but she was still able to eat, take notes, and gesticulate wildly. She told us that he slept 11 hours a night and fell asleep completly on his own, soothing himself by rubbing his face on a burpcloth. She had an answer for everything, seemed so competent and confident that I, the mother of a 9 month old, was cowed in comparison.

That b****.

Kidding. Mostly.

It's clearly no secret which mom I feel for. At 6 weeks, I was a wreck. I was up ALL night (as opposed to MOST of the night, like I am again now). I had no idea how to be a mom. I didn't take Baby Girl anywhere by myself. I look back on myself then with a certain kind of fondness, wanting to tell her she was doing just fine.

Which was what I told this mom. And I invited her over for coffee. And a hug. Although she doesn't know that part yet.

But. But. Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe super-cool-together mom needs a hug too. Did I look scared and shaky at 6 weeks? I mean, I know I was never cool and sociable and confident. But I think I seemed okay. I seemed to know what I was doing. I certainly wasn't confessing my failings.

And even if she really does have it together? I mean, that doesn't mean we can't be friends, right? (...Right....?) If I don't want people to judge me for being a mess, is it fair of me to judge other moms for not being a mess? Can't I just be happy for her that she is having such an easy time of it? Glad that he sleeps so well, that she knows what she wants, that she's so good at making friends?

In truth? I look back on those early sleepless days and there are moments of joy that I didn't expect to look back on fondly. I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night and playing with the baby on the living room floor so we didn't wake my husband. I remember taking lovely naps in the middle of the day. I remember how much I genuinely enjoyed the 3 hours of sleep I got after my husband left for work - even when they were the only hours of sleep I got all day. And I remember how in awe I was of this precious little baby, how amazing it was for her to be in my life. And really? I wouldn't change a thing.

So, what do I have to be jealous of? I can forgive supermom her successes. You know, just this one time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Excuse me while I disappear

Sometimes I feel like curling up into a ball on my living room floor and hiding.

I've told you before how terrible I am at making friends. I'm a pretty shy person, really, and generally not very open about my feelings. I don't know how to talk to people I don't know. I crave closeness but I hold myself back.

I went to a playgroup yesterday. I was so proud of myself for going, for opening myself up to that. I was prepared for disaster. When I got to the park, I didn't see anyone. My mind immediately want to dark places. No one showed up. I spent all morning psyching myself up and no one is here. And they didn't tell me. They knew I was coming, that's why they didn't show up. They hate me. How do they already know that? They haven't even met me yet. They must just have a sense for it.

Yeah, I'm that ridiculous.

Because then I realized the park had two playgrounds.

The playgroup was okay. I made it through just fine Everyone was very nice, but , but I felt like I was on the outside. I didn't talk much, and while the moms tried to talk to me, there wasn't all that much to talk about, so I mostly sat and listened to them talk. What if I say something and they don't like it? What if they think I'm weird because I'm not saying anything at all? I need to leave before they realize how uncool I am. I started trying to plan my exit. How could I leave without insulting them? Maybe if it started raining. Or my phone rang.

I had been waiting for this all week, been so nervous and excited, and I was sitting there hoping my phone would ring.

The Internet makes me brave, which subsequently makes me terrified. I write these posts, or say something on twitter, or leave a comment on a blog, and I am instantly terrified that people are going to hate me. Did I say something wrong? Did I overstep? Why hasn't anyone replied? What does that reply mean?

It's never quiet in my head, people.

Earlier this week, I read Yael's lovely post about popularity, and I instantly went on a quest for the scene she was talking about. I found it. Here it is. Watch. I'll wait.

Every time I watch, it makes me happy. I'm uncool. And when I hang with the cool people (probably a lot of you!) it does make me feel cool. But I'm not. And I need to stop trying to be cool, stop trying to fit into some mold, and just be the gushy, overprotective, random, girly, word-loving, coupon-clipping, nerdy, huggy, terrified woman that I am. I need to learn how to let that be enough.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I have a confession to make

So many things in my life have always been easy for me. In high school? I never studied and aced the test anyway. When I was teaching? Totally laid back, I could call an audible and wing it if something didn't work. My wedding? I called the vendors my friend used and just said, Do whatever it is that's done.

Then we decided to have a baby, and you know what? That was easy too. I had no problems getting pregnant, even though I totally expected to. I had a completely uneventful and easy pregnancy and a delivery that was almost TOO fast and easy (I'll have to tell that story another time).

So into this life comes Baby Girl. And on the surface, that looked like it was easy for me too. Baby Girl and I were immediately really good at breastfeeding (almost too good). She was well behaved in public, so I could take her anywhere. I made jokes. I lost all my baby weight in 6 weeks. Everyone said how great I was doing, what a laid back and calm mom how I was, how much they wanted to be like me.

But they didn't see me crying. They didn't see me searching the Internet all night long, thinking I'd find an answer to why she was crying. They didn't see the dark part of my head where I told myself I was doing everything wrong, where I second guessed every decision, where I was convinced I was a bad mother.

And the more people thought I was good at it, the more I felt like I needed to be. The more I felt like I needed to keep the fear and sadness on the inside. I was afraid to talk to people because I had nothing interesting and clever to say, and I didn't want them to know how sad and boring I'd become, or worse, to figure out that I didn't have anything under control. That for once in my life I was trying really hard, and I couldn't fix it.

I stopped writing. I stopped reading anything that wasn't about taking care of babies. I stopped being me.

And so, I've decided to finally tell the truth. I'm not good at this. I'm not a natural. I'm not a super laid back mom. And I'm sure there are new moms who need to hear this too, who are so afraid of what will happen if they aren't perfect: Being a mommy is wonderful. But sometimes it's hard.