Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Happiness secret: aim low and kiss your baby boss
After an impressive run of not napping for more than ten minutes at a time, Ben has gotten into the habit of crashing every night from about 9:30 to 11:30. Um, not the most ideal time—hello, sleeping through the night?—but for now, I'll take it. Because that's two hours when I can get stuff done. At least some stuff.
I have been struggling with this lack of ability to accomplish much of anything, other than taking care of an infant. Yes, yes, that's a Big Deal. But it's been hard to accept that Ben is my very demanding (although super-cute) boss and my time is not my own, especially since I typically try to pack a lot into one day. I've always been that way but I've learned to be hyper-efficient since having kids. Now, I am lucky if I am able to finish one email over the course of a few hours. I find myself grateful for bathroom breaks.
A part of me feels that slowing down the drive that's enabled me to juggle work and kids and their activities and Max's therapy and medical needs and chores and the house and other responsibilities galore means everything is going to fall apart. And that letting go means I'll never be able to grab hold again. These feelings are not at all logical, as feelings tend to be. I've been trying to find a way to contain them that doesn't involve consuming mass quantities of Double Stuffed Oreos.
In the last few days, one thing has brought me some peace of mind: aiming low. Real low. That means I decide that I will put away half a pile of the laundry at the foot of our bed. Not the whole pile, just half. Or I will write two thank you cards for gifts Ben got, that's it. Or I will scan one page of unopened email. Or I will make just one call for planning Max's bar mitzvah, no more. I pick a couple of bite-size tasks per day, and I pull them off.
I haven't fully embraced my reality, and probably won't, but aiming low has helped me feel less stressed about all the stuff I can't get to. It's been rather astounding how accomplished I feel doing so little, like I am Warren Buffet and I have pulled off a billion dollar takeover when all I did was remember to bring up a few rolls of paper towels from the basement.
Of course, I am my own worst taskmaster so nobody gets on my case about the delays and didn't-dos. Never in this life will Dave say to me, "Honey, why haven't you gone through that towering pile of mail on the counter?" It's unlikely the kids will ever remark, "Mommy, I can't believe you haven't tidied up the area formerly known as the living room!"
Nobody cares, except me. And for now, I'm not caring that much.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:35 AM