Off My Stride

Photo by iloveusb, via Flickr

My life is crazy now. As I try to get back into the swing of regular life, with writing assignments to finish and errands to run, I keep having to adjust my expectations ever lower. Lower, that is, in terms of what I accomplish outside of motherhood. For the first time, I am really not multitasking during nursing times, but simply being quiet, looking out the window, looking at Michael, doing neck stretches (okay, so maybe I’m fooling myself about that whole multitasking thing).

It’s not a bad thing. We had a really nice long weekend, with a visit to family and a visit to the fire station down the street, some outside time and opening the house up (how can you argue with 70 degrees on January 16th?). But it also means that I’m spinning my wheels a lot. This week, I lost one day to a trip to St. Louis for my postpartum visit and another morning to Julianna’s kindergarten IEP meeting…a meeting whose implications I’m still pondering, processing, and, well, generally spending emotional energy.

I don’t want to overstate things, because I’m really okay, it’s just I haven’t figured out how to juggle the extra child yet, and child outranks Everything Else, which means I’m dropping a lot of balls, and every day the list of things left undone gets a little longer. Things that I was able to do without difficulty even during pregnancy suddenly feel like too much, but I don’t know how to jettison them; there isn’t anyone else to do them…or more accurately, there probably is, but it would take so much energy to find that person that it’s probably simpler to try to continue juggling myself.

One of the things I do that I don’t talk about too much is teach natural family planning. For the past year or more, I’ve been working with our diocesan office to promote the visibility and accessibility of NFP in our diocese. It’s working, which is thrilling…but as the ranking teaching couple, it also means a lot of extra work as new couples come on board. And we need to meet with half a dozen engaged couples to plan music for their weddings in the next three weekends, too. And it’s time to be working on preschool for Nicholas in the fall. To say nothing of the scores of pictures piling up, crying out to be archived in scrapbooks. I’ve always, ALWAYS stayed caught up on scrapbooking…but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m reaching the limit.

Anyway, I know I will eventually catch my stride. Frankly, it’ll probably happen when Michael settles into more of a schedule, which means I probably have several months of this unsettled-ness to get through. I have to learn to accept less of myself, and to say no. The first “no” on that list is going to come later today, when I have to respond to a “can you please…?” email that’s been bold-faced glaring out of my email inbox all weekend. But I must confess, I just said “yes” this morning to something else…I promised to drive for a field trip for Alex’s class. But I mean, if I’m going to say yes, it should be to things like that, right? I should be staying hyper-involved in my family, and setting other things at a distance.

When I put a title at the top of this document, it was meant to be about something entirely different, and much more organized. But the introductory paragraph took me spinning off into a stream-of-consciousness reflection, and I decided to go with it. I can return to my original thought tomorrow, after all.