Off My Stride

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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.

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11 thoughts on “Off My Stride

    • Oooh, see, when you say it like that, I have to confess that I brought it on myself. It was just a note sent home in his folder. Nobody would think any less of me for NOT doing it, it’s just that Alex is so independent, I feel like he gets pushed aside sometimes, and I haven’t been on one of his field trips since, um, preschool.

      I thought about putting the six month thing in this post, because I’ve found that, too. In the solid food era, things suddenly become less…I don’t know. Crazy.

  1. I can relate! The first 3-6-9 months of a new baby’s life are much more hectic than we give/get credit for! You have to lug a fully loaded diaper bag everywhere and consider whether you really ought to schedule this appointment at that time because what if the baby is getting his very necessary morning nap at 10 instead of 8:30? It is crazy all the things to keep tabs on and that is just the human stuff!!!! Hang in there. You are right, you will find your groove at some point.

  2. Therese Sanderh

    It was 1977 after baby #3 when I found I had to drop the geneology searches for family tree information. It was in 1984, 3 years after baby #4 when I was forced by my husband to choose something else to drop. It was either La Leche League leader or pro-life work. LLL had to go, much as I wanted to keep it, because I couldn’t square dropping pro-life work with my conscience. It happens to every busy mom–you have to prioritize. If my activies had threatened my marriage, the activities would have to go. Period.

    Love, MOM

  3. I’m overwhelmed just reading this, and I’m not easily overwhelmed! You HAVE to give yourself a pass, at least for six months or so! You have so much going on. And so much to process regarding the IEP. I hope you’re able to take moments for yourself.

  4. Moonshadow

    I say that the field trip is a fine idea. These opportunities don’t come around again – you gotta take ’em! Same for nursing. It goes by quick so enjoy it. Say no to the church stuff for now.

  5. When I was pregnant with #3, with an eight year old and a twelve year old, I was looking forward to so much free time when I was on maternity leave. Before I knew it, it was time to go back to work, and the chore list had not gotten much shorter.

  6. Sometimes, reading this is great birth control…for me anyway….

    I already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. How on earth would I manage with a child in tote, nevermind the fact that giving birth just completely freaks me out.

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