Throughout my own hectic life, I sometimes come to a crossroads where I am left to wonder is it truly possible to have it all without losing my ever-lovin’ mind.
Most of the time it is my own sense of self-doubt that gets the better of me and leads me to believe that there may be a difference between what I know I can do and what I only made myself believe in my own fantasy world that I can do. I wonder if that makes sense to anyone else other than myself.
So when my life is passing me by at warp speed, everyone is buzzing by and I feel like my children are growing like weeds right in front of my face, I have this minor problem every now and then, I just forget to breathe.
Most Days I’ll take just being an okay mom
You know when just take a deep breath and let the anxiety out and everything that’s good in… sometimes, well most times, that’s not the first thing that comes to my mind. I know I need to stop, smell the roses and try to see the beauty that so often literally surrounds me.
I can’t imagine I’m alone in this forgetful action because I’m not the only full-time working parent who is trying to juggle everything under the sun and at the end of the day have an inkling of hope that I’ve done a good job at being at least an okay mom.
Sometimes I think I’ll even settle for partially okay mom, even an alright mom will work because I work so hard to get through the entire work day and by the time I make it to the front door at 5:30, 6, 7 sometimes even 8, all I want to do is collapse; then I realize I want to try to be a mom for at least an hour before the kids go to bed. At least long enough, so I can get a kiss good night, a long hug from both of my babies and hear them say, “I love you, mommy.”
So this minor problem of forgetting to breathe from time to time… I get so overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and ready to throw my hands in the air when suddenly the dark clouds break and the sun shines and something miraculous happens. Something that makes me feel like “Hallelujah, everything is going to all work out!” Sometimes its small enough that I’m the only one who notices it, other times it’s large enough that I think it feels like a dump truck driving through the middle of Target.
It’s probably pretty obvious to anyone who knows me that my kids mean the world to me. The random kisses, the whining, the hugs, the crankiness, the smiles and the constant sibling rivalry – it’s what makes up my life, next to “the working all the time” part too. And while I may complain about it a lot too, I wouldn’t know what I would do without these two little boys and this man I call my husband.
Who made these rules anyway?
Sometime somewhere I was taught that the goal is to keep bettering myself, to keep growing for me, for my career and now for my family. Now that I am moving onto another new professional adventure, I am here at another crossroads and that stupid, pesky self-doubt craphead likes to knock on my door and that lack of breathing tends to kick in. I think they are both like those bully kids in the school yard who everyone wants to stay away from but it’s too hard to not make eye contact.
So the questions continue to swirl in my mind… What if I can’t do what I’m asked to do? What if I’m not ready for this next step? What if I fall on my face? What if I fail?
But I am left to wonder who taught us to think like this? Who brought the idea of self-doubt into our minds in the first place? Who or what made us believe that making a mistake here or there meant you screwed something up? Who taught led us to believe that even one failure was the end of the world? And who told us that everything always had to be absolutely, without a doubt PERFECT at all times? Are these subliminal messages put in our heads as teenagers, as children or just as we get older and start to think for ourselves?
What happened to just being a kid?
Sorry, I digress… Everyone knows childhood doesn’t last forever and the time frame for being little seems to be growing shorter and shorter these days. And the daily stresses of life are nothing compared to what really should matter most. But the breathing thing, yeah… It’s a little problem of mine that I just haven’t been able to get a handle on lately, especially the last five to six months of my life when everything has felt like it’s on fast forward and I just can’t find the damn remote.
With summer almost over, I realize that my sons are yet another year older. I now have a first grader and a kindergartner. It really does seem like just yesterday that I was pregnant with swollen feet. And I am dreading the days when my oldest stops blowing me kisses as I walk out the door in the morning, when my youngest doesn’t want to sit in my lap anymore to watch TV and most of all, when giving mommy kisses in public is just not cool anymore.
Sometimes, I think our lives are as delicate as dandelions, waiting for someone to blow us away with one strong wind, tumbling through the air with no idea of where we will land or what shape we will be in when we do.
Without stopping to take time to look around at what’s happening, we make it far too easy for someone to be able to blow us away without even the slightest notion it’s even coming. If we learn to breathe more, smell the flowers, run through the rain with our kids, dance for no reason and smile more, then the ability to drift away without any knowledge of it coming seems to be a little on the impossible side no matter where we are in our lives.
Earlier this summer, I witnessed a priceless moment that may never happen again. I stood quietly outside my children’s bedroom door, listening to a rather unique event occurring… the laughing and nonstop ramblings of my 7-year-old and 4-year-old sons mixed with the voices of my 14-year-old and 12-year-old nieces. Well the age difference is pretty good, it is quite adorable when they are around each other which is not very often with our schedules. But listening to them play games in the dark and tell ghost stories was absolutely incredible. It’s moments like these when breathing is somewhat imperative because life happens when you just let it.
Whether you’ve come to fully understand it or not, life is truly precious and it will pass you by. And just like my forgetful breathing problem, everyone’s lives are stressful some level or another, each with its variety of problems, levels of self-doubt, stress and anxiety. But we are not alone, never alone in this crazy thing called life. And once we stop believing that we’re a one man show in this, then maybe it could all get a little easier. Getting back to the idea that maybe it really does take a village to survive this life – relying on one another more, trusting one another, just believing in one another’s abilities and being there for one another in our greatest times of need.
While breathing is somewhat critical, so is actually living. I could have all the luxuries in the world but if I’m not happy I would not want any of them. Is it possible to have it all without losing your ever-lovin’ mind? I don’t know the answer to that question. I do hope so because I’m not even close to being finished living this life. And is my life perfect? Not by any means, but it’s perfect enough for me. We could always use a little more money and patience and time and space, but I love my life, my family and everything in between; sometimes I think that should be just enough for anyone.
“People always say you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something.
Like you can know what it is even. But every so often I’ll have like, a moment, when just being myself in my life,
right where I am, is like, enough.”
– Angela, My So-Called Life, 1994-1995