Every mother can nod in agreement because it’s true. As wonderful motherhood can be, sometimes our bodies can’t keep up. These past few months, my body has made it clear just how exhausted it’s gotten. Every mother has a list of what they have to do, need to and want to do. Though there are some days when the list is completely checked off, there are others where I just wasted a piece of paper writing down things I didn’t accomplish.
Halfway through my school term, I started falling behind dramatically. Between Elizabeth fighting off a cold, making sure she eats dinner, gets bathed, and chores, rarely would I have any energy left to stay up all night to study and do homework. And since I’m a mother, I knew when the lights went out, I have to catch sleep in order to do it all over again. As hard as I fought, I was a sinking ship, preparing to meet my doom. I kept trying and trying, believing I would catch up before midterms or finals. I made strict schedules (that I couldn’t stick to) and different approaches to getting her to take longer naps (which kinda of worked). All my attempts ended in me flunking two classes this term. I was stressed, overwhelmed and disappointed.
I wanted so badly to complete the term in perfection, that I couldn’t see what I was doing to myself. I was cranky, grumpy, tense, and my laundry was sky high! It wasn’t until a couple nights before the last day of the term that I decided to give up, kick my feet up and sip on some cough medicine (yeah, I ended up catching a cold). Though it kills me to admit this, but I’m grateful I didn’t pass this term with flying colors. It opened my eyes to see that I was setting unrealistic goals, way too high standards, and my priorities weren’t aligned anymore. When my daughter was an infant, it was easier to sit her down and type really fast before the next feeding. Now, she is a walking, running machine that never slows down and if I get anywhere near a computer, she is there trying to type along side me.
I was setting the bar for myself way too high and made it impossible for ME to reach it. Maybe a mother with a nanny; or a mother whose kids attended daycare could’ve reached my goals, but I have to start acting like a stay-at-home mom in order to get any work done. I kept fooling myself that I could carry the same vigorous workload and schedule and still get the same results like I used to.
If not, I don’t blame you because it’s not a proud thing to admit your weaknesses when you really need to be strong. I blame it on wanting to be in control all the time. I can admit, when things aren’t in order, I fall apart easily. I can’t stomach my life not in control, moving forward at a constant and safe pace. It makes me feel less of myself, less productive, and powerless because as badly as I want it, some things are just beyond my control.
I don’t know why it was so difficult for me to admit this. One day everything was under control, I yawned and everything was in disorder. But I don’t think the problem is having too much going on in life (though it would be wise to trim your schedule) or even feeling overwhelmed, but not paying attention to when the beat of life’s drum changes.
When you are dancing to music, you really have to pay close attention to the beat. If you are listening to a fast song, you can make those quick, sharp moves. But, if the song changes to something slow and soothing, you’d be a fool NOT to change your steps to fit the rhythm. I’d hate to be the fool spinning madly to something that requires a graceful step.
The past couple of weeks helped me realize how important it is to be more attentive to the rhythm of my life. Though I started the term off with a steady beat, I was too stubborn and blinded by my own desire to change. And as badly as I want to keep a schedule or routine with my child, as a mother our beats are always going to change. I can’t be mad, my dance partner has two little feet.