I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection as it relates to my parenting style/philosophy/way of being in the world. While my overall anxiety has remained pretty high, some conversations with really good friends, an appointment to begin therapy on Friday, and a quiet night that included 6 WHOLE HOURS in a row, has reigned me back in from the crazy cliff of burnout.
I have this bad habit of going full steam until burnout and it needs to stop. I know it’s part of my personality, and the stressor this time was Boof’s crazy work schedule, but truthfully I’ve been stuffing my anxiety and emotions for awhile. I’m not sure how long, probably since Potamus was born, but maybe even longer. The pioneer-buck-it-up woman has been working her ass off, because, in so many ways, moving forward full steam feels safer than pausing and acknowledging what is going on. That it’s hard. I know I say it with my head and mouth, but I haven’t let myself feel the weight of the difficulty for fear of breaking into a thousand little pieces.
And, while I’ve written about it before, I have come to this realization, that my tool for stuffing all my emotion is Facebook, my smart-phone, endless hours of mindless television. As an introvert, and a sometimes selfish person, I want “me” time. Lots of focus on “me,” and what gets in the way is this kiddo who I love and is trying his best in the world. In an effort to get MY needs met, I end up stressed.
But last night was different. Instead of facebooking, I spent 2 hours talking to different friends on the phone. Potamus was eating dinner, but I wasn’t mindlessly zoning out ‘liking’ things and surfing for the best answer to solve this to-wean-or-not-to-wean question. Or this co-sleeping-until-eternity dilemma. I was intentionally connecting. And, when Potamus had enough of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and his helping of tortellini, we played outside. He toodled around and I chatted with my other friend. And then we came inside and got ready for bed.
He was out by 8.
I didn’t feel guilty for nursing him.
I didn’t feel like I needed to be anywhere else.
I forgot about the dishes/laundry/crumbs on the floor/ and the anger that Boof wasn’t around to help.
We didn’t watch any TV past 5:30 or even listen to music on the TV and dance like we normally do. It was quiet, and focused, but not so intensely goal-oriented.
And I ended up with 6 hours of sleep in a row, and a feeling of being refreshed.
I don’t know if this relaxed way will always ‘work,’ but I do think that Potamus picked up on my calm and focused energy and it mirrored back at him a way to be in the world. I think, if I can’t figure out how to unwind, how can he learn it for himself? I have no idea how tonight will go, or how I will monitor my on-line habits, especially since summer is beginning and I will now be home with Potamus 3-5 of the 7 days out of the week, but I do think that the evening ritual was helped by this long unwind time.
Thoughts? Have you tried slowing down to achieve your parenting goals?