slow the fuck down


a boy and his dog. a rare moment in the mids of crazy.

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?

 

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7 Comments

  1. Girl, all the time. I realize I don’t *need* to put laundry away right now because ‘it’ll never get done.’ I can and should tend to Hum because he’s bored and throwing his toys all over the house and wants to go outside. I’m such a home body myself but only since having kids because its so damn tiring.

  2. wanting time for you is not selfish, quite the contrary, time for you is imperative in order to be the best mother and wife you can be, most importantly you need you time to be the best you that you can be. so many mothers, probably most of them actually, spend every waking second focusing on getting the needs of everyone else met that they totally neglect there own needs, eventually forgetting they have needs too. at that point, they’re so used to stifling the little voice inside them that normally tells them they need a break that the idea of taking one seems completely unreasonable and selfish, but it’s not. it can be difficult to make it happen, first you have to convince yourself you deserve it, then there’s probably some juggling and schedule adjusting that needs to be done, and you might even have to call in a favor or two to make it happen, but you can do it and you should. no one can do everything all the time, everyone needs a little help sometimes, that doesn’t make you an incompetent person, it makes you normal.

    • yeah, I definitely need a break. But when I take a break, what makes me feel restored is NOT facebooking or checking the internet for advice 1,000 times 🙂 I’ve been trying to turn my phone off, and stay away, and just read or breathe or do something outside. It’s amazing how much calmer I am when my nervous system isn’t navigating all the stimulus!!!

      thanks for reminding me that I deserve a break 🙂

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