You ever get to that place where you can see how seriously you've been taking yourself? Do you get to that place and laugh?
I haven't been laughing much, not out loud, anyhow. Sure, the constant and amusing banter my mind maintains* has still made me smile and given me comfort, but nothing's made my belly ache in a while. Life's been constant and inconsistent - a life-sized roller-coaster, complete with unexpected turns and plunges.
When you stop being too scared, you can take small moments to enjoy the act of riding a roller-coaster. Once you get beyond the fear of malfunction or mishap, you can enjoy flying through the air, you can take in your surroundings as the whisk by.
If, however, you completely lose your fear, the ride gets boring. Think of the last time you went on a ride meant for young kids. *yawn* Choosing the easy route is like that.
I have moments where I fear everything will break down. That I will end up miserable, for any number of possible reasons, and that will be my life. That I might become one of those miserable old people yelling at everyone.
I respond by trying to control every nuance, every outcome. I try to deny that chaos can exist in my perfect world. I expect a payoff where there is none, because this really is an un-winable battle.
I mean, I could brainwash my kids, make them quiet and compliant. Wouldn't that be perfect? Kids who do exactly what they're told, never fight, never question my authority, or any authority... who need me to help with the simplest of decisions... who are incapable of creative thought... who follow the herd... oh yeah, wouldn't that be awesome?
As some of you know, I'm getting treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety. This treatment has been of incredible benefit, I am on this incredible journey to find myself, without the backpack and stinky sandals I'd always associated with the trip.
Adulthood snuck up on me. One night I went to bed believing my journey of self-reflection was ahead of me, and one morning I awoke deciding my chance was gone. I resigned myself to my life, trying to figure what this Kate as wife-mother-creature looks like. I am an avid reader of parenting books, enough to have contemplated creating a book club devoted to parenting books. It started as a desire to find the instructions, people have been doing this thing for years, surely someone's figured out how to do it.
I am happy to report that they haven't. Their best guess is that if we love and respect our kids and model the behaviour of self-directed adults. They will, in turn, grow up to be relatively well-adjusted and respectable. Makes sense? Doesn't it? I mean, I could have told you that without a book, I just did.
So I decide to do this, I decide to model to my son and daughter the kind of adult I hope them to be, I tell myself that I can do that and that I owe it to my kids to show them how to respect others and themselves. Easy. Right?
Yeah, no. It has been a steep and scary climb, and every day there's a moment when I just want to set the rules aside and tear a strip off him**, I have no idea where I'm going half the time. But I am enjoying myself. I am enjoying my family and my life, I am smiling and laughing more.
Well, I was, before TMB^ set in. It is tied to my menstural cycle, though there's more to it than that. It comes during the last half of the month, when the freshness of a new month has faded, bills are due, rent is coming up, most of the things I'd planned to do sit unfinished, things for the coming month start coming in and suddenly it is just too much. I burnout, my house gets hit by the toy tornado and I just can't do it.
In every month since I started therapy, that time of the month is where I would stumble back and lose some of the ground I'd gained. I've picked myself up each time and carried on, and as each month passes, less and less ground has been lost. I am becoming more patient and agile in the face of that misery, I'm gaining more confidence in my actions and decisions. But I still get too serious about it, I still fight against circumstance, I still wonder why, oh why, oh why??
The past few days have taken me close to my breaking point. I am this big ball of miserable and I just want to whine and complain about it. I want to curl up and eat chocolate (which I did on Sunday), I don't want to plan a birthday party (which we did tonight), I want to stay in bed all day, not brave the insane Easter Monday crowds at Science World, I want to yell at my son and ignore my daughter, but that wouldn't be me. I'm mom, I do those things I'd rather not because it isn't just about me, is it? But it isn't just about them, either. It only works if I can also do things I want to do, like enjoy sitar music and Indian food at a cozy new restaurant.
It was at that restaurant, tonight, that I had my first full-body smile in a week or so. Life is hard, life is good, roll with it.
Thursday is Sebastian's third birthday. Family and friends will get together at my Dad's house for finger food and cake. It will be really fun. He's also having a kid party, but it will be low-key and isn't until April 5.
*everyone does this, right?
^Total Maternal Burnout