I've written and re-written posts for this blog in my head umpteen times over the past month, but I just couldn't get on a computer for long enough to actually type it out. Why? Because I've been drowning in my own . . .
This is what's the most on my mind lately. My utter awe over how hideously, impossibly busy and out-of-control my life feels, even though I'm one of those "lucky" moms who gets to stay at home with her kids. There's no reason, it seems to me, why I should spend my days running around like a headless chicken. But I am. I can't seem to figure out why this is happening, which makes me think that it is, in large part, in my own head.
At the start of my Social Work career, I worked in a residential treatment facility for adjudicated youth. I don't know why, but that job is on my mind a lot lately; I really enjoyed working there. But I digress. One of the tools that we used in our therapeutic work with the youth was an understanding of cognitive distortions. These refer to certain thoughts or patterns of thoughts that perpetuate abusive behavior, depression, and other dysfunctions.
I notice lately that I keep returning to the idea (I think that it falls under distortions of "personalization") that if I don't do everything that I perceive needs to be done, and I don't do it perfectly, my life is--and even worse, my kids' lives are--going to go to hell. That if I can't do it all just right, the whole world is going to fall apart around me. It's ridiculous, I know, but I find myself running all day from this pressure to
do the dishes;
provide excellent nutrition for my kids;
keep the house clean;
get on top of the laundry;
ensure that the kids have enough attention, stimulation, exercise, outdoor time, love;
procure all of the food, dry goods, clothing, household items, etc that we need while managing our budget and teaching our kids to be responsible consumers;
be a loving and attentive wife . . .
And do the zillion other things I need to do to run our household and keep everyone happy and healthy--did you catch that? I really do struggle with the idea that the health and happiness of our household rests entirely on my shoulders. As if I can actually control weather or not Walker catches a virus or Ally feels good all the time. Though I know that proper nutrition wards off disease, and that bad behavior generally follows bad feelings, so when I see the less desirable outcomes of what I perceive to be my inadequate wifing and mothering, (like, say, Ally tearing apart the house or Walker being sick for most of September), I can't help but feel accountable.
Indulging in food and drink has been, for long before I had kids, the refuge to which I escape when the weight of all this responsibility crushes me. I go through periods of relative contentedness, where I'm not caught in this cycle as badly, and then I go through times like the past month, when I'm running mindlessly through my life, crossing off lists and relieving the anxiety when and how I can. And avoiding accountability for that behavior by, say, avoiding writing in this blog.
I am trying hard now to breathe deeply and begin again.
1 week ago