Friday, October 17, 2014

Just breathe

I’m so glad it’s Friday. Even better, it’s payday, and I get to just have a moment to sit and think in silence.

The mornings are crazy around here. Our schedules this year are different than in the past. The past two years, Robby left almost an hour before the kids had to go to school, so I would get up early with him and we’d have about 30 minutes of quiet time where we’d get to sit together at the dining room table and just drink coffee and talk.

It was a great time to talk about stuff and get perspective—and to reconnect.

We don’t have that anymore.

The kids have to leave at the same time as Robby so now it’s this crazy whirlwind of trying to get the kids fed and get their lunches packed.

If Robby is lucky, he can wedge his hand into a small space and grab a cup of coffee. I don’t even think he drinks coffee at home any more—I’m not even sure, I just know that I am left with almost a full pot of coffee after the whirlwind exits the house.

There really isn’t anything better than that moment when the bus pulls away and both kids are safely tucked inside with all their bags and clothes on and lunch boxes packed. It’s like I crossed the finish line of a marathon and everyone is happy and cheering.

I don’t think there is a more quiet moment than when the bus pulls away and I walk into the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee and sit at the computer to catch up on work emails and personal stuff.
It’s weird when I look back on all the years I spent at home with the kids—day in day out, rarely a break let alone quiet moments.

But I loved being at home with them. It was like I couldn’t get enough of it—well sometimes. I still feel the same way—on those lazy weekends when we get to be together, there is nothing better than just sitting on the couch, snuggled up in blankets and watching mindless movies.

It’s weird to be one of those working moms now. Even after several years, I still have a hard time adjusting to new schedules and routines and balancing work and finding time to make sure everyone has what they need.

I think the hardest part is making time for me. I’m not talking about spa days or trips out of town with girlfriends. I can’t afford that crap any way.

I’m talking about sitting down and forcing myself to process my feelings. Especially lately. So much has happened to us in such a short amount of time--but if I stop to reflect, I can see that things have been stressful for a long, long time.

I don’t know what it does to a body to constantly take on stress and not take the time to process it.

I know that before the kids got out for summer break last school year, I was under so much stress worrying about the kids that my neck locked up and I could barely move my head from side to side. I remember driving Jude to karate that day and tears coming down my face every time I had to look over my shoulder to see if oncoming traffic was coming. When Robby met me there he said I looked horrible—he almost didn’t recognize me.

I knew I didn’t feel well, but I hadn’t taken the time to really let it sink in that I was making myself sick with worry and stress.  I thought I had it all under control.

Something had to change. Something, but what?

What could I change? I had no control over so many things in my life.

I finally realized I had to do something that I rarely did. I decided to take care of myself the same way I take care of everyone else. I think as Moms (and Dads) we tend to not do that enough, or at all.

I went to the doctor and got a checkup.  To my surprise, I was completely healthy—blood work was perfect and on the outside I seemed better than most. I took a moment to thank God for my health—what would my kids do if I got really sick? What would Robby do?

The doctor tried to get me to take pain meds for my neck, but that’s a no go—I don’t like meds and I can’t afford to be comatose at night with two children and a husband on dialysis. Plus, pain meds don’t heal—they only mask what is really going on.

I started seeing a homeopathic chiropractor and his diagnosis was simple—“You are under so much constant stress and you are so tight and stiff, your neck has lost its natural curve.”

Despite being broke, I was able to push some money aside and my mom chipped in and I was able to start treatment with him and he fixed my neck.

But doing something for me was also healing in a way. 

But I also had to change what I was doing.

Unfortunately, I think most of us tend to not continue to take care of ourselves properly when we aren’t in pain.

My neck is hurting again. I can’t think of the last time I sat and tried to process everything that is going on with us right now. I can’t think of the last time I sat and had coffee with my husband and talked about our day.

I know we are no different than most busy families. Life has ups and downs and I’m hoping things will slow down eventually and we can all catch a breath.  

But ignoring your feelings and not taking time to process your feelings and reflect on your life and your health is just another way of masking your symptoms, not much different than taking those pain meds.

Sometimes we need the pain meds—sometimes we truly have heath issues or injuries and we need the meds so we can be and feel better. Sometimes we aren’t ready to face the pain.

But sometimes, those pain meds become a crutch. They become a way to cope.

I think I do the “not processing” thing or the “I’m not talking about my problems right now” thing because I’m not ready to feel the pain, the heartbreak. I’m not ready to cry because I worry I’ll never stop.

I’m so mad right now. I’m so sad right now. But I’m also so thankful for so many great things in my life.
I think at the end of the day, I’m just tired of having to adjust constantly and I’m tired of things being so far out of my control that I can’t even get a grasp on the stress sometimes.

But it makes me realize, I still have something to learn in this life or else the same thing wouldn’t keep happening—this person who causes so much pain and sadness would not still be in my life causing problems if God didn’t have more lessons for me to learn.

I know I have to get better at taking care of myself. I know I have to find a way to quit trying to make everything perfect. I know that raising good children is more important than trying to give them everything they want. I know that I have to stop and have coffee with my husband more. I know I have to finish what I have started and see where this next step takes our family.

And I also know that if things don’t work out the way I thought they would or the way they should, I have to accept that and move on. But most importantly, I have to stop and take time to process the disappointment and to reflect on the joys.

Or else, I’m going to make myself so sick I won’t get the chance to bounce back for whatever new obstacle pops into our lives.

So, this weekend, I’m going to ignore the typical house chores I run around trying to get done and decompress and reflect. I’m going to just let things go. I’m going find a way to find peace in my life despite the outside influences.

I guess that is what I have to learn—I have to find a way to feel at peace and maintain that peace in spite of life’s constant battles. That’s a tough order, but I know I can do this. Ignoring it is not working.

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