I’ve been grumpy for weeks.
Before I had kids, I set up my life to be spacious. I worked part-time so I had ample opportunity to take good care of myself; I could practice yoga, dance, write and walk. I could watch TV and relax. I spent time with friends. I am high maintenance in that way—it takes a good deal of effort for me to simply feel okay. Some of that is because of the anxiety and depression that I am prone to. Some of it is just because I’m freakin’ sensitive—research suggests that some of us are just born with nervous systems that overload easily. I feel things deeply. I shut down when there are too many people around or too much noise. I get overwhelmed. It’s just who I am, and something I’m trying to accept, despite living in a world that places great value and emphasis on doing.
And then we had two kids.
They are gorgeous. They bring great meaning and love and snuggles to our lives.
And they squeeze out all the extra time.
So I stopped watching TV. I stopped spending much time with friends. We started sending our son to daycare a few days a week. So I could breathe. So I could attempt to tame the sprawl of toys and crumbs and laundry.
And then we had another baby. And I took a part-time job.
It’s a low-paying editing job that I can do from home. It worked for awhile. It felt good to be contributing a little teensy trickle of money to our family. It felt good to use my brain and do something I was good at. Something besides raising two little munchkins, which is amazing, but does not ever leave me feeling wow, I am really good at this.
My husband provides well for us, but there is something in me that can’t let go of my little job. Though it gets in the way of writing. And yoga. And breathing. Though it stresses me out and takes time away from my husband and I.
I am so scared to let it go.
We are so fortunate that I don’t have to work for a paycheck right now. I could be writing more. I could be taking better care of my kids’ mom. So why do I create this problem for myself? This fully first world problem?
Guilt. And fear.
Guilt that I’m a bad mother because I need so much time to myself. That if my babies go to daycare a few days a week, I should be using that time to work. To be productive. To contribute to society.
Fear that people will judge me. That because I decided to be a mom, it’s selfish to want so much time to myself.
Fear that if I let go of my little job, I’ll have to really commit to writing. And then I’ll find out that I’m really not good enough.
If you were my best friend and you were sitting where I’m sitting, I’d say, “Sweet Lord, woman. Go for it. You have nothing to lose.”
My husband says, “The kids go to daycare because it’s good for them and they like it. Your job is not serving you.”
So why is it so hard to say that to myself? To believe it?
What do you do when you get stuck in fear?