Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keys to joy

88 wonderful (electronic) keys are back in the apartment and I am quite thankful for the return of my parents' keyboard. Judging by the number of spontaneous dance sessions today I think the girls are, too. All that needs to happen for optimal keyboarding is the soldering of one side of my headphones and hopefully that will happen tomorrow, with the help of my dad.

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I lately feel as though I'm approaching life in much the same way I approached college final exams. I knew they existed and would eventually come to pass, but I tried not to think too much about it and many times spent hours and hours doing just about everything else INSTEAD prepare or study for them. I did manage to acquire a degree in biology with a fairly average GPA (the "just about everything else" often included playing volleyball at the conveniently-located beach.) I'm not sure what that says about a) the difficulty of the exams or b) my intelligence or c) both.

I arrive at the start of each day and for some reason I feel like dragging my feet. I want to put it off. I'm afraid to dive in? Or it's too threatening (!?) to face head on. Or maybe I'll fail? At... something? I'm not sure. I have a hunch it has to do with the fear that I may just maybe might possibly not do something "right." So then I feel hopeless. And do a lot of nothing or whatever is the bare minimum.

It's not really that great of a system. I'm not happy with it. I'm not happy with the resulting effects on my kids and husband. Also me. I miss joy.

Parenting and stay-at-home-momming is intimidating to me. It doesn't really come naturally, at least not all of it. I guess I haven't managed to work out a reasonable set of expectations for myself, yet. Especially expectations that don't hinge (almost entirely) on what my husband thinks I should do or be. Or expectations that result from comparing myself to whichever wonderful friend I have who excels in whatever area I'm mulling over.  Or comparing myself to my mom, or his mom, and what she would do. 12-step recovery work has helped in this regard.

I've been slow to warm up to parenting and stay-at-homing. It was hard for me to leave work, where I felt like I was part of a great team that was doing measurable GOOD in the world and I got PAID for my efforts and there were attainable goals and measurable progress and clear expectations. I knew what to do to make and keep people happy! That's almost always never the case here at home. I don't even know what to do to make and keep ME happy (hint: trying to keep other people happy isn't the solution.)

Parenting is kind of muddy and messy and it's pretty much all I do. That and however much of the house I feel like maintaining, which hasn't been very much, lately.

I'd LIKE to believe that "my best is enough" but that's kind of at odds with a belief I've had for decades and have recently been trying to get rid of: "you're not done until it's perfect" (how's that one for endlessly depressing?!)

But, through all the muddy and messy parts of parenting and stay-at-home-momming, I'm pretty sure I've come quite a long way in learning more about myself and others and the experience has made me a slightly more well-rounded person. So I guess I'm thankful for that.

But I really wish I could shake this hopeless feeling. The endless, repetitive cycle of chores that are NEVER done, doing them over and over and over again, and even if something is temporarily "done" then I'm probably forgetting something else... it really wears me down.

My best is enough. My best is enough. My best is enough. My best is enough.

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