What was I thinking having three kids?
I mean, I love them, but who went and told them they could have their own social lives?
My life has turned into a maelstrom of meetings and play dates, educational outings and activities, birthday parties and sleepovers. Add that to my own [limited] social calendar and my outta-mind anxiety is over the top.
A dear friend once commented that a fellow mother reentered the real world more smoothly and earlier than I, perhaps because she came from a large family and was better equipped to juggle multiple responsibilities at once. She was busting my beans for being incommunicado for most of my child’s infancy, but it stung. Because I was an only child, I sucked at balancing the many demands of life? More so, I think it hurt because it hinted at my inability to cope. In a subconscious effort at self-preservation, I had compartmentalized my life to its limit. The new job of mothering was so all-consuming, I shut out all other demands like the airlock of a submarine to prevent an all-out deluge.
Nine years later, I feel myself pulling back, anticipating catastrophe as life – mine in relation to the swirling schedules around me – ramps up big time. Can I truly not handle all we’ve taken on? Or is my anxiety creating a problem before it’s even – or will – begun/in? I think my struggle is a direct result of my anxiety and not from a need to learn to say no.
It could also be the stubborn mule in me that hates change putting on the brakes. My family no longer exclusively rolls as one unit. The oldest is here, the middle is there, the youngest is home with Daddy while I run errands. Going to the grocery store by myself and buying Christmas gifts without acting like an art smuggler to keep them away from prying eyes is a luxury – but our family life feels so disjointed lately. Times of transition are not my friend.
Another friend once left me a message – somewhere between the two points on today’s timeline – that I couldn’t just stop answering the phone because I was stressed out. It amazed me that she could see me more clearly than I could see myself. When I finally did talk to her, she made me laugh and at least temporarily forget my troubles.
I need some sort of mental intervention now. If only I could enact one myself.