Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Experiment, Day Three. Work and Play?

Holy smokes! What happened to my life?!

Monday was a day of optimism. "I can do this! I can get a handle on everything. Life will be beautiful, to wit, to woo!"

I said my morning prayers. I got Niko ready, brushed his teeth, kissed his head, and loaded him on the bus. I worked out with Nina underfoot. I started to clean the house. Wait! Play! I need to play! I will, I swear. After I do this. After I do this. After I do...I'm not feeling so well.

Tuesday. My kids are under the weather. Luke came home early, sick. I cleaned. Prayers. Niko, school. Quick but efficient workout. I have eleven pieces to read and critique. I did five. Off to my writer's group, hooray! My head's exploding.

Today is Wednesday. My kids are sick. My husband is sick. sick. Everything is taking me 20 times longer than it should. Do I even know what balance is? Are there really 24 hours in a day? I don't believe it. Perhaps this is an off-week. But then, we've all been sick off and on for the last two months, so maybe this is how it's going to be for the rest of my life. I'm not accomplishing what I want. I was hoping that I would learn to prioritize. I was hoping that suddenly I would realize, "Oh, x, y, and z should totally be at the top of my list!" I expected everything else to settle to the bottom. And scheduling in play should decrease my stress, right? Right?!

Oh, Self, I'm laughing heartily at you. You're so sweet and so naive. But even though this experiment is going down in flames, I'm going to keep trying. I'm learning some things, and that's what experimenting is all about, isn't it?

I'm learning that I don't have any concept of balance. None whatsoever. I'm also learning that you can't divide it neatly into increments, and some things refuse to be defined.

I'm a mom. That's what I do, and it's work. It's also play, but I'd say most of it is work. There's laundry so the kids have clean clothes. There's meals so that they can be strong. There's bath time and nail clipping and disciplining. You can't tell me that disciplining isn't work.

There's also the lap cuddling and soothing. There's putting shoes on, and walks, and kisses. That's play, although 20 seconds ago I was disciplining. (Work.)

What about writing? Is it work or play? I enjoy it (sometimes) and it's hard (sometimes). Does that make it work and play? Researching markets is work. Writing forums are play. Unless it's something necessary, and then it's work. Unless I'm enjoying it, and it's play. Dig?

This is forcing me to look at my life, and it's been a while since I have done that. I still can't decide if my sadness is from what I'm filling my life with, or if it's something that I'm not filling my life with. It might be living in this horrible town. It might be coming from within. Maybe it's genetic. Maybe it's economic.

The best thing, though, is this realization: when I'm down, I struggle to break the surface. I'm very, very proud of that. I'm not the type of person to give up.

So the experiment marches on.


Elise Jones said...

OK, my brain's not engaged enough at the moment for me to compose the response I want to, but know that I'm out here empathizing with you and want to eventually articulate something supportive and hopeful. Take care!

Rachel said...

Oh I'm so glad you're not giving up! Yes, the work/play distinction is hard - don't we often think of them as things we *have* to do vs. things we *want* to do? Maybe we should just start naming them for exactly what they are and leave the work/play connotations out. Because work can be a lovely thing, and parenthood has taught me that play can also be tedious (Candyland for the millionth time, anyone?).

I have, though, found that over the past few days as I have read from the scriptures and prayed every morning, I've changed a little. The house has still been a wreck and the children have still been, well, children. But I've felt a lot more calm about things, and at peace. It's been good. Especially since the thought-that's-not-my-own that I keep having over and over this week has been "Be gentle with yourself" in some form or another.

I hope things get better at your house! And I hope you'll be gentle with yourself, too. You're doing great things.

Laura Oler said...

I love your update on the experiment -- not because it's not going as well as you hoped, but because you have so many good things you're learning from it. I agree with Rachel -- the best thing is to be gentle on yourself. So I don't have a blog and I haven't exercised in a week. But Jonathan and I had fun randomly wandering the mall and riding the 25 cent carousel during school/preschool. So my house is still in need of vacuuming. So what? And you took on the experiment in the first place -- I wasn't even up for that! Kudos to you and I'll keep learning vicariously. :) But I do hope you come out feeling better about yourself. You really are amazing and deserve to feel happy with your life.

Janyece said...

I just love you! The experiment hasn't worked out the way I'd planned either. How'd that nasty sickness get from where you are to where I'm at, huh??

Putting shoes on kids is play??? Not at my house! lol! Did I mention I just love you?