Monday, June 3, 2013

Controlled Chaos

I’m just going to write today. NO prompts. NO outlines. Just ramblin' my mouth off. I wanted to start this blog to really talk about things that most of us moms experience. So, this is going to be off the cuff and genuine. Maybe a tad bit disjointed, but just what's been on my mind. 

For me, being a mother is like managing controlled chaos. It’s nothing like what I imagined. I live in a daily state of chaos, but manage to keep that volcano from ever exploding. Yet, daily, the lava creeps dangerously close to eruption. It’s this state of controlled chaos that has me ever so uncomfortable. It doesn’t keep me on my toes, but walking on eggshells. I described to my friend one day that I felt like one of those Chinese Acrobats with spinning plates on sticks. At any given time, one of those plates were going to fall but I was bouncing around trying to prevent that from happening. While I had my eyes on those spinning plates, I was missing out on everything else that was happening. It's an awful feeling being stuck in this space.

So, I decided in the last year to take charge of this state of uneasiness. To do so, I had to take a real and honest look at my life and decide to make some changes. It hasn’t been hard to make these changes, but it was not easy to make the decision to do so. See, it's easy to stay in neutral. But, change requires being brave and taking risk. It has been EXTREMLEY hard to face and look at who I am. I’ve had to take time to really SEE why these chaotic feelings were happening.

I think that a lot of mothers live in this state of controlled chaos. With the increasing demands that are placed upon us, it’s impossible to feel like we can handle it all without stress. We are expected to raise perfectly behaved children who eat wholesome, organic meals that are well-balanced and presented in a fun way like suns and panda bears with balloons made out of cherry tomatoes.  Us and our well behaved children are to be worldly and wear neatly pressed clothes and fedoras. We give the best gift favors at perfectly themed birthday parties. We are expected to have immaculate houses, equal to that of a model home. We must highlight and contour or faces, blow out our split-end free hair and drive the best of the best SUVS. Our husbands come home to a wife who is glad to see him and we are expected to listen to them, our friends, our kids all complain about how HARD they have it. We give our "uh-hums" and "It'll get betters" and smile our little fake smiles.

But, these things are rarely true, even when we construct facades that indicate that we ARE all of these things. Houses that are too immaculate lack life. Kids rarely eat anything you give them and moms are just so tired to cook. Women barely shlep on mascara on busy days and often steal ideas for gift favors off of Pinterest. Heck, do most of us find that we resort to shaving just our lower legs most of the time? Listening to our friends complaints? Is that on my calendar??? Oh, wait, you posted it on Facebook. Oh poor you...Wait!? Did I forget I'm in charge of snacks for today's play date?

Who has enough time for it all?

My house has toys scattered about. There is probably dustings of crumbs in the nooks under my cabinets. My stainless steel appliances probably have hand prints and smudges from the impatient hands of my children. You could probably find a fruit snack wrapper in the toy bin. My car is full of dog hair, Goldfish and crayons. WHY? Because I don't have a housekeeper. My kids drink juice, and YES it’s not made by me. And, dinner? Well, on any given night we MAY be eating breakfast for dinner and it isn’t in the shape of anything but scrambled eggs.

And, the glorification of busy….that’s another thing that bugs me! It’s like we have decided to equate the amount of “busy” to how “important” we are. What the heck is that about? Since when is having free time such an oddity and looked down upon? You ask someone, “So, how have you been?” and you automatically get, “Oh gosh! I’m so damn busy”. When did we stop saying, “I’m doing great. How about YOU?”

Believe me, I get how busy we are. We really create that for ourselves. And, we take pride in how busy we are. I found that I met each invitation with a laundry list of tasks I was busy with which prevented me from doing anything. I did not like it. I didn’t like BEING that person.

Really, I don’t LIKE being busy. I find that it makes me feel out of control. I know some of the busy things I have I cannot CHANGE and have to do. Like the kids’ school and therapies and activities, blah blah blah. But, I don’t like not being in control. When and why did this happen? This happened for a number of reasons. I like to be able to accomplish things. And being busy prevented me from accomplishing a lot of things I wanted to. I had a growing list of to-do’s and less time to do them. This in turn contributed to my feeling of not being ENOUGH.

So, back to the changes I wanted and NEEDED to make. My horseback riding instructor pointed out to me that I wasn’t really taking care of myself. She gave me this great analogy – It’s like being in an airplane emergency. You put your oxygen mask on first before you put on your children’s masks. And, it’s when she told me this that I realized that I wasn’t even taking care of my needs and happiness which was directly affecting the quality of “MOMNESS” and “WIFENESS” my family was getting. I love her. She’s made me see more about myself than any other person lately…but more about her some other day (really soon actually!).

Taking care of myself…why was this so HARD? I mean, I had food, shelter and sleep. But, I needed more than that. This didn’t mean that I needed to spa it up or just spend every free second on myself. But, it meant, for me, that I needed to schedule things just for me and not cancel it for anything. Something that didn't revolve, involve and include my kids. It meant I needed more time ALONE, more time with FRIENDS, more date nights with HUBBY, and more time to just RELAX. It meant that I had to grow some balls and say NO once in a while. It meant that I had to stop being so damn busy that we didn’t have time to just lounge around and do nothing. Because doing nothing is not a bad thing.

I’m going to write a little bit more later about the changes I’ve made which I believe made me a better woman, mother, wife and friend. I believe that some of these simple changes gave me some breathing room. I have never felt so relaxed, less pressured or happy and fulfilled in my life. I’m no zen master and I'm dangerously close to the cray-cray on some days, but I am not running around with my head cut off anymore. I enjoy the company of my family and take pride in knowing I have time for people and things I need to do.

I hope you will share with me along this journey. I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and stop trying to be so perfect. It’s really a path of destruction!

Share with me if you have time if you agree with me! Can I get an AMEN?! What do you do to CONTROL your chaos?

1 comment:

  1. Amen.
    Last week I heard the same analogy. It is something we need to remember. I am working on letting go of some things and just doing what I can. I get so many ideas for food, crafts, projects and stuff from Pinterest, some are good and upon reflection, some are probably not so good for me.


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