Hey there, remember me? I used to write for this blog? The last post I worked on but never managed to finish was titled, “How do I do it? I don’t.” It was going to be about the fact that people always look at me – sweaty, scattered, overwhelmed – and sympathetically declare, “I don’t know how you do it.” And how I kind of smile and shrug but my internal response is to tell them how I’m not actually doing “it” and then spout off a list of the dozens of balls I’m dropping all at once. But then that post never got finished because my writing turned into another dropped ball.
I’m a school psychologist, and for whatever reason this school year has kicked my ass more than any other. Of all years, I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case now. There are other school years when I’ve taken courses, had babies, battled depression, switched jobs, or dealt with particularly difficult crises at work. Last fall, I started off strong. Remember that series I did on meal planning and prep? Who WAS that person, and where did she go? It is a weird combination of small things that has just completely drained me this year. I’ve been feeling like no kind of mom, no kind of person, and it’s gone on for way too long.
I’ve been on summer vacation for less than a week now, and things are already changing in a big way. Here are just a few of the things I have done in the last five days:
I grocery shopped. Like, I put actual thought into an actual shopping list, drove my kids to an actual store, and spent actual time choosing what my family would be putting in their mouths. I even stood in the detergent aisle for several minutes and compared ingredients on labels. When was the last time I did that??
I cooked. Two whole times! Considering that it’s been pretty much all pasta and frozen food and takeout all the time for several months, this is a big win. Bonus that I still remember how to do it.
I read a book. No an entire book, but something like 60 or 70 pages over multiple sittings. It’s hardly Moby Dick – it’s actually Anna Kendrick’s book Scrappy Little Nobody, which is adorable and funny and a great transition back to reading – but it’s something. Again, bonus that I still remember how.
I started a new TV series. My husband has been raving about Fargo for years, but I’m generally too distracted to pay attention to anything more cognitively taxing than The Bachelorette (I know…). I’m proud to welcome myself back to the 21st century of entertainment.
I cleaned and did laundry. There’s still a lot more to do, but I’m starting to make a dent into the mountainous laundry pile and our family nest of horrendous disorganization.
I exercised. I pulled some kind of hip muscle, and my back is killing me, but I actually met some of my Fitbit goals for the first time in months the other day. It felt amazing.
I’M WRITING!!! You guys, I haven’t posted anything since March. Sad face emoji. I also started my own website a while back and haven’t written for that since March either. Considering that writing is the best form of therapy and sharing with others helps me to realize my life’s purpose, this is an extremely good thing.
I’m equal parts relieved and horrified to know that my job has this big of a negative impact on my personal and family life. Relieved because it externalizes my struggle a bit. Maybe it’s the job itself, maybe it’s the way I (don’t) handle the stress of it. But it’s not me, I’m not the failure. Of course, I am horrified because I’ve always been a pretty career focused, goal oriented person. In many ways, I love my job – I definitely love my career and what I do. But clearly it’s been just about literally sucking the life out of me.
This doesn’t give me answers or help me figure out how to make my life better or more manageable. I’m just going to appreciate the fact that, for now, I’m back! I’m tapping back into all the best parts of my life, and I’ll hope that the momentum I’m building now will carry me for a while.
Happy summer, everyone!