9.29.2010

So in my family - well, in my one family - if you were sitting still, you were being irresponsible somehow. Or at least that's how we've all internalized it. My mother is incredible. She's gotten older now and she's less crazy, but now she's stuck working all the effing time because, well, because she's an effing midwife and they pay her a lot of money so that she works five million hours. In fact, god, if I look at myself versus my mother when she was my age, well gee, I think I'm doing pretty good since I'm a stay at home mom and we try to live like we're on vacation more. I'm all about efficiency so there's time to party. We are so privileged to be able to fit in all the stuff my parents used to have to squeeze in on weekends and summer holidays or whathaveyou into the regular week with time leftover to veg out.

But then there's this part of me, I suppose, that is always guilty feeling about that veg out time because, you know, then the kids are playing video games or not getting some enrichment that I forgot to do earlier because we were running errands or I had City Fresh or we were out of town or what the hell ever we were doing instead. And then I'm tired and I'm thinking, "holy fuck Jon! why can't YOU take them on a hike and engage them for once?!" And that's where the marriage part comes in.

Because like it or not, there's going to be this division of labor discussion/argument. It's just going to happen. There is more than there is possible to do and at some point every so often, you do nothing in order to do nothing because you've been so busy doing and doing and doing and then when you wake up from doing nothing, there's even MORE shit to do because you took that time off! And yeah, we do things differently and we do different things and I personally have this crazy urge to evaluate it because sometimes I find myself folding laundry while he's busy playing stupid Left for Dead and I'm thinking of the other ten things I needed to accomplish and think maybe he could brush the kids teeth instead of sitting there and then he does it if I ask, but then he doesn't do it right and really we're supposed to be all particular about Aleks' teeth now that he has braces and he needs help being talked into it and I can do that and be gentle, but still insist whereas Jon will just fold and think that whatever is good enough, when maybe it isn't, really. And I'm left to be the bad guy and the one insisting on these requirements.

So it's like this: yes, I have a lot of shoulds, and I'm responsible for many people and I don't want to resent not having the help to create the life we all enjoy, even though I'm not the only one enjoying it, but sometimes I do and sometimes I'm informed that I'm shoulding all over everyone else when I thought I was just doing what they all actually needed to have a rich, full, well-balanced life. I can't figure out everyone's needs and desires plus my own. And there's always always too much to do so that all my time gets portioned out in this fucked up juggling way where there's always a ball in the air and I trade out which one it is at the moment because something's always gonna not be able to be attended to, and even things that shouldn't be there are there, where taking care of oneself or hanging out with friends or reading a book or doing nothing becomes an obligation or a priority to be checklisted. And then I sound crazy! And I realize every woman I know who has children is doing this. Especially with older children. When they're little - if you're a SAHM at least, I don't know about working moms - the speed of life is slower and what the kids require is different and more immediate to their staying alive. When they're older, it's all like everything you do or say is going to absolutely affect who they are as adults and whether or not they read or write or go to summer camp or do enough of any or all of those things is now happening and is no longer a theory of how you're going to parent, but actually what you have to do and they're living it and remembering it NOW. And if you read the internet at all ever, you're wrong about it. In fact, you're pretty much just wrong about what you think because there are lots of people offering their opinions about it all the time and even the things you thought you thought become wrong and you're doing even what you're good at (or thought you were) wrong too.

The best part is the solutions for the freakout that ensues: medication, exercise, meditation. Mind, body, soul. Whether it's giving up gluten, doing a yoga intensive, seeing a therapist, getting on anti-depressants, drinking wine once a week (or nightly) with friends, joining a gym, or getting outside - whatever the recommendation is, it's all MORE STUFF TO DO. Sanity becomes part of the checklist. It's completely insane. We are all just sitting around encouraging one another to be able to stay on the wheel. I don't think there's really some other option though. It's just what it is. Still. It's crazy.

I think we're all in this boat. I don't think I'm unique or alone at all. I don't think there's a way to change it. In fact, these days, I don't even feel crazy overwhelmed by anything more than all the opinions I'm finding that I'm doing it wrong. The whole medical nonsense for my son that is always ongoing is of course frustrating, but if I bitch about that it's just to say it out loud, to process, to vent. It's not to look for a change or to drop something else. There's nothing to drop or worth dropping. Shift, maybe, sometimes, but nothing to give up completely and shifting happens in a constant manner.

Oh! Getting back to the overall summary, right. I went on a big tangent...
1) I am busy.
2) My husband is busy.
3) He gets annoyed with my busy and I with his and both of us, at times, with our own.
4) He tells me mean things like, "you're uptight," because he is annoyed with my busy.
5) I internalize this after months of feeling confused because everywhere I look I see, "you're doing it wrong! You should be (check all that apply): serene/patient/gentle/more fit/less tired/prettier/wealthier/craftier/less crazy/better at gardening(cooking, baking, writing, reading, working, talking, friending, managing, arting, gifting, cleaning, concising, projecting, not projecting, spending your time, handling your emotions, raising your children, not raising your voice, um, et cetera), and et cetera et cetera et cetera..."
6) This internalization leads to a large conversation born of self-hate/doubt:
    a) if I accept that I am uptight it is because
    b) I am busy/stressed/overwhelmed because, well, I just am, this is a condition of being in your 30s with children and
    c) the husband is not alleviating this because
    d) he is busy/stressed/overwhelmed and upset that I am busy/stressed/overwhelmed so to alleviate this I must
    e) be less busy/stressed/overwhelmed in consideration of his feelings because
    f) I can only control myself. Except
    g) why am I then the one doing all the controlling of oneself? Why am I the problem-solver? Isn't that just
    h) more to do, leading to more busy/stress/overwhelm? So...
    i) if I accept that controlling oneself is simply more busy/stress/overwhelm,
    j) is there an alternative where there just IS, where one can just be? Perhaps
    k) nothing is good or bad, everything just is.
    l) if I accept that everything just is, it follows that judgment about judging (and many other things) is largely unnecessary and that
    m) I can just let go and be what I am and do what I need to do and just not judge it. Does that mean
    n) that not judging/letting go looks basically the same as where we were to begin with? Which just makes me think
    o) "It's all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes." Great.
    p) Cruelty, manipulation, meaninglessness.


Glad I solved that existential dilemma.

So I ask, is it possible, and more importantly, should it be the goal? "It" meaning just being. Nothing is meaningful or important, or everything is but not as important as I make it out to be. And doesn't it remain true that we still need to talk and think about all this anyway in order to constantly understand that all is well and nothing is fucked, dude?

2 comments:

controllingaspicyuniverse said...

Oh my God oh my God. You just totally pensieved that shit right out of my head and typed it up.

So busy and so worried that we're not busy enough. That what we're doing with our busy isn't what we're supposed to be doing and what are the long term effects and goals and blllllllegh.

Glad you're writing on here again. Looked it up on a whim.

Marblehead Johnson said...

She's stealing my brainthinks! Stop it! :) Sadly, 'talking about it' is the last thing that happens around here.