There have been many days lately when I feel as if I am living my life in several separate categories. I wake up and do the mom thing, nurturing, organizing, preparing children to meet the world, while trying to get a start on the housework. If I am able to drag myself out of bed earlier, I get to live in the spiritual category for a bit before the kids get up and I have to switch gears. I spend a large amount of mental and physical energy organizing, planning, making sure all the details of our lives are taken care of - meals planned, shopped for, prepared and cleaned up; clothes washed, folded and put away so everyone has something to wear again; babysitters called for my appointments; appointments remembered and attended on time; birthdays and holidays made special and unique; trips packed for and planned for; diaper bag packed and snacks prepared for every outing; keeping Gabriel up to date on his schoolwork; always trying to stay one step ahead of the game. This is my planning category. It takes up much of my brain.
Then sometimes I am in the patient category, the one where I am the needy girl seeking healing for my body and mind and spirit. I am in this role for more hours out of the week than I would like to be. I switch back and forth at the drop of a hat. "It's time for PT now, I am the patient; OK that's done, I'm the mom again." I resent being in this category. It causes me a lot of frustration.
Of course, I can't forget the wife role. Though it seems as if this part of me gets short-sheeted way to often. I want to make the marriage category more prominent this year. It is tough to get out of the habit of not protecting that space. Most days, my other roles clamor so loudly for attention that by the time they are satisfied, it's late and I'm tired and put off being a wife.
The crafty side of me manages to get some fulfillment most days. It is greedy, though, and always wants more. I feel like I stop being a mom or a provider when I sit down with arts or knitting or something like that. It feels selfish. But satisfying and calming. There is another side that I am trying to carve time and energy out for, and that is the career category. Writing, hiking, creating a web site, teaching - all these things need to be done at some point during the week. How do I make enough time for this category? While still meeting the needs in all the other roles?
The thing that is getting to me is that everything has to run smoothly in the schedule of the day for me to feel successful in pursuing each category of my life. And though I hate to admit it, I am not the most disciplined woman in the world. I try to stick to routines to make life smoother, and yet constantly feel as if I am trying to get caught up in those routines.
I have realized that it is hard to be a mom and a perfectionist at the same time. I have been feeling that same panic I fought in college, where I tried so hard to be good and do the right thing, and that panic tempts me to shut down, to give up and shut others out, to berate myself for not being able to get it all together (I mean, everyone else has it together, right?). It's exhausting to fight against those demons and exhausting to keep up with everything to try to keep them at bay. I think I need some of my children's super powers LOL!!
There must be some way to find a balance - to be able to fulfill the parenting role while still being true to myself and my own pursuits. Maybe there is a better way to merge all the categories and roles I try to create. It's a lot to think about.