Overwhelmed. That was me a couple of weeks ago. There were a few incidents at the beginning of the year that were screaming to me that my life was getting a bit too stressful for me. I don’t think I was listening. So, a couple of weeks ago, this culminated in an incident with the kids that made me realize that I could no longer carry on the way I was. I was breaking everything around me. It was bad.
At the time, I felt like I was in an impossible situation. I felt trapped. I didn’t know how to ‘fix’ things. But with the help of the loved ones that make my support system, they have made me see that I need to focus on 2 things: 1) Accept that for now, I am the way I am. I am broken; and, 2) Forgive myself for being this way. Honestly, I have spent most of my life trying to always be 100%. Because if I’m not trying to be 100%, then I’m not trying hard enough, right?! Yes, I have very high expectations of myself and, consequently, I have high expectations of others (I blame it on tiger parenting! Hahaha…). But, that is a COMPLETELY different story.
So, for the past couple of weeks, I have been daily, hourly reminding myself to accept that this is just the way things are for now. If I can’t focus at work, then I have to accept that; not force myself to keep trying to focus on work. And, as hard as this has a been, if I am not up to the task of spending time with the kids, then I have to accept that I need to let Brian pick up my slack. I am not 100% right now because I am broken, so I can’t expect myself to be 100% in the things that I do. And I need to stop trying.
Acceptance has taken on many forms in the way that I get my work done, the way that I am with the kids and in my relationship with Brian. It has helped much more than any amount of ‘trying’ that I’ve been doing while I don’t have the emotional capacity to do it. I can’t quite describe it, but I think it’s working.
And just as much as I’m reminding myself to accept, I am also reminding myself to forgive. This is much harder to put into practice. Because forgiveness has to be persistent. It doesn’t help if I’m going to forgive myself for now and then beat myself up later. When I said, ‘I need to think about what forgiveness looks like’ to a friend, he said, ‘Stop thinking about it. That’s your problem. You have to think about everything. With forgiveness, you just have to do it. Just forgive yourself.’. Ha. Did he really just say that?! Did he really just tell me not to think?!
So, forgiveness is also a daily, hourly reminder. I am forgiving myself and trying to be kind to myself. In those times where I don’t seem to be able to do much else than exist, I’ve been doing things that are just for me - like going skating, going to a coffee shop and writing or reading, wandering around and listening to music and, most importantly, connecting with my support system, who have been saving me every single day for the past few months. And I am reminding myself to be okay with this. Even if these moments come at unforeseen times.
These past couple of weeks, things ‘feel’ better. I am cautiously optimistic. Accept and forgive definitely feels better than whatever I was doing previously. Much better.
You're not alone.
Parenting is tough, especially with the current societal expectations we have for ourselves. I bet back in the "old days", we would just be happy that they didn't get too hurt before age 12! Nowadays, we hope/expect that our kids are genius, athletic, friendly, charismatic, and just all round awesome.
We all need breaks once in a while. I hope you feel better.
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