Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dreams Pushed Away

A couple of weeks ago I was unpacking homeschool books, my own art and craft books, and art and craft supplies from the move. These were the low priority things that were not necessary for daily life. The homeschool books we needed to use had already been found or re-purchased.

At that time we were still in a negative place regarding homeschooling and dealing with slacker mentality with my older son. I started to get really ticked off.

I unpacked books about writing, writing children's books, collage, and knitting, and some specific art techniques that I have not done in over a year. I unpacked some of my art journals and sketch books and I was impressed with what I saw. Previously I thought I had barely any skill but I was wrong and had been too harsh on myself. These activities I had packed up for 18 months were all things that I have been supressing as I was tending to the family's top priorities: the long distance move, adjusting to the move, and homeschooling.

I realized I did that thing that everyone says women/mothers do. We put everyone else first. We make priorities and handle the top stuff. There is not always time left over to do the things that are not essential to life but which feed a creative person's soul. I had become a cliche. How revolting. I swore I would never let myself become THAT woman.

In the little free time I have in a day, in the last month, I have been spending time finishing unpacking, orgazining the house, and finally decorating it by placing wall art on the empty walls. I chose to do that as I felt the stress of living in rooms lined with cardboard boxes, or cluttered hallways, was negatively impacting me and my children. Clutter from moving boxes was #1 on my older son's stress list that he wrote a few weeks ago. I wanted to remedy that.

However since focusing on the unpacking, that meant that prime time for me going to the gym was not happening. I just can't seem to find time to pull it all off. So as I unpacked my arms jiggled and my back strained to lift heavy boxes of books. I moved boxes which smashed against my soft belly. My muscles are not strong. I have not been lifting weights consistently. After hauling stuff up and down the stairs I get winded a bit, my heart is not like it was when I was doing 3-5 difficult exercises classes a week as I was in Life Before Kids.

I want everything perfect all at once but I know it is impossible. I am human and flawed. I cannot do everything. I am trying to do what is most important. This fall has been a major focus on homeschooling then later a shift on repairing relationships in the family and getting back to the good place that we used to be in. There has been little time for relaxation. I became physically sick from stress. Something has to change. I am trying to handle the moving process with balance but the fact is that the hard job of unpacking is difficult for me to do alone and that is what I have here: me doing everything by myself.

I am so imperfect that it is ridiculous. Things are so stressful that some days it feels like I can barely keep my head above water. I keep trying to tell myself that there is no rush to unpack everything but the longer I put it off the more stress I feel from the undone tasks. I can't figure out how to get a decent balance. I am taking things one day at a time and that is all I can do.

In the meantime I hope there is time in the near future to pick up some of my old stress-relieving hobbies like sketching and painting and making mixed media collages. Then maybe when my oldest goes off to college or after I enroll my kids into school I dive into some things I always wanted to do like write children's books.

And I do keep trying to feel grateful each day for the good in my life instead of thinking about what I lack or being upset that I can't do everything I want. It is hard sometimes though to keep denying the reality that I have been helping others too much and am neglecting myself and can't find a balance.

1 comment:

Xa Lynn said...

Even if we didn't have kids, there wouldn't be time/money to do everything we'd like to do - when I was working, I had the money, but not the time. When I was not working, I had the time, but not the money. Now that I have kids, I don't have either.

I have just picked one activity out of many that I would like to be doing - quilting - because I already have a stash of fabric, and we can use the product - so it doesn't cost me anything but time and occasionally an $8 spool of thread. Everything else is still packed away since our move last Feb. Once I've used up the stash of fabric, I'm going to pick scrapbooking, and use up all those supplies (and get my photos organized in the process). I figure those two hobbies will use up every bit of free time I have for the next 5 years...

There isn't room in this house for me to have more than one hobby going at once anyway.