Lately I putter through my days, doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Finding it increasingly harder to prioritize my tasks, and organize my time. I leave a mass of half-completed jobs and projects in my wake. I get inordinately frustrated at the way of things...you know, the way of things? The way you scrub the kitchen from top to bottom, and your son drops an enormous glass of orange juice that falls like a bomb, spraying over EVERYTHING the very moment you are finished. The way you find a bunch of clothes you've just washed and folded, stuffed in the dirty laundry hamper, still mostly folded, because someone toppled them out of the drawer when rooting through it, and then figured they must be dirty because they were on the floor. The way growing kids are hungry again 5 minutes after you've fed them, or how someone will always drop by the day the house is at its skungiest (skungy=skanky+grungy, ought-ta be a word, really) and you have just been plucking your eyebrows/have an enormous pimple on the tip of your nose and look like a fright. The way of things (also called Murphy's law). Usually I can be pretty zen about the way of things, but lately I am getting uncharacteristically irritable about the state of the house and my hamster on a wheel attempts at productivity. And I think I know why...
When my sons were younger direction was easy to find. Their needs ballooned to fill any available time and energy that I had. My path was clearly laid out each day, a hundred things I had to try to get done, a race against the clock, no question about what to do next, no time to question, just getting on with all the busy Mom stuff, trying to keep the house together, and myself sane in the process.
Now my sons are at an age where their needs aren't always as clear or as time consuming, for which I am grateful. But while those needs are just encompassing enough to still keep me home full time (they need to be brought home at lunch every day for a sensory break, simply couldn't handle being in regular after school care and frequently spend days at a time out of school with their severe allergy/asthma/sensory issues combo), I find myself, more and more often, starting my day with much less purpose than I need.
The kids are off to school, I pick them up at 11:15am for lunch...what to do next...
I mean, don't get me wrong, the floor needs mopping, the carpets could use a vacuum, there's all that laundry to rewash and what about scrubbing some dried orange juice off the kitchen light fixture? I could fill up my day 4 times over, but I am not the type who can draw much sustenance and satisfaction from such jobs. I need more. I do have phone calls and emails to make...social workers, occupational therapist, respite worker, doctors to coordinate, volunteering and the constant tug of war of negotiating services and accommodations with the school...but OK, the balls are rolling, paperwork is filled, everyone in place. I still need something more.
And I thought I was doing a pretty good job of creating the "more" as I went along. I saw the many women from the last generation, the stay-at-home lifers, losing themselves, losing direction and purpose as the kids grew up, and I took it as a cautionary tale. I knew I needed to create a life for just myself amidst the mothering, and I did. I have cooking and art and writing and friendships and books and subjects galore that I have gotten excited about dabbling in and learning about, and still am enthusiastic for...but lately such dilettantism just isn't satisfying the "more" either. The bread gets eaten, the book goes back on the shelf, paintbrushes back in the holder...and I am still vaguely unsatisfied or just lacking focus...what to do next?
Most jobs come inherent with some structure and a system by which accomplishment is measured...a schedule, a punch clock, a deadline, a paycheck, a yearly review. My job doesn't. And if I start to try to measure my progress by some tangible standard, like is the house tidy? or are the boys doing "well" at school? That's when I am going to drive myself nuts trying to circumvent the way of things...and nobody, but nobody, gets to circumvent the way of things. There will be dried and sticky substances in some crevice somewhere, no matter how much energy I put into cleaning and pretending I actually care much whether the house is clean or not...which I don't particularly, to tell the truth. And a very large portion of how the boys are doing is no longer up to me.
So I believe I have talked myself full circle, but the fact of the faltering purpose, the ennui, the lack of satisfaction and accomplishment remains....January blues account for some of it, no doubt. And for the rest? I need a little more structure and discipline (*groan* I suck at those!), and some bigger goal beyond the dabbling. I love having a project. I need a project.
Blow by blow report from our Nov/Dec 2011 Orlando extended family vacation of a lifetime. Set to private to protect our superhero alter ego anonymity, leave a comment here or email me @ email@example.com if you want to take a gander. Disney haters need not apply.