I want to change the world, instead I sleep.
I want to believe in more than you and me.
But all that I know is I'm breathing.
All I can do is keep breathing.
All we can do is keep breathing
Ingrid Michaelson, "Keep Breathing"
I realized - I can't do everything I want to.
I know. Deep.
It sounds a bit negative too, but ever since I had that thought I actually feel quite light. Free.
Let me explain a bit more. I've known for a long time that I can't "have it all" and I've never really wanted or expected that. I knew that every choice had trade-offs. Choose to stay home with my kiddos - no high powered career path. Choose shrimp scampi - no steak and potatoes. Choose another baby - put some things on hold again - like learning guitar or becoming a doula. You get the idea.
But still, we humans take a long time to learn some lessons. And many lessons we must learn over and over again. This year I had to reset my speedometer back to almost zero after Carter was born. And I did it quite easily and joyfully. But as the months have slipped by, expectations started creeping back into my brain.
Last year when I was pregnant I was able to take really good care of myself. I did start learning to play guitar (well, I started that before I was pregnant, but continued right up until I was about 5-6 months along); I continued yoga; I took naps; I ate well. As I expected it is harder to take care of myself this year with a newborn. But I know that it is important to make time to do things that are good for me, so I'm working on it. (Move, make music, and WRITE are my top 3.)
But of course I have chosen to home-school my 3 amazing kids - so that must take top priority most days. And while unschooling gives us a lot of freedom, it is still a full time commitment to be available to my kids and support them to the best of my abilities.
Then there are the less important, but still necessary, tasks - you know, like laundry. And Marisol wants to be vegetarian now, so we need to kick things up a notch in the kitchen. Every few days I like to bathe; and, cutting my nails a couple times a month takes a few minutes. I wash diapers every other day and clean the kitchen most mornings. And why are the kids hungry so often? (Ok, so keeping us fed is kinda important, but also so... daily and mundane!)
On a grander scale, I want to create a community that supports me and my family. And I want to help others. I want to re-imagine the world so that injustice and hate no longer have such prominent spots on the nightly news. I want to be a role model for my kids and show them how to help others and how they can help make the world a better place. These things are... noble, but, when I dwell on them too much and feel like I'm making little progress they can start to bring me down too.
And I haven't even mentioned yet how every week I call and text and email our peeps, to make sure we see friends on a regular basis. Trying to find time in schedules packed too tight with soccer and gymnastics, drama class and piano is no simple task!
And afternoon nap still is quite high on my priority list. I've grown to like being well rested.
I want to do all these things - great and small - but I often struggle to even keep us all fed and even-tempered on a daily basis. And so, I finally realized: I can't do it all. It's not possible. Not in one day. Probably not in a week or a month. Over a lifetime... maybe.
I've been feeling better on the days where I have a couple of small goals. For instance, one day I focus on laundry, the next on playing with friends, and the next on cooking. I've decided that the best time for me to write is a few minutes before bed. And I did some stretches and exercises with Marisol yesterday.
Maybe you will feel some relief with this thought too:
I can't do it all, but I can do something!