Sometimes I get so stressed trying to “stay ahead” that I have no idea of where I am right now. I am having one of those moments. Actually, a week of those moments. I love the fall, especially the smells, but as soon as we get close to the month of October, my body starts to tense, getting ready to brace itself to face the next 3 months or so of craziness. I am already finding myself getting easily agitated by others, becoming forgetful, and becoming the person I swore last year that I would not become again. My body is reacting by creating enough snot to flood my kitchen. I am pretty sure I get this “Fall Madness” at the first spotting of holiday decorations. Or, perhaps it’s brought on by the mourning of the start of Football season, knowing that my best friend will be seasonally preoccupied. Whatever the cause, my body is immediately brought on high alert, acting as if the gun is about to bang for a big race. It’s all a competition and I want to win. Best birthday party with the cutest goodie bags, best Halloween costumes, most adorable Christmas card with the picture perfect family, most festive house. The list could go on, and we all know that Pinterest will make sure that it does. Not this time, Fall. This Fall, may I take it one moment at a time. One activity at a time. May I not look at the week’s agenda and wonder how I’m going to get it all done. May I not look at the monthly calendar and hope for just a few blank squares. This Fall, may I say yes to only those things that I truly want to do. May I not give myself too many balls to juggle. May I enjoy and take care of each precious moment, knowing that now is all I truly have. May I not get caught up in the consumerism thrown in my face. May I appreciate and love those that I am blessed to be around. May I be truly happy and thankful. May I realize that my life is a blessing and not a battle. May this season be the one where I refuse to fall.
Five beautiful days of vacation spent with my husband and two of our best friends in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Five days of not being a mommy. Five days of only being responsible for myself. Five days of being able to go to the bathroom without having the company of my 3 year old. Five days of being able to have uninterrupted grown-up conversations. Five days of not having to entertain anyone. Five days of getting to choose and decide what I want to do. Five days of being unplugged from technology. Five days of total bliss.
I’ve been home from vacation for less than 2 weeks now and the transition back into reality has not been easy. Not only is the jet lag a total killer, but my daughter has not slept through the night since we’ve been home. She’s up between 2-4 times a night, which is not at all normal for her. She’s tired. I’m tired. Kirby’s tired. I find myself totally discontent, bored, and restless. No, I do not want to play ponies again for the millionth time today. No, I really don’t want to go to the grocery store, again. No, I don’t want to play outside in the humid, suffocating air while trying to fend off mosquitos the size of watermelons. Time to do laundry again? Seriously? Didn’t I just sweep up all the dog hair?
I find myself grumpy, at odds with life, moody, and just all around negative. While gone, it was heaven to not have a cell phone for 5 days. Now that I’m back, I find myself using my phone as a magic transporter that can send my mind to a different place, offering me escape and retreat from a reality that I am allowing to make me miserable. What is going on?
Can I be very honest right now?
Being a parent is WAY harder than I ever thought it would be. Being a parent of a toddler is exhausting. I have given up and sacrificed much more than I ever thought would be required. I miss my independence. I miss my long showers. I miss being able to be selfish. I miss getting to randomly go to a movie with my husband. I miss my old life. This vacation allowed me the luxury of returning to a life without a child and I loved every minute of it. And then I felt guilty for loving every minute of it.
As I returned home from my vacation, I began to dwell on all that I had given up and sacrificed. We have all heard about the Law of Attraction, that like attracts like. As I was feeling negative and down, I began to only see negative experiences around me. I kept piling up these negative experiences and anything that made me feel like even more of a martyr until I literally was about to explode with unhappiness. I did this to myself.
Once I realized what was going on, I had to take a step back and spend some time alone. I had to stop feeling guilty about missing my old life. Just because I miss being able to be selfish does not mean that I do not love my child; it’s actually the opposite. Because I love my child so much, I was able to stop being a selfish person. I also realized that I had stopped living a life of gratitude on my return home. When I strive to be grateful and to look for the positive, like attracts like and I find myself with much to be grateful for.
Every day I must decide what I’m going to attract. Will I live a life of gratitude or will I search out a list of grievances? I have the choice of being either a positive or a negative person. I have the choice to accept that I have everything that I need in this very moment of time; if I don’t have something, it is because I don’t need it right now. Thoughts and feelings that try to tell me otherwise are deceptive in their certainty, making me sacrifice peace for the promise of an imaginary future replete with all that I believe should be mine. My goal should be to always be present in this moment, turning off the commentary my mind wants to add.
When I am able to do that, then I can appreciate the way the sunlight reflects off of my daughter’s hair. I can become fascinated with the stories my daughter creates while playing. I can (almost) do laundry with a smile, being grateful that my family has clothes to wear. I can sweep up piles of dog hair and think of all of the joy my 115 pound canine friend brings to our family. I can rest assured knowing that every moment is just as it should be. I can be content. I can be at peace.