Haven’t been here in a while.

I haven’t been here in a while. I haven’t posted. I haven’t looked at it. I’ve been too busy fighting. Fighting to use the time that I have when she’s at preschool. Fighting to do everything just right.  Fighting to redefine myself in the absence of the overwhelming constant need of a very young child. Fighting against a wave of depression and anxiety. Fighting against the very thing I named this blog for, unhappiness.

I’m trying. I’m trying to not over analyze. I’m trying to live in the moment. I can’t conquer my world in three hours. I’m trying not to give myself too much crap about money, about not using my degree, about being lousy at making money, about not being a good enough parent, about the words I use and the way that I talk to people.

Self-criticism is a bitch.

I put her in preschool and decided that in three hours a day I should be able to recharge, to make a forty hour a week salary and to clean my house and exercise. Not only that I should be ready to be one-hundred-percent engaged when I pick her up.

Expectations.

Perfectionism.

I know my way out of this. I know my way through this. The first step is admitting I’m not super woman. I’m not super-mom. I am not the person who can simultaneously bake cookies, plan a baby-shower, clean house, invent fifty-three improvements to the app based phone market, while quietly lifting weights. I’m sure that woman exists, but I’m not her.

I’d like to pretend. I’d like to imagine that I’m that cool. I’d like to imagine that I can talk to anyone and not criticize every word as I lay awake at night. I’d like to imagine that I felt confident enough in my parenting to not worry that I was screwing my daughter up. I’d like to be inventive, scientific, fit, and organized. I’d like to do all that and be the mother that my daughter needs.

Truth is, I don’t think I am. I want to be more. But I’m just me. I try to be okay with that.

I wonder sometimes if I listened to hard too all the stories. Everything from Joan of Arc to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Nancy Drew. Women are heroes. They can do everything. And they can do it with perfect hair.  I listened too hard and instead of growing up to be a person, I wanted to grow up to be the hero of my own story.

I find myself wishing I were the hero. Or at least what my more critical self tells me is “marginally competent”.

I try. I try to live in the moment. I try to be a good mother. I try to give enough and take enough so that someday that inner critic will shut the fuck up. I don’t think it will though. See, the goal keeps moving. There’s not really any such thing as good enough.

I know this. I know that the trick is to use a calm inner voice and tell the inner critic that it’s okay. That I’m okay. To tell myself that I’m loved and lovable and that I don’t have to prove it or earn it. I’m loved as much because of my imperfection as in spite of it.

I haven’t been here in a while. It’s a hard thing to fight. I’ll try to keep you posted.

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One thought on “Haven’t been here in a while.

  1. Aww…I’m sorry Manda. Hopefully things get easier for you soon.

    I’ve been struggling with some of the same things. I’m having to really learn to see myself and my time differently…mine is due to the Chronic Fatigue diagnoses though. I’m having to completely realign my expectations on what I can do. I’m having to learn to ask for more help from others. I’m having to learn on focusing in on one maybe two items at the most each day. I just flat out don’t have the energy for more and when you get fevers, extreme exhaustion, muscle aches, headaches, and queasiness every time you overdo it…It’s a great incentive to learn quickly that you can’t do everything and to remember to take care of yourself. What I’ve been struggling with is the change though and feeling sometimes like I’m inadequate since I can’t do what I use to be able to do. I’ve been learning that even though I can only do a small portion of what I used to be able to do in a day, that that’s perfectly okay. It’s hard to cope with sometimes, because I really am a very active person by nature and I really like helping others…but life is all about learning balance. And learning that being the “hero” of your own story looks differently for each person. It’s hard to come to terms with though.

    I find that it helps for me to write a list down of literally EVERYTHING I want to do and then rank the items in importance. That helps me pick one or two items daily/weekly to focus on. And I always have to include at least an hour of rest time each day now…something that I know will let me recharge me and my energy. Sometimes it’s actually taking a nap, sometimes it’s just laying down reading a easy book, sometimes it’s zoning out and watching a TV show while doing nothing else. But learning that the time of uninterrupted rest was okay to do and that I needed it was very hard. I still struggle with it somedays. On the days that I don’t give myself that time, I usually start having minor relapses, depression over the changes, and trouble actually coping with life.

    Anyways, I love you. Hope things get better soon. Miss you. Wish you lived closer so we could hang out a little more often.

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