Recently, I have this crazy urge to run away. Get out of my house, get out of my skin. I think I’ve been teetering on the brink of insanity for some time now and it’s all come to a head. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so stressed. I get brief glimpses of energy and optimism that I am going to be able to find some solutions and get our family life in order. Then I collapse from the sheer exhaustion of trying to keep up with the day to day chaos. Of trying to keep it all together.
I feel as though my whole body is going to come apart, that my skin will no longer contain the explosion from within.
I fantasize about when life was simpler. I could hide away in a room somewhere, giving my heart and soul a break from it all. I could be rid of all responsibilities, worries, and stress from this modern, crazy life. I could be protected long enough to let all of my nerves return to a normal calm level.
I could breathe.
Being a parent to young children seems to have brought out the worst in me. I am exhausted from the lack of sleep and the constant need for me to be on duty. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I wasn’t built for this. That maybe I am just not equipped for so many people needing so much from me. All the time.
I can’t stand the juggling. My schedule feels like a patchwork quilt. I get help for a few hours during the day from a babysitter, and I can call on my mother in law occasionally. It never seems like enough. And if either aren’t available, I’m stuck juggling the kids while trying to work, clean, and manage the household. I am the central point for scheduling and meals and social plans much like other mothers. Plus, our lives have just become so complicated, unnecessarily so. Everything is put together so precariously and constrained that when one piece goes awry, then the whole system fails.
All day long I switch my hats. With my husband also working from home, I wear my wife hat a bit more than some. I wear my mom hat most of all, switching to worker and writer when I get a free moment. Not sure exactly what my own hat looks like. (But I bet it’d be long enough to envelope my whole body while I hide out for a few hours.)
Some days are great. When I’m well rested and the transitions go as planned, I have amazing days. I flow in and out of each responsibility with a sharp mind. Easily able to manage the transition between my roles, and successfully utilizing each segment of time allocated to my compartmentalized tasks.
Other days are hard. When I’m tired. Beat down. My mind driven into fragments by the sheer chaos of our lives. Too much to keep track of. Paperwork and piles of laundry. These are the days when everything seems broken. When I seem broken.
I am not sure of the solution. Today, in a not so strong state, sanity feels a bit unattainable. I do know that I can rely on my network to help. My babysitter and husband for breaks from the kids. My therapist to help me regulate my overwhelming thoughts and feelings. The OT for the kids. My mom who listens.
Time will be a blessing. At least that is what I am told. As hard as the kids are right now, even I can see that every day is an improvement over the last. They are learning to identify and communicate their special needs to us. And we are learning to how to parent them, and how to help them work through it when they get stuck.
Tomorrow will be better; I’ll get a good night sleep.
Wake up with clarity; get more done.
That, in and of itself, sets the tone for a better day.
It renews my strength, my commitment to stay here and stay intact.
I can build on each success and find the foothold for the next step.
A version of this post was originally published on The Sanity Plan.
About the Author
Sara, a.k.a. Sane Mama, is trying to keep the peace in a household of 5 on overdrive. She writes about her strategies for keeping sane (mostly) at www.thesanityplan.com and @thesanityplan on Twitter,@thesanityplan on Facebook, and @thesanityplan on Pinterest.