A few weeks ago when I was on the way out to run errands – prior to spending a weekend out of town speaking at two separate conferences, followed immediately by a week of intense distance training for a summer teaching engagement – my husband looked at me and said,
“You need to stay home and take a nap.”
I told him I couldn’t. I had too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. Every free hour I wasn’t checking something off of my to-do list was one that felt wasted.
So I went. And when the time came for me to pick Miss E up from school, I found myself sitting on my couch in tears, exhausted, begging a friend to visit with me and finish taking a black Sharpie to the edges of stacks of business cards I needed for the weekend. Just one of the things I hadn’t finished on my list, and not the last thing I needed to do, either.
I’m five months pregnant. I have a curious, willful toddler. I’m lining up writing opportunities which really excite me, and anticipating a rigorous 10-week teaching job that begins in June. I help to moderate a local mom’s group and organize weekly events I am obliged to attend. I’m also (allegedly) working on a second novel.
I. Am. Busy.
But this is absolutely no excuse not to take care of myself, even though I have to admit I am doing a really lousy job. In the past I’ve looked at what I’m responsible for and found places where I can step back or even step away completely. I’ve learned to say “no,” even if I’m not always very good at it. But now? I can’t stop being a mom. I can’t stop supplementing our income. So what can I do?
I can meet my husband’s eyes when he gives me some really sound advice, and say,
But don’t tell him I said that.
I can’t give things up, but I can prioritize. Sometimes I just want something done so it’s done, when really, the urgency is all me. And I can ask for help before I’m reaching for the phone in hysterics.
I’ve also had to spend a little less time with the things that I feel need my attention; some of them, good friends who I know deserve better. It’s my hope that they can see right now for what I’m trying desperately to convince myself it is: just a moment in time. Things will shake out, settle down. And when they get wild again (I have a
bump hunch it’ll be late September), hopefully I’ll have learned something from the last month and the weeks to come.
Take a nap. Everything and everyone will be there when you wake up.