Moms. Moms are badass jugglers. We have a running list in our head at all times that ranges from renewing meds, to which bathroom needs toothpaste, to dentist appointments. It’s constant. Somewhere during one of the newborn stages of our offspring we learn how to prioritize that shit.
Bill payment due? Is it already beyond the grace period? No worries, it’s still on time. Laundry done? No, but we still have those too-small period undies so we’re still good for another day.
Once in a while I max out on shit I can compartmentalize. Sometimes it takes the form of reorganizing a kid’s room, other times it looks like a Weight Watchers membership. Today it looked like overspending on something frivolous like hair. Yup, hair. Something about my neglected appearance I can control. Something that is instant. I tried a trend three weeks ago, and though it looked amazing for 48hrs and I loved it, it was just too high maintenance. So I went today to get it done properly. Safely. Low daily necessity.
It’s what we do, right? We make shit easy for everyone around us. Fuck what we actually want. Filling an obligation for ourselves is right up there with the Pap smear, cleaning under the couch, and dusting behind the refrigerator.
Six months ago my husband had surgery on his foot. Nasty, invasive, complicated surgery that made him 100% reliant on me. I put what I needed and wanted aside for what needed to be done for him, and all the things that needed doing for the kids from us both. I was not Sharra for the duration of those doctor’s appointments and follow ups and ER trips and nightly bed-making needs. I was the nurse, chauffeur, drug dosed and appointment maker.
Admittedly I am not the ideal applicant for care taker. I’m opinionated and impatient and I could use a little empathy. Also, my eyes roll back in my head at regular intervals so it’s good I was caring for someone on opiates most of the time in the beginning.
I was kept going by, of course, my husband feeling better and recovering 100%, but also the secret fantasy of getting to take a small, minute, tiny vacation when it was all over. I needed a reset after that crash course in moderate nursing. I just wanted a refresher, to be able to come back and see my family for what they are- a blessing. Not the heavy obligation they were feeling like.
Selfish? Totally. But it’s honest. It also did not happen. We sold our house and bought in another city instead.
I’ve struggled with feeling like I have lost my own purpose. Stay at home moms probably understand this. You are everything for everyone and that becomes priority. Why would you need new shoes when jr has worn his through to the black top? Why would you spend money on a bra when your kid has outgrown yet another size?
But also, why don’t you want to have sex anymore or smile and laugh like you used to? What do you mean you don’t feel sexy or in control of your feelings when you are covered in everyone else’s issues and demands and body fluids?
Right now I’m in a foggy stage of life where I’m trying to take more control of my negative talk. I’m aware I have two kids who are of a very impressionable body-aware age. My kids are more independent and capable and I’m left with a little extra time to deal with me. I haven’t seen that person in a while and it takes some time to get reacquainted. Things have changed, I find value in different things than when I was 30. I feel differently.
Today I got test results placing me firmly in the “pre-diabetes” range. Having a father who was insulin-dependent nearly my entire life, a mom who was diagnosed as a senior citizen puts me at higher risk. It’s a big fucking deal.
My dad died when I was 25 from congestive heart failure 4 years after a quadruple bypass surgery at 49.
I get the severity of lifestyle choices.
So instead of freaking out and losing a little of my mind, I quietly decided to eliminate a major food group for myself- carbs- and try to look better than I felt about myself on the inside by having a professional fix my hair.
I am working very hard at this moment not to let my anger and frustration determine my attitude. I am working very hard to deflect shit that is not mine to take on, and try to find a quiet corner in my house where I can rock happily in a corner and hum along to the voices in my head.