Selfish and Losing It

I’ve been accused many times of being selfish. To an extent it’s true. Lately I have been feeling torn between overwhelming stress and anxiety and wanting to “self care” and instantly feeling like doing so means i’m being selfish.

The management/mismanagement of my kids’ distance learning is really high on my To Stress List. I have taken on many things as a woman, as a Mom, and as a Wife in my 43 years. I have dealt with financial collapse, giving up multiple jobs and opportunities for the priority of family. We have relocated our family among 4 states within five years. All of this was handled, managed, persevered. All of it.

But right now? Right now I’ve reached the breadth and width of my capabilities. I am now understanding the struggle of admitting limits. I am just trying to reconcile that I have simply reached the end of the proverbial rope.

What does this mean? It means every little new piece of information that I have to handle triggers my “FUCK THIS” reactors. There is a reason I am not trying new recipes. I am one charred crust away from total meltdown. My kids have seen me meltdown over some pretty basic shit the past couple of weeks, and that’s just what I couldn’t manage to hide them from. They haven’t seen the total bathroom and closet breakdowns.

In this, I know I am not alone.

I appreciate everyone is doing what they can to survive this crazy time. I do. Being locked in a house with just your family for apparently months on end does it’s own kind of damage. My marriage has always been a strong one. Right now it’s pretty shaky. And it’s from outstanding stresses and expectations on life.

Are there people in worse scenarios? Yes. I am not living their life, so I can only focus on mine …. and the Corona Lockdown makes it so that you can’t get perspective in front of you. You have to go online. What’s online? Home bakers. Home schoolers. Sewers. People saving the world with masks and soda bread and instapot recipes and fun scavenger hunt ideas to really gel that family bond.

My reality is two working parents two people who are both supposed to be working, but one is always having to put responsibilities aside for the greater stress and mental breakdowns (i.e. distance learning) of the family. One is always having to plan the meals, cook the meals and deliver the meals. One is always having to have a running ticker tape of family needs, psychological perspectives for everyone, pantry requirements, pet needs and overall family health while juggling guilt over not doing more for work, guilt over not doing a better job of teaching, guilt over not “just woman up” and getting through it with grace, beauty and new recipes.

I have found the end of my rope, y’all, and it is dangling over a precipice filled with insta pots, gloves, mops and brooms and all the fears of what the future damage of my shortcomings will be.

This pandemic is going to have untold damages. It has forced my son into roles and responsibilities that while overall make him a resilient, strong person, I didn’t want him to learn these lessons at 13. It has made my daughter a resistant learner, a basket case when faced with any obstacle because she is emulating her mother’s reactions to seemingly small things.

There are so many Moms out there doing so much better than I am, and I know comparison is the death of any mental health goal, but seriously. I am just not able to be the strong, independent, capable warrior that I have hitherto been able to squeeze myself into the role of.

And that’s another thing. I am gaining weight like a competitive eater looking to place 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. It’s out of control. It’s all out of control. I am just looking forward to a time I can go places outside of my own home, lose sight of my kids for more than 30 seconds without panicking and maybe eat a meal prepared by hands other than my own. … and i’d like to stop revisiting the boundaries of my sanity on a daily basis.

My stress forced me to go for a walk today and I learned so much about myself. How out of shape I am, how much my body has begun to fall apart. Knees aren’t supposed to mark mileage with ticks and cracks … the entire time. I’m certain I left with a limp and came back with a different limp. I didn’t even make it a mile, but I got out. My frustration and anger kept me company. I didn’t take a phone or headphones, just my roiling rage at all the things that are making me angry. I’d love to say it helped, but I still came back to the same house with the same clutter and mess and knowing that in one hour, I still will have to provide lunch for people.

I know millions of people are in the same boat. I do. I guess I just wanted this out there so you don’t feel alone. There are folks who have it worse, I try to remind myself how thankful I am we can still pay our bills…. but the hard stuff is still just as hard.

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