I am overly overwhelmed with life right now. I feel like I’m in the middle of the most crowded pool you could imagine, struggling to keep my head afloat, and literally no one notices. Or cares. I’m not sure which. Maybe both. At any rate, I’m drowning. Struggling. I need someone to grab my arm and pull me above water and hold me and tell that it’s going to be ok.
I’ve had one hell of a year, to put it mildly.
I’ve had a baby. I’ve quit a job. I’ve said goodbye. I’ve moved cities. I’ve lived with my parents again. I’ve started my own business. I moved into a different house. I’ve renovated that house. I rejoined the corporate world. I’ve struggled hard with my anxiety. I’ve experienced profound loneliness. I’ve screamed. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve loved. I’ve hated. I’ve gained. I’ve lost. I’ve given life.
But even without all of that, I live so many roles that my head feels like it’s about to spin right off my shoulders.
Mother. Wife. Daughter. Friend. Sister. Aunt. Employee. Writer. Freelancer. Niece. Granddaughter. The list could continue.
I’ve always struggled to balance these parts of myself, but this past year I’ve felt like I’m in the middle of a crazed melee for my time.
Work and volunteering and breastfeeding and pumping and a 10-month-old and an almost 5-year-old and a house still under renovation and a car that desperately needs to be cleaned and mountains of laundry and dirty dishes and meals to be cooked and floors to be swept and invitations to be designed and posts to be written and appointments to attend and family obligations and pets and homework and fundraisers and grocery shopping and bills and trying to keep in touch with my friends and then somewhere in there I do actually have to sleep in order to stay alive.
This merry-go-round of life is getting to me in a bad way. I barely make a dent in my to-do list every week before 5 more things take the place of the 3 things I somehow managed to cross off. And no one really seems to get it. If I had a dime for every time someone told me that I can push off my list another day. Another weekend. Another week….
But I can only push it off for so long. Only so many things can take a backseat. And how do I choose? Do I tell my almost 5-year-old that we can’t have her big Elsa party this year because Mama has zero time to make the plans and get the house in order? Do I tell my sister that this Friday might not be a great time for a sleepover when she really needs my friendship? Maybe, I should tell the church I can’t work on the newsletter this month because I am SO OVERWHELMED. Or maybe, I stop breastfeeding so that I don’t have to pump at work and can maybe get a little more sleep at night. That kills like 3 birds with one stone, but it would also cut a bond with the baby that I’m not ready to sever quite yet.
Do you see where my dilemma is? What gives? How can I choose what goes and what stays when it all holds importance in my life? When I don’t want to tell anyone ‘no’. When I don’t want to burn any bridges. When I want to give to everyone. How do I choose?
This might seem so cut and dry to a lot of people, but I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen my mom in the same boat. I still see her in the same boat. I see my friends. I see my coworkers. I see my aunts. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to pick and choose for me … for us … but when you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. And it hurts to know that you may be hurting someone when you ultimately do have to choose.
Just today, I let down a very dear, longtime friend when I forgot about our plans because a birthday celebration was sprung upon me at the last moment and then the baby got sick. I know I’m a bit absent-minded these days. And always late. I know I’m dropping balls faster than I can pick them up. I know. I’m one person playing 20 different characters in my story. I’m doing my best. Aren’t we all just doing our best?
Someday, maybe, I’ll get all these plates spinning at the same time. Someday, maybe, this story will all come together a little better.