Monday, May 24, 2010

reflecting

Today has been a rough day--all kinds of things conspired to make it very grueling both here at home and for Neil at work.  (One thing on the list--there are eleven dead tomatoes in my garden.  And this is the second planting of tomatoes.  All the seedlings we carefully nurtured along were killed by horrible winds, and the second batch got literally drowned over three days of nonstop rain.  I literally feel like I'm going to be sick to my stomach every time I think about this.  It's awful how much these tomatoes are affecting my mood, but there you have it.)  The kids fought almost all day long and when dinnertime rolled around--with a message on the machine from Neil saying he had no idea when he'd be home (I was out visiting teaching when he called)--I looked over to find Juliet and Abigail locked in an epic battle, Abigail with a fistful of Juliet's hair while Juliet pummeled at Abigail with both hands.  Awesome. 

After Neil went back to the lab tonight, I sat down at the computer to work on a grocery list.  Bored, I Googled myself and found my master's thesis.  I read through most of it and got very depressed about how coherent, intelligent, and well-reasoned it was (or maybe that was just in my mind).  I felt guilty for not pursuing the publication of various chapters.  I felt like my brain was atrophying.  Correction:  I feel like my brain is atrophying.  I don't necessarily miss being in graduate school, but I miss the sharpness of my mind that I cultivated in graduate school.  I don't feel like I'm stretching myself intellectually right now. 

This morning while we ran my friend and I were talking about training for upcoming races and what we're planning to run this fall.  I'm excited for those, but I also just feel like I need something to enrich myself mentally and spiritually.  I've been thinking about it all day while I went about mopping and washing dishes and reading stories and picking up books and changing diapers.  I need something.  But I don't know what quite yet.  There are so many areas of my life where I feel like I should be doing better that I get overwhelmed just thinking about it.  I feel like I spend a lot of my days focusing on getting everyone through another day clean and fed, and there are a million other things that are crucial to their and my development, but...where do I fit them in?  Good, better, best, obviously, but sometimes I feel like our button is stuck at "good" and we're not exactly moving upwards on the choices scale.  I want to still be an interesting person who is expanding her talents.  I want to be well-informed about what's going on in the world.  I want to have conversations that do not revolve around my children, beloved as they are.  I want to maintain the same motivation and energy I feel at the end of my church meetings on Sunday and somehow carry that past Thursday. 

Done with the pity party...but do you ever feel this way looking back on your day?  Like you're just sort of treading water and not heading in the direction you'd like to?  (and exactly what are we heading for anyway?  Is this the "season" to be doing thus-and-such, or should we wait until the kids are 5 years older?)

Granted, today was Not a Good Day.  And many days I find what I do as a mother very fulfilling.  But underneath, I still have these worries.  I know I'm not doing everything I need to be doing to reach my full potential, and that is very exhausting and disheartening to think about.  I just don't know where to start.  I feel like I'm stuck halfway--I run before the kids get up, but I haven't showered yet.  I've read my scriptures, but I was nursing Isaac so I didn't have a hand to write down cross-references or to flip around through the pages and really study.  I've cleaned the house, but it's already messy again.  I'm learning about volcanoes as I read to the girls, but I'm not very up on current events.  I eat dinner with my family, but most of our conversation is coercing another bite into someone's mouth rather than discussing family goals or nice things we did for people that day. 

I know perfection is a goal, and the whole purpose of this earthly life is so that we can work towards attaining it, but sometimes, sheesh, it seems like a pretty steep mountain.

13 comments:

aLi said...

I am sorry. I know it just feels good to vent after Not a Good Day. You will be blessed. I am amazed by what you do. Your blog is my motivation blog.
I am saying this sincerely, I read every single word and related whole-heartedly.
Can I send you an invite to my blog? I feel weird commenting on yours and you have no idea who I am. Thanks!

Rachael said...

Ali--thank you so much for that comment. I really appreciate it.

And yes--I'd love an invite!

Jen said...

To every thing, my dear, there is a season. Yours is now a season of messy house and hungry children and dress up and make believe and cuddles and change and tiny joys. There will come another season of intellectual stimulation and enrichment--knowing you, I don't doubt this for a moment--but it is not now. The hardest thing will be to let that go. You cannot be everything all the time. And that is ok. The Lord doesn't expect you to. You just have to do your best in THIS season. I know you can do that, and do that well.

Reba said...

amen to the feeling like that past Thursday . . .

Your thesis was beautiful and coherent and intelligent, but so is your blog and your cooking. And what you write now is probably even more important in an eternal perspective. Either way, I agree with aLi; you're very inspirational.

I hope tomorrow is better.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for expressing your thoughts so beautifully. I know I have those days! Yesterday was a bit like that for me too. Our Air Conditioning motor died so I went with no A/C all day yesterday and through the night, and we still don't have A/C this morning. Hopefully Colt will be able to find the right motor this morning. The high is 92 down here!!! I'm getting hot and cranky.

Dani said...

I'm with Ali. You are an inspiration. We all have those days that make us feel so inadequate and small. I'm sure you'll figure it out (you always do). You're amazing.

Neil said...

You know, I've never really considered Jen's perspective. But I think she's right. I think someday we will be able to do all things. But I know I can't do all things right now. So I need to choose what things I will do all the way and try my best to pick up the rest. And I am confident that I will improve along the way.

Ruth said...

I am in grad school right now being intellectually stimulated (this means I have no idea what is going on) and a lot of times I hate what I am doing. I read your blog to take a break and see how happy you are and hope that someday I can be as good a mom as you.

Kristin said...

Rach, I feel like being a Mom is the greatest blessing. I know this sounds a little churchy, but the greatest tool that Satan can distract us with is our self worth. He wants us to believe we have no self-worth. That we aren't good enough, that we're not smart enough, and that we simply, can't. But we can, we do the best that we can.

I never think about how much schooling my Mom went through, how great of a cook she was (she was pretty terrible though), how much money she had, etc. All that matters to me is that she played board games with me and my friends, went to the pool with me over the summer, played beauty parlor, and sat at the table and dipped strawberries in sugar. Like everyone else has said, there's a time and a season.

Don't be overwhelmed, take one day at a time!

Meghan said...

The growth you're experiencing right now is of more intrinsic value than the grad degree. Even if no one gives you A's when you have a really effective teaching moment. You're becoming more like the Savior. That's the whole point. The other stuff is nice, but it's extra and more self-gratifying.

Anonymous said...

Out of small things, great things are brought to pass.

dud

Marlo said...

I totally agree with Jen. Being a mother is such a sacrifice - truly a sacrifice of everything. Right now you are giving all your time to making sure your little kiddos survive and thrive and that is what the Lord wants you to do. That is very hard for perfectionists (and others) to do, but we have to. I just try to think about how I will feel one day if I spent all this time on myself, when I should have been soaking in that new baby smell a little longer or jumping in mud puddles more. One day it will be your season to focus on yourself. Good luck during this season and good luck to all of us.

Kristyn said...

Hi Rachael, I sometimes feel like aLi because I barely knew you in our Provo ward, but whatever. This subject is something I write about a lot in my journal and was just talking about to my mom on the phone. First, I totally agree with what everyone else said that there is a time and a season, etc etc. That said (and maybe I'm assuming that you feel more like I do than you actually do) sometimes I just need something new to get excited about. For me, photography was it. I'm not amazing at it, but I don't care. It has seriously served a purpose in my life in giving me something to really get excited about the last few months especially.

Also, I just spent the whole time at the park today writing down my summer and longer-term goals. I never did any goals in Jan and I need that direction. I left the park feeling a tons better about myself and where I'm going. (Side note: I listen to NPR while I go running and when getting ready in the morning, it makes for a great way to get in some news while getting other stuff done too. If you wanted to know more about the world, that could be a great way to squeeze it in...if you're an NPR fiend like me.)

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