I love a story that one of my close friends Anna tells about this “epiphany moment” she had in college while walking home one day. (forgive me Anna, I’m sure I won’t re-tell it as good as you do 🙂 ) But I’ve been thinking about it alot lately.
Anna was terribly upset about a test she had just taken at Berkeley – maybe it was even a midterm or a final? – and she thought she’d done really bad on it. Her mind was spiraling thinking “Omg, I did so bad, I’m going to fail and then I won’t get a good job and I won’t etc, etc”
I’ve definitely been there. I was a ridiculous type-A perfectionist most of school and my version of “failing” typically was a B. Chris would roll his eyes at me when I would come home having similar freak outs about tests and grades, because typically by the end of the semester I would end up with mostly A’s and a few B’s. Although the semester we were planning our wedding, I think I got a few C’s (gasp!) Which is so funny to lack back at now, because honestly NONE of it mattered!
Anyway, So Anna was walking home and she saw this cute little house and there was a porch swing, and wind chimes and flowers and a garden. And she had this moment of clarity that no matter what happened, it didn’t matter. She wanted that. The simple little house and just to be happy. And what does she have now? Exactly that. A cute little house with an awesome garden and wonderful family. And in the end that’s what really truly matters.
It’s a novel concept right?
To paraphrase one of the motherhood books I’ve read recently – our culture puts much more value on achievement rather than care. I still fall into that trap sometimes. I get frustrated that I’m not able to do more in one given day. I crank out blog posts during nap times. I sneak away and leave Clare with Chris to go work on my childbirth educator certification at the library. I’m working on a few other side projects, and Monica invited me to join her in taking this awesome happiness MOOC course through Berkeley that starts tomorrow. (More on that later!) Not to mention the other everyday stuff of keeping my house relatively clean, feeding myself, trying to fit in exercize. Oh yeah, and teaching 10 piano students a week. And of course trying to do that all perfectly.
And yet, I feel like it’s never enough.
I’m not teaching enough, doing enough, being enough, achieving enough. And it’s silly really because agonizing checking off a to do list that no one cares about but me is almost as silly as worrying about a B in a college class. What really matters is just being happy and the time I am able to spend nurturing relationships. And I am so grateful for that time. I value the time that I am able to mother and care and be. I am slowly trying to allow myself to disengage from the achievement self I used to so completely identify with. And sometimes I totally fail at it. I am stuck in my head and worried about all the things I “should” be doing or the achievement-based things I want to accomplish. Goals while being a mom of a young baby have become more like “loose guidelines that I eventually will do…maybe” It needs to be a reframing of what is enough, or at least enough for now. Enough for today. I have to remind myself that in the blink of an eye Clare will be in school and I sincerely doubt I’ll say “I wish I had done that load of laundry” or “launched that project sooner.” I recently saw this quote and I love it. I need to remember it.
Around one month
6 1/2 months