I don’t know how to measure success without work definitions as a yardstick.
There, I said it.
I have no idea how not to accomplish anything. And by “not accomplish anything,” I don’t mean not accomplish ANYthing, and that’s not been easy to recognize either. Like so many women of my generation, I’ve been completely dismissive of the things that I do that are just ingrained in my daily life–cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, walking the dog, working out, grocery shopping, making sure my husband has the brand of pickled jalapenos that he likes in the fridge, and another bottle of them just in case he runs out. I also worry, which my son informed me WAS part of the mom job description, and bluntly one of the things I’m best at…
But I don’t know how to stop… or more appropriately, how to just sssstttttttttaaaaaaaahhhhhpppppp. I don’t know how to measure success right now, or even what “success” means when I’m not working. I proudly told my husband that I actually read a hundred pages of a book yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve been able to rein in my fractured mind long enough to actually read for anything resembling an extended period of time… and I’m pretty sure that was in five- or ten-minute stints between thoughts of something else I wanted to get done yesterday afternoon.
One thing that did help was the book that I was reading, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No one has the Time, by Brigid Schulte. The biggest message I got out of it is that “busyness,” is not just a cultural construct, but a cultural imperative. Some of it is gender-based–I’ve gotten into more than one ups-woman-ship tussle with other women on who’s busier. And as of right this minute, I’ve decisively lost the battle of who’s busier. Or have I? Who wins that battle? The one who’s more fractured? Kind of a Pyrrhic victory.
Luckily, my current mind-state is one that my husband is quite familiar with from the other side. In our prior move, from Texas to Oregon, before coming back, he had the opportunity to stay off work for a number of months. Bluntly, it was AMAZING being taken care of at that level–and he’s a much better cook than I am. When he decided that he would be crazy if he didn’t go back to work, it took him maybe two weeks in a depressed economy with rampant unemployment to find a job. “Employable,” isn’t even the word. He will never be out of a job. But, he understands where my head is…and that’s the key.
I had launched into a number of paragraphs about my fears–and I certainly have them. But whatever those may be, more than anything else, I think I just need to learn how to stop. Stop the fear, stop the worrying, stop beating myself up about things that I have made choices not to change. Time to start doing what I choose to do instead of what I must, even if it’s only for a little while. And, as I tell my husband every chance I get–I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do so. Time to bloom where I’m planted, y’all.
Speaking of which, I planted out the garden with all the peppers and tomatoes and herbs and cantaloupe yesterday (the onions were already in and growing like mad). Last night it got down to 36 degrees outside–hopefully I haven’t traumatized all my baby plants forever. Can’t be good at everything… 😀