Having It All, My Way

Saturday I had a bit of a nervous breakdown. In the middle of doing a huge pile of dishes I felt myself losing my last thread of sanity for that morning and went ahead and had an ugly cry. Then, I did whatever I do when I am feeling overwhelmed, and cleaned the hell out of the whole house, rearranged some furniture, made a new recipe and asked Madeleine to accompany me in a brass band dance party in the kitchen. I may have also sent a mean text to my husband and taken a xanax. Coping methods, people! They are so varied among us, no?

The most ironic thing about all of this is I knew exactly what was wrong before that ugly cry came out. I was feeling overwhelmed and out of control about one aspect of life (our financial situation) so I projected it onto something that I had more control over (the cleanliness of my house). I do this ALL THE TIME. When I am stressed out about the miles ahead of me on a long run, I switch my brain over to my to-do list at work and start meticulously planning my week and all the new projects I want to start down to the very last email that needs to be sent. When anything is not going the way I want, I clean my house or organize my office space or do anything in which I can control the situation and complete the task. I cannot pay off all my credit card debt today, but I can sure as shit move the end tables around and open up the space in the living room.

It is so obvious to me, and yet there I was, crying in the dishes, needing to clean everything IMMEDIATELY.

So, that is what I did. Maddie "helped" me clean and we (I) spent two hours elbow deep in it, cleaning out all my stress and fear and anger about not having more money freed up and owing on our taxes this year instead of getting the huge refund we usually get and the incredible impatience I feel with wanting to be a homeowner. At the end of it, I was not closer to any of these things, but I had a clean house and a handle on my emotions that may have also been thanks to that lovely anti-anxiety medication and the impending arrival of ALL THREE OF MY BEST FRIENDS.

And that, friends, is how my day got even better. Not one, not two, but the complete trifecta of my favorite and most supportive women all came over and hung out in my super clean and newly rearranged living room. We ate the frittata that I had just learned and executed making, annihilated some Girl Scout cookies and washed it all down with bubbly and locally brewed Western MA beers. We laughed, Maddie climbed all over them and I had hours alone to remember that having it all is possible, but it can all be pretty fucking overwhelming.

I am trying to do a lot.

Really, this is my daily to-do list:

Raise a kind, socially conscious, self-aware child
Have a loving and supportive marriage
Be a great friend
Excel in a career and climb the jungle gym (yep, I am reading Lean In!)
Train for a marathon
Be involved in my community
Cook healthy food well and often
Meet the beauty standard that I have chosen to set for myself
Manage an anxiety diagnosis
Be a great daughter/granddaughter/niece/aunt/sister-in-law
Read books/journals/blogs on  daily basis

I can do it all, and I will do it all, but I just wanted to come here and say that it is hard. Worth it - hell yes. My own personal decision - absolutely. I could stop doing any number of these things if I wanted to, but the thing is, I don't want to. This is me, this is how I have always been and this is how I will always be and I love it and I think that it is something that other people see and appreciate in me. Hell, I think it even motivates some of the people in my life to grasp for more, as they have so motivated me. I will raise my daughter and subsequent child(ren) to know that they have many, many choices and however much they want to put into life and goals, or how little, will be completely their decision.

I don't think I will need to tell them, however, how awesome it is when you can do it all, crying into dishes and all.

And with that, I leave you with some pictures, because having it all doesn't happen unless you Instagram it.

My little engineer. All day, every day. 
Her attention to detail amazes me...and makes me know she has a lot of my genes.
17 miles on my new shoes yesterday.

PEOPLE, why had I not read this yet?

Maddie does NOT like being woken up from naps.
But she sure does love wearing her Dada's hats!


Kerry Leitner said…
Um, I ugly cry all the time. I usually do it in the shower. Wash all the tears down the drain so they barely ever existed. I try and wash the anxiety away too. Some times it works. Kids do have a magical capacity to make the day better even when they're the cause of most of the stress. Potty training is the bane of my existence. Seriously. You're a super woman. Hugs.

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