I had tea with a friend last week, and after she had gotten the weights off her own chest, she looked at me and asked, “How do you keep it all together?”
While it’s not the first time someone has asked me that particular question, or implied that my life was perfect, or commented about how I don’t struggle with jealousy/inadequacy/anxiety/fears, it always makes me very uncomfortable because: I don’t. I don’t keep it together at all. Some days, I am falling apart at the seams. Some days I want to stay in bed. Some days, I. Just. Can’t. Deal.
I spent a mostly sleepless night last Saturday, worrying about things that escalate from “concern-worthy” to “life-ruining” at 2am. Sunday morning, my husband left for his yoga teacher training course, and I crawled back into bed. The kids were downstairs watching (too many) cartoons. I wasn’t able to sleep, but I did spend some time wallowing in self-pity. I wanted to stay in bed, in an empty house, all day. I wanted to take some time to cry alone, drink some tea and maybe read a book. I wanted to take a bath without anyone knocking on the door asking when I would be done. I wanted to let myself come undone. More so on Saturday than in a long, long, time, I wanted to wallow in self-pity and thoughts of This is too hard. That wasn’t an option for me on Saturday, because my husband was away and I have kids to take care of.
So, I pulled myself out of bed and made a cup of tea and had a shower while my older daughter sat on the toilet and talked to me through the steam. I cleaned the house and did laundry and my girls played together and we read books and I helped them with their homework. And then it was their bedtime again and the day had passed and it hadn’t been so bad after-all. I sat in the hot-tub with my husband and we talked and then watched a movie and went to bed and slept soundly. The next day, life didn’t seem so hard. I went for a run in the cold November air and all the storm clouds that had been lingering eventually floated away.
It’s been everything piled on top of each other lately. No one thing has made me feel overwhelmed, but when I pile opening a business with kids with a husband who works and is doing his MBA and kids’ activities and laundry and trying to keep the house somewhat clean and time to train and time for yoga and time for myself… it just adds up to too much sometimes.
So, the answer is that I don’t keep it all together. This road has been difficult. Oh yes, there are blessings and moments of laughter and many moments of connection. But there have also been tears and arguments and angry words and deep hurts. There have been days when I have really struggled to have patience with my kids, let alone finding the strength to get down on the floor and play with them. There have been days when I look around at my house, at the laundry and the dust and think I need help, here. There have been days when I’ve fallen asleep at 8:30 on the couch.
Most of the time, I’m not quite sure what the answer is. Most of the time, I am not able to look past tomorrow or next week. And so, everyday, I get down on my knees at least once or twice and ask for help. I talk to God or the Great Mother or the Universe, or whatever it is that you’d like to call our higher power, and I ask for help and strength and guidance and patience. And I say thanks for strength and guidance and patience. Everyday, I open myself up to receiving, because it has become glaringly obvious to me, that I really can’t do this on my own.