When my son started crawling I entered the most challenging period of parenting I’ve experienced thus far. In this past week I’ve felt more moments of panic that a situation is spiraling out of control than I can even recall. Between the needs of my emotionally charged, strong willed daughter and my curious, fast-kneed son I literally cannot maintain my footing or my grasp from one moment to the next. I can thank only dumb luck for the fact that we’re all still in one piece, both physically and emotionally.
Work is similarly stressful right now and I feel I’m only barely keeping a hair’s breath ahead of everyone’s expectations. The smallest stumble and I’ll fall days or weeks behind. The prospect is terrifying.
Both at home and at work my stress levels are at an all time high, and yet I’m handling it all relatively well. Sure I’m frayed around the edges, and I’m making coffee for myself every morning before school (I have NEVER been a coffee drinker), but my meltdowns are at a minimum and my husband and I are still getting along.
To what can I attribute my relative “success?” I think I’m managing because I’m investing in myself.
I just started an online writing course via Berkeley Extension and while I will definitely be struggling to keep up, I’m already so excited by the reading and writing I’m going to do.
I’m making a really concerted effort to meet up with other women and socialize: I started a monthly dinner date with the mothers from my daughter’s school. I finally had drinks with a mom I’ve always really liked. I reached out to old friends that recently had babies via Facebook. I have plans to get brunch with a friend in my old neighborhood I rarely see. I bought tickets to visit my college roommates on the East Coast in October and I’m even considering the Vegas trip with my work colleagues in the new year.
I’m also exercising three times a week, which is probably the single biggest contributor to my stabilized mood. I can feel the stress melt off me as my heart rate goes up and I ALWAYS feel better–physically and emotionally–when I’m done.
Sure my house is a total disaster area. Sure my students are asking when I’m going to put their grades online. Sure I’m not getting nearly enough sleep. But I’m managing, and I’m doing so with minimal personal break downs. Right now, it feels like it’s working
At any rate, I’m doing better than I thought I would be. I appreciate that.
How are you investing in yourself these days?