Newton’s 1st Law

An object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest.

But it’s not just objects, it’s people too.

This year, for me, is constant motion. Some days the inertia driving me forward feels overwhelming. I worry that something intractable will force me to stop suddenly, and I will shatter.

My husband is the opposite. He is an object at rest and getting him in gear is almost impossible. I feel like, for the first time in our marriage, I am really and truly accepting of this and instead of feeling resentment, I am simply searching for a force great enough to move him.

Because I really need his help.

I recognize my part in creating this situation. I made choices and now I am dealing with the obligations born of those choices. But a great portion of this year’s chaos is out of my control, and I wasn’t aware of so much when I made the choices that are compounding the chaos.

In the end, I realize I’m wearing none of my hats well. I am not effective in any of my roles, and I feel like a total and complete failure. I know I need to cut myself some slack, but it’s hard. I thought I could do it all and I can’t.

I read the posts by people who evidently can do it all. It’s hard not to compare. I try to remind myself that I don’t have the financial resources to hire someone full time, to provide their livelihood in exchange for a full work-week of their help. If I could things would probably be different. And I no longer have the family help I used to (my inlaws are spending more and more time in Texas visiting their daughter who is dealing with a high-risk pregnancy – this month they were gone for three weeks). Also, some of stressors I’m faced with, I couldn’t have been predicted, and they would turn anyone’s life upside down. I know all this, but still it feels like I’m failing.

I will say, I’m handling it all so much better than I normally would. Sometimes I think I’m going to cry, and my eyes even get hot and watery, but the tears never really come. Instead I find myself resigned to the point of acceptance, and thinking more about what I can do to make things better, instead of reveling in woe-is-me and regret. In the past everything would have seemed intractably bad, I would have felt my circumstances were totally out of my control, instead of being able to recognize the part I played in creating them, and finding ways to think pragmatically about next steps.

{Can magnesium really create these kinds of foundational changes? I don’t know what else to attribute them to, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying new meds and assessing their effectiveness. I have NEVER experienced such an obvious or dramatic change in mood and ability to manage stress.}

So yeah. Life is feeling really hard right now, but I’m getting through. Day by day, I’m making it work. Or at the least I’m making it to bedtime and getting up the next morning. Sometimes that has to count as a win.

{Also, if you know how to light a fire under the ass of an “at rest” husband, please let me know. I’m desperate to get this object in motion.}

6 Comments

  1. The only force that will move him is himself. Despite the love he has for his family I don’t think he will become capable of moving/changing.
    I don’t think you can put down the pressures from your family or your paid job. That seems to leave the PTA and simply telling the other officers what you can and cannot actually do as of right now. That may mean ending some traditions if no one else can carry that load. The concept of PTA is not that one person does it all. Scale back.
    I am impressed with the mammoth jobs you are currently carrying. Also with the maturity and honesty that you are bringing to the current overload situation. Wish I could help more … at all.

    1. I agree. I would do the bare minimum for PTA, or even less. This doesn’t seem sustainable. If you can get through October and then scale back significantly, then maybe do that. I think a lot of the people who “do it all” have paid help. And I think a lot of your difficulties are compounded by living in San Francisco – less disposable income, traffic, parking, etc. Living in the suburbs with an SUV does make life easier.

  2. You totally had the best of intentions when you said yes. Last year I took on a position chairing a committee for a large student conference at the college I work at. Then at the start of the school year last year my test results came back that I was a kidney match for my brother who needed a transplant. The conference was in February this past year and my operation was in April. I was totally in your shoes just putting one foot in front of the other to get through.
    4 days after I was home from the hospital my husband was sleeping in while the kids would wake me up at 6 am. At the time I managed because they would go to daycare/school and I could nap. But it left with even more resentment at the unfairness of family responsibilities then I had already been feeling.
    About a month ago I told my husband that I’m done with our marriage if he doesn’t step up. And actually I’m really struggling now with resentment and finding it hard to get the energy to fix things. I think I totally focus too much on the negative and forget to appreciate the good.
    sorry – this doesn’t really help you but know that you are not alone.
    I agree with comments that you can scale back on PTA. And screw feeling guilty. Maybe if the structure changed so more of the work load was shared other parents would be more likely to get involved.
    Also giving yourself credit that it’s not just magnesium but you doing awesome at managing life stress. I see that you have worked hard in what you blog about in trying to get to this spot where you are less reactive. Give yourself some credit for that!

  3. I’m impressed by your energy and ability to get things done. I’m sorry it’s so hard to get your husband to even help.
    I may appear like I can do, not all, but quite a lot. But, I have a job with 100% flexibility in working hours and I only answer to myself, and I have a 15 min commute to work, and a (state-subvented) day care next door, and a good grocery store within 150 meters. (I have often been shocked by your descriptions of what it’s like to drive/commute in SF. I don’t think I could manage at all). And I constantly wonder how people with actual timetable jobs manage. And our home is still a huge mess! So I at least couldn’t do it all without really helpful living conditions and being lucky re:job.

  4. I don’t know who can do it all. Those people seem to be Energizer Bunnies and I think you’re one of them! I agree with delegating within the PTA officers is the way to go to try to get some help. As for your husband, he’s going to have to do it himself. Using your emotional energy to try to get him moving is going to be detrimental for you.

    I agree with you on Magnesium. I’ve been taking it for a while now too and I have noticed it’s helped a little. Not as dramatically as you state, which is awesome for you!

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