While I realize that this quote arose out of a different time, it sent a very clear message to me today.
What prisons do I need to be liberated from so that my children can grow up to be more free?
Today, I was enslaved to anxiety and a relentless pace. I tried to do it all. Mostly I did this because I felt like I had no choice: People are depending on me to get things done, to be here and to be there. Sometimes in two places at the same time. I want to meet my deadlines and not disappoint my clients. I care about people, so I feel bad if I don’t get a chance to write or call them back when they reach out.
I am so tired my eyes hurt, my cheeks throb, and underneath, there are the deep rumblings of anger and resentment. Anger that I, a limitless soul, feel trapped by the many mundane and dueling responsibilities of my life. (I know, I know, why should I consider myself exempt?)
Resentment at not having access to the space and balance my body needs. (You guessed it: I started the day by canceling my yoga class because of all the work I had to get done. Which is not entirely unfounded, by the way, but very frustrating nonetheless.)
And so much anger that I cannot effectively be an attentive mother and a productive business owner simultaneously. I want to be able to do it. I really do. It sounds so great. Ideal, really.
I like the idea of the boys being here in the afternoon while I work. And I value the money we can save by having them here instead of somewhere else. But I am failing miserably, because I can’t focus on either role at all well. Since the beginning of January, I have been trying to fit a full work day in before the bus arrives home with Dylan at 1:53 pm.
My body is rigid with the anxiety of trying to troubleshoot this situation. I tell myself, maybe if I organize it this way today…maybe if I use this tone of voice…maybe if I prepare several nutritious snacks for each of them so that they don’t fill up on candy when I am not looking…but then I would have to do that in my already limited workday, and I would be right back where I started.
Today it felt like everyone started to circle the drain with me. You know what they say: “When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.” Well, I am not happy.
I am not sure what the solution is, but I do know that part of my resentment is about this ideal that I feel but cannot live up to. And the fact that this is probably an unrealistic ideal makes no difference. I am enslaved by perceived ideals which are clearly incompatible with the realities of my daily life.
One thing that’s clear is that my priorities and choices have a lot of influence on my kids. So, no matter how tired I am, I have to engage in the daily struggle to free myself from my prisons. I need to figure out how to get the shackles off of myself so that my children can grow up embracing more of the freedom God intended.
They won’t know how to be free if their mother continues to act enslaved.
I’m discouraged. But I got the message.
Now if I get up at 4 am tomorrow, perhaps I can get completely done with work and have fresh baked chocolate chip cookies ready for the kids when they get home from school…what do you think?