Dear Future Self,
You’re really going to be a bitch, aren’t you? I can see it now in how you treat yourself. It’s past noon and you haven’t eaten breakfast let alone lunch. You’re whirling around trying to put away all the laundry that you haven’t been able to put away all week because of out-of-routine extra activities that have been plopped on your plate without consideration that your plate is full.
You’re trying not to fail.
I can see it pretty clearly. You’re thinking of yourself as “lazy” and you’re seeing yourself through everyone else’s eyes. All the times this week that you paused to breathe and hoped to catch up later? You see you didn’t catch up. You regret following the advice of the therapist that you no longer see: Take time to take care of yourself. Bad idea. Who has time to take care of themselves? When you’re taking care of something like a diaper change? The three year old paints the walls. You shouldn’t have done X. You shouldn’t have done Y. You shouldn’t have done Z. Ignore the fact that every time you’ve tried to put away the laundry this week it has been a catastrophe because the kids need extra attention with their big brother back at school. Ignore the fact that you’re tired. Ignore the fact that a friend of yours died in her sleep yesterday morning. Ignore all of that. Lazy.
You’ll be a bitch one day. You see, your children will grow and things will get easier. Not because you’ve somehow gotten it all figured out, but because that is what happens. Children grow and things get easier. You also learn how to be more effective over time because you’re constantly trying new things. Just like kids learn to walk.
You’re looking at how other people get things done with no kids attached, or with kids all grown. You’re judging yourself by the way others can finish a job without getting interrupted fifteen million times in the middle. You’re frustrated because you see other people doing the laundry for one person and having it neatly put away, when there’s a pile of laundry on your bed that is almost the size of your bed. And you have a big freaking huge bed. (That you really wish you could just pass out in.)
One day you’ll be past all of this and you’ll be the same judgy bitch towards others that you’re being towards yourself right now. You’ll walk into the future home of your daughter in law who has JUST ONE CHILD who is still young enough to be worn, and you’ll wonder why there are dishes in the sink because you’ll remember how you figured out how to wash the dishes when you had THREE kids that were small. You won’t remember the crushing impossibility of doing that back when you had just one. How your body felt broken and you needed sleep that never came. How you didn’t know how to use baby carriers without destroying your back. You won’t. You’ll remember when your kids were all grown because that’s when you’ll have it All Figured Out and you’ll be able to be more perfect the way you want yourself to be now.
Give yourself the same grace you want to give others.
Recognize how hard you try. How much you get done. How hard it is. How you’re still learning to juggle all of the things that need to get juggled. Recognize that your routine was thrown off by all the things that happened in your life and in the life of your kids just now.
Look at the mess around you. It’s temporary.
Yes. Try hard. But do it with the understanding that you’re learning and that you have a lot on your plate. That this is what life looks like right now. That your therapist is right- you need to take care of yourself too. You need to breathe. Because that is where you get the energy to jump back in to the endlessness.
NEVER FORGET that this stuff is hard. And that when stuff is hard it doesn’t always look like it has been perfectly done. Give yourself grace now so that you can give that grace to others.
This stuff passes.