Monday, March 7, 2011

The White Flag

I wish I wasn't so sensitive. It's hard not to read into what others say and do, and get hurt at the slightest comment or action or look. I've tried to develop a thicker skin, and overall I think I have, but there are still many times when I allow myself to be wounded by the smallest, most insignificant thing, and I realize that there is still a lot of work to be done in these areas.

Difficult times make us more sensitive to things, because our radar is finely tuned and actively seeking out perceived insults or slights where they may or may not exist. I need to work on this, to dial it down for myself, and recognize when I am spoiling for a fight and simply withdraw when I need to. It's challenging because our kids don't understand all of the complicated subtext happening for us at any given time (and let's face it, most men don't get a lot of what churns inside of a woman) and don't take kindly to being asked to back off and give us space.

I need to get better at losing my mom guilt and taking time for myself where I need it. I worry that I'm going to crack sometimes under the pressure I build up within my body and soul when I don't find the release valve in time to let out some of the steam. I'm very focused on my screenplay rewrite because I have a contest deadline looming, and it also happens to be leading up to my daughter's birthday, and in the middle of many of her Kiwanis performances and dentist appointments and swimming lessons for both kids and the rest of regular life and commitments, and I feel behind.

I hate to be struggling to keep up with my own life and to-do list. It's a much better feeling to be ahead of the game than mired in your own inability to master all of the many moving pieces. But sometimes the pieces are going in too many directions to actually keep up, and you must wave the white flag. I loathe the damn white flag. Surrender never comes easily to me, but we all have limits, and saying yes to one thing must mean saying no to another, and I wish I could maintain this balance easier in an ongoing way, instead of finding that I'm up to my neck in mud and must make changes before I can't breathe at all.

Living in our fast-paced culture is hard. I thought I was learning how to relax, but when push comes to shove I'd rather work like crazy than rest and unwind. It's my fault if I blame others when I can't slow down. I have to make these decisions myself; to call it a day at a certain point and pick up my book or sit down to watch TV before going from my computer to my bed. It's important to have energy leftover for my kids, and not break down in tears because I'm so frustrated. They aren't the problem. I am.

Taking responsibility is the first step. If I've created a problem I must fix it. My kids shouldn't pay the price of my overcommitments. That's not fair to them. I have to be reasonable about what I can and can't accomplish in any given time frame. Stress is always bad, and should be avoided at all costs. Some low grade stress will always exist, and can motivate us, but too much of anything causes strain and anxiety, and I'm trying to limit the quantities of those things. More peace, less worry, and I need to keep reminding myself of this so the priorities don't get out of whack.


  1. Julianne, putting your time and energy into your passion is part of success. We do it now so that we will have more time eventually. It is a sacrifice but the kids will understand someday. My dad was hardly around due to work but I appreciated him for it and am thankful for the time I had.
    The time you spend with your kids now will just be sweeter. And as far as stress goes, it should not always be avoided. Stress is good to develop character and make you stronger. If you try to avoid stress you will only spread it out over a longer period of time. Just my take.

  2. Thanks for your take, Kurtis. I'm not sure I agree that stress should not be avoided. I know that low grade stress is helpful to motivate, but I don't know that putting ourselves into situations that cause stress is helpful. I think it comes down to choices, for balance is made up of choosing a mix of challenges and down time, but I don't want my kids feeling like they are hindering me when I've chosen to be home with them in this time period.

    Perhaps it comes down to managing my work time better, and not overcommitting to things I can't fulfill in such a short time frame. I don't want to burn out. But I hear what you are saying, and I appreciate it. I think men and women approach "work guilt" in radically different ways, and I'm slowly trying to work through where that balance should be for me.