Have you ever felt like you were being drawn and quartered. Literally. Pulled in 4 different directions by 4 opposing forces, all with equally loud demands and equally pressing needs? A job, a spouse, a child, your own desires?
Yah. I think we all have. And it's a constant struggle to try and deal with the squeakiest wheel, all the while ignoring, or at least paying less attention to the others.
Unfortunately, the one voice that should probably be listened to more often than the others is the one we tend to tune out first and with the most ease: ourselves. I might liken it to the instructions given by stewardesses on airplanes: "In an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from the overhead compartment...those traveling with young children, or adults who might need assistance, should take care of their own masks before helping anyone else." Why? Because we can't help anyone if we're passed out.
Same goes for daily life. We aren't much good for anyone else if we aren't taking care of ourselves.
I'm not sure if it's guilt that does it, or what. But it seems, at the end of the day, I've attended to the needs of pretty much everyone but myself. Except for my nightly writing, there is little to no time for me to sit and just "be". No time to think, reflect, daydream, or just go brain-dead. Nope. Not until I slide into bed, take a deep breath, and sink into an exhausted sort of sleep that isn't all that refreshing and doesn't always leave me feeling energized in the morning.
This evening, we actually had a conversation about hiring a weekly or bi-weekly housekeeper. Yikes! Could I really be considering having someone come in to do the work I should be doing? And why do I feel so strongly that "I" should be doing it? Why do I even feel guilty? I know it would cost money (and with our already tight budget, it's hard to support). But, why else?
Is it a societal demand? That I should be supermom? And that D. should be superdad? We work, we do housework, we cook, we try to exercise, we try to spend quality time with our son, he does homework, I bring work home (begrudgingly and only on occasion) or write. And then we fall into the bed already snoring.
The world didn't used to be like this. Mom took care of the home. Dad brought home the bacon. When dad got home, his work was done. While dad was gone, mom did some work around the house, but may have had some time to sit and read a book or go shopping. In the evening, she cooked dinner and got the kids to bed, and then mom and dad had the evening to spend or divide. I know it's a simplification. And I've heard the argument that stay-at-home moms have a full-time job (which I am not arguing with). And I wouldn't trade working to stay at home (I don't have it in me).
Basically, I need June Cleaver. I need a 1950s housewife. Life would be so much easier if a nice lady with pearls met me at the door each day, took my briefcase, sat me down to a home-cooked meal in an immaculate house and asked to hear about my day. Yep. That's the solution. I need a wife.
Because, right now, when I steal a morning on the couch or put off a pile of papers for the weekend, I feel that little tinge...that little slap that says, "Get your butt moving...you should be DOING SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE. You have a list a mile long of things you should have accomplished months ago." Good lord! It's time to stop!
While I may not be able to swing a wife...or housekeeper for that matter...I sure as hell have to stop expecting so much of myself (easier said than done). I have to figure out some way to have free time in my day. Hmmmm...how can I add 6 more hours to the day?
Any experts out there on time management? Or how about a scientist with some clever new way to stop time?
I think I'll put off work, go take a bath, and go to bed.
And yes, I'll feel guilty about it.