Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turning on to Easy Street

Here's what I've been thinking about:  abandoning struggle.  Not necessarily avoiding specific struggles, or pretending struggles don't exist and aren't useful sometimes, but abandoning those struggles that I myself unnecessarily produce.  No, not that.  Abandoning the idea of struggle as a dominant narrative in my life, as in "Life is hard," or as in, "You have to fight really hard for what you want."  Nah, I'm suggesting.  Nope.

For example, a key struggle in my life, detailed in excruciating minutia on this blog, has to do with the tension between working and raising my kids.  "Do you want to leave your job?" a friend asked the other night.  "Sometimes," I said.  "But in a lot of ways it's ideal for me--I get to work on stuff I really like, I get to teach, and I have enormous flexibility so that I can be home with the kids when they're sick, I take time off during the holidays and have a flexible summer schedule where I can work from home a lot.  And I'm getting better at what I do all the time."

"But?" she said.

Well, there's the rub.  There are all sorts of indicators that worry me, that indicate things aren't as rosy or balanced as I'd like to think.  I went to see Addie's ballet class yesterday--normally parents aren't allowed in, but it's parent watch week, so I came with all the other parents, and videotaped it, like all the other parents.  Addie was the only kid there, I noticed, who looked at her mom the whole time, making sure I was still there, that I hadn't left, that I approved of what she was doing.  Is this because I'm not around enough, I wondered?  Is it because I can't give her the attention she needs?

Or, there's the fact that Addie's been having wicked eczema, and the perennial runny nose and stopped-up ears, and reflux.  All good indicators, as her teacher pointed out to me last week, that she has some sort of milk allergy.  My God.  It's hard to even fathom cutting dairy out of her life, our lives.  This is a major reorientation of the routine, and I almost don't have the energy for it.  But here we are, on day three of soy yogurt and no string cheese.  Would I have taken the plunge on my own, without urging from Addie's teacher?  Probably not.  I've been too busy working.

Anyway, here's the thing.  I don't think I have to keep struggling like this.  I think that I can be successful at work and spend more time with the kids.  And I think it can be easy.  I know it's sacrilege to say that, but I really am seriously embracing the idea that such a major life shift can be done easily and joyously.  I think I can say no to more at work.  I think I can give up the guilt over not working 50 hours a week, or even 40, and just be thankful that I have a job where I can be successful and also have plenty of time and room left over for myself, my kids, and my husband.  I think I don't need to hesitate when I get a call from Addie's school saying I need to pick her up because she just puked ("It was heart-shaped, mama!" she tells me.  Heart-shaped puke, yum!).  I think I can just go and know, 100% that it's the best thing for me to be doing in that particular moment, and that everything else can wait.

This shift in thinking is maybe possible now, this year, only because last year was so miserable.  I felt so insecure, so behind the gun, that I felt I needed to be running every minute just to prove I was worthy of my job.  But a lot of that has fallen away this year, projects are rolling, and good things are happening easily and serendipitously.  And why shouldn't they?

Who says things have to be hard?


  1. Awesome. Sounds to me like SOM I is helping lotsy lots. I'm psyched for you. You totally can experience ease and joy in all of it; I know this for you.


  2. You are immersed in blessings that you deserve. Just pretend it's all easy. Luvies!

  3. Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  4. Sorry for the huge review, but I'm really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it's the right choice for you.