When to Stop

I’m exhausted. I’ve had a non-stop busy schedule, work, two kids out of the womb, 1 still inside the womb, household obligations, this and that, and oh yeah, caught that preschool cold from my son. Perfect combination to induce fatigue and resentment that it has been “x” number of days since I was able to leave the house to get writing done.

I pushed myself to go to work today. I planned to do business as usual, but just before lunch I made a quick decision. I decided to listen to my body and mind and cancel my afternoon meeting, let my husband pick up the kids, and decided to take an hour to revel in the silence of my home before everyone came back, and to give myself permission to go to bed early. That brings me to my pep talk for Monday.

***

Dear Self,

It’s healthy to be “selfish” on a somewhat regular basis. Refer to the awesome Dalai Lama’s 18 rules for living. #8 is particularly relevant. “Spend some time alone everyday.”

As a mother, teacher, committee member, overly ambitious person–this doesn’t often happen. You are quick to give up the one hour of time in the evening that you could have had for yourself but instead let your son snuggle next to you and talk or watch a film together while you study the freckles on his face and his cute rounded cheeks, wondering how long he’ll want to do this. You are quick to always offer to share with your husband the “burden” of picking up kids or taking them to their activities instead of taking days off and letting your husband do it. You are always riddled with guilt if you aren’t doing more, more, more for your children.

As cliche as it is, choosing to take care of yourself too is equally important for your family’s well-being.

In the grand scheme of things, choosing not to be selfish is in fact selfish when you reach your mental breaking point and the rest of the family has to suffer.

It’s okay to take time off. It’s okay to carve out time to be alone to write and do whatever it is you want to do. That time is important. As a mother, you have to force yourself to take that time. It will never feel comfortable. You will always feel guilty. However, it is your responsibility to make those tough decisions that are the best for yourself and your family. When your heart intervenes, your observing ego must step in and make the smart decision. Remembering yourself is a non-stop, heart-wrenching, unforgiving balancing act that we must force ourselves to become good at. 

Until you’ve reached mastery, keep trying.

Signed,

Your Observing Ego, who has given you permission to go to bed by 8PM.

***

In other news, I pushed myself and finished chapter 2 yesterday! I’m not working on chapter 3 and I am approximately 4,312 words in. I’m feeling motivated and optimistic and would love nothing more than globs of alone time to keep working. I’ll have to make do with stealing a few minutes here and there, but I’ve tentatively given myself permission to escape the daily grind two times this week to make progress on the chapter.

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