As the summer vacation comes to a close, I'm feeling quite overloaded.
Relative to last summer, I think I did a great job with the kids and their schedules. The pacing felt right; nothing dragged too much; I'm even looking forward to the last week of vacation with the kids and not in a desperate kind of way.
However, on a personal level, I'm pretty angry and resentful. The predominant theme of the summer seemed to be one in which I felt constantly taken advantage of. Two adages immediately come to mind each time I mutter "taken advantage of" to myself. The first one is, nobody takes advantage of you without your permission, and the second one is, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Leaving aside the fact that an adage is just an adage (not any sort of truth) I've spent a lot of time the last week or two thinking about how I got myself into this mess, and how I can avoid it in the future.
As life goes, I'm really, really ready for change. I've been doing this little kids and babies gig for SEVEN years, and I feel like I have 4ish more years to go. I think it is totally fair to be tired of it. Have you ever read those statistics where the average American changes jobs every 5 years or something like that? (I bet Germans don't change jobs that often, but whatever, I'm American.) Hey, maybe I'm just, you know, really part of this culture, and it's ingrained in me without my explicit permission, and NO WONDER I feel like I need a new gig.
Well, I think my frustration with all the little kid baby stuff led me to take some risks that I maybe should not have taken. I let myself be convinced that my commitment would be worthwhile. And unfortunately, I think other people had their own personal agenda which they thought would (could?) complement what I needed. So, see? It felt like a matter of nothing ventured, nothing gained. I thought I could take the risk and maybe it would change the situation. And I really, really wanted change. My judgement was clouded by my need for change. But...no. Positive synergy was not what happened. Instead, I was over-committed. Chaos accelerated and I born the brunt of the situation many, many times over in the last 10 weeks.
I have always liked the adage that nobody takes advantage of you without your permission, because it suggests that I am the agent of change in my life. I've never liked to think of myself as a victim; I'd much rather believe that I am in control of me, whatever that might mean. Perhaps: I took some risks, I failed, I have nobody to blame but myself. Of course, that's not entirely true, but at least it gets me thinking about what I need to do differently in the future.
1) I need to reinvest in my decision to be a stay at home parent. It was not (continues not to be) an easy decision. But it was conscientious; it was based on specific principles and values. Every now and then I find myself needing a little reminder since the motivation lies outside of conventional wisdom and the predominant cultural values.
2) Time for our houseguest visits to wrap up. Maybe for quite a while. I've written several unpublished posts on this over the course of the summer on this topic. Basically, times are changing here at the Wyse home; what worked two years ago doesn't work anymore. The guest room will be closing.
3) Specific investment of my time. I need to do start doing more of the things that I want to do, and less of the things that other people think I should do. With three little kids, there is so, so little time for my own pursuits. I must start saying no to the requests of other adults, who somehow think that I'm available just because my workday doesn't start at 8 am and end at 6:00pm. I've got some stuff I want to do: I'm prioritizing MY stuff. Strangely, with three kids, this is more difficult than ever, but also more necessary. For my sanity.