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knowing yourself

i have been in a bit of a blogging funk lately.

probably because i generally get only 4 hours at a time of uninterrupted sleep (somehow my six-month-old didn't get the memo that, by now, he should be magically sleeping for 12 hours solid per night) and am over being on the computer by the time i get home from work. i can't quite decide whether it's the lack of sleep that's causing me to feel so out of it (bets are all on "yes"), but everything has just seemed harder lately.[n1] i know it's cliche, but i am really struggling with the working mom thing, and wondering how in the world people "balance" everything. in fact, i'm beginning to think the word "balance" is a complete misnomer. striving for balance is like striving to win powerball. i wish you the best, but your odds aren't great. seems like instead perhaps we should all just be striving to do the best that we can. every day is new. every day has new possibilities and our future is completely untouched. this sentiment is helpful when i get teary packing up newborn clothes (hey! you get to be with this little boy for your whole life! and he keeps getting cooler!) as well as with my job (despite evidence to the contrary, this awful case you're working on will, in fact, not last forever!). maybe the possibilities of the future are the very things we need to enjoy the present. i mean, we spend enough time worrying about the bad stuff that could happen, why not spend that time thinking about all of the amazing things that might be in store?

so anyway, after that rambling...

i stumbled upon this blog, which is featuring a 4-week series on embracing self-care. i figured that participating would mean that i would be inspired to update 4 times in 1 month (can't even remember the last time that happened) and i would be inspired to actually check in with myself.

this week's topic is "know thyself." from the blog:

This week we’ll talk about what it means to know your own needs. We’ll dig down deep and ask ourselves what we need as unique individuals. What’s your personality? What makes *you* tick? I’ll explore the question of what self-care would look like for me specifically, and I invite you to do the same.

to get myself started, i took the love language quiz to figure out how i show love and what, at least theoretically, i need to feel loved. unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) i scored almost equally in all 5 categories. (talk about high maintenance!) but, reading through the options, i think my real love language is "quality time."

from the quiz:

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

undoubtedly, this has been missing since we welcomed baby g into our family. it has been really hard to have quality time with DH, with g (it seems like we spend a lot of time tending to him, but zombie feeds at 3 am don't necessarily strike me as "quality" time), or (and this is a new realization) with myself.

as a type-A personality (which, incidentally, i'd bet about 99% of lawyers are), i want to have control over everything. but, not shockingly, it's not always possible. rather than give in and "go with the flow" - i fight for control at every corner. i spend so. much. time. worrying about the what-ifs because, in some screwed up way, i think that preparing for the worst will prepare me. this, of course, is ridiculous. i scoured the internet and found this, which i think explains it best (especially for control freaks):

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience,” Brown says. “And if you cannot tolerate joy, what you do is you start dress rehearsing tragedy.”

reading this awakened me to a disturbing realization. i avoid quality time because, in some ways, i find it difficult to tolerate joy. reaching new levels of euphoria (i cannot describe how awesome it is to be a mother) brings with it a great weakness. a new level of worry. an "i-don't-think-this-is-quite-PPD-but-who-knows level of anxiety." and i'd rather run a million errands or sleep or stress eat or do just about anything to avoid just relishing in the happiness because what if something happens and i'm never this happy again?

i can't say whether this is common or not - but, as part of my own little self-help project, i'm going to try to get a bit of control (ha! figures, right?). i think it's important for me to realize that i am never going to be the type of woman that can do yoga and meditate to achieve relaxation. my comfort comes from research. from being proactive. from leaning in to who i am rather than fighting against it. for example, after describing my anxiety, my aunt sent me the book loving what is and i am excited to read it. the book focuses on something simple, but (in my mind) revolutionary: “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”

i will strive to embrace the joy of today and the joyous possibility (rather than the worry) of tomorrow. i will spend the quality time i need to feel restored. i will remember to breathe deeply and hug tightly. to relax without guilt and to love unconditionally. to trust the universe. to trust myself.

[n1] that's what she said?



just letting you know someone is out here reading, and that i always enjoy seeing your thoughts. i know sometimes it can feel like you're talking into the void. 8-)


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