You know you are at your limit when your response to your babysitter's text calling off is to burst into tears. Under normal circumstances I am frustrated when my childcare falls through. Generally, I schedule childcare only for work, volunteer obligations, my children's school activities, and appointments. While I certainly need a break whether I have something planned or not, 9 times out of 10 it is a real inconvenience and disappointment to have to shuffle things around or cancel plans. Thankfully, often, like today, a good friend is willing to help if she can and we live close enough to make that a viable last minute option. I thank God for placing people squarely in my life who can provide me with support and with whom I can be in close relationship.
Today, my plans during the morning when I had scheduled a sitter included a parent visitation day- one of only 2-3 per year- at L1's school. It was to be immediately followed by the monthly postpartum support group that I facilitate. While I was looking forward to both of these events personally, I also knew that the impact would be even greater for my son and the moms that were planning to attend the group. My friend J watched L2 during the visitation and then we realized I could return the favor for her immediately following by watching her youngest while she went to a tennis lesson. I was able to see God even in the midst of being overwhelmed as I realized how often "things just seem to work out". Additionally, I thank God for a woman who has been attending the group regularly for almost two years. Because she has worked so hard on her recovery and dedicated her time also to the benefit of the group, I completely trust her to provide, in my absence, the support and resources needed by those in attendance.
So, this morning, while different and a little more harried than I expected, did "all work out". Yet, it would be irresponsible of me not to recognize that my tears just weren't about this morning. As I look at the big picture, I see that I've been making poor choices in some areas of my life lately. Going to bed too late, not drinking enough water, over-scheduling myself, letting things get disorganized in some areas of my life and over-doing it in others. There are piles of clothes in my bedroom. The bin of Easter decorations is still sitting where I left it on Easter Monday. The sink is full of dishes. While the piles will wait, what I do know about myself is that when my environment is in disarray, I feel less settled in my life in general. Procrastinating putting clothes away or cleaning up is not helping me to relax at all, rather it's adding to the chaos in my house and in my head.
April and May are always busy and stressful months due to reoccurring events that happen every single year. Choosing to add on additional obligations, even fun things, clearly adds pressure and spreads me thinner.
Last weekend I found myself on that edge. I was beginning to feel tired and run down, and wonder if I had a "touch of something". I found myself being short with my family and more emotional about things that I normally would have let slide. Even planning a vacation or confirming L1's summer camp plans became a stressor. When I was over the top by Monday, I should have seen this coming and taken a few things off my plate. A girl's night out or a dinner date with your husband doesn't do you much good if having just one more thing on your calendar is what is making you feel emotionally vulnerable.
I have a lot I should be doing today. Lots of errands, work, housekeeping, and paperwork. But when you find yourself tearing up for the first time in nearly a year over a sitter crapping out on you, it's a sign that everything else needs to be put on pause and you need a warm cup of tea and a date with the couch and a good book or some mindless TV while your toddler naps.
I often find myself giving out great advice, but struggling to follow it. Today, I choose to follow my own lead. To respond graciously to my own yearning for quiet, for calm, for respite. To say ENOUGH.