Saturday, December 30, 2023

Podcast-Inspired Rant: Hard Questions for Myself

Here's my problem with this podcast...

It takes too much time to listen to it.

And that's partially my fault because I have to pause to cry, reflect, transcribe some of the words and concepts, share with friends. 

And I'm only on episode #6 of We Can Do Hard Things, about overwhelm.

Here's what made me cry today because I felt seen:

Amanda, who is sister to Glennon Doyle and incredibly insightful and careful with her words, shared: 

... the people that I want to love don't feel my love because my effort is in the carrying and not in loving them the way that they need to be loved themselves. And then they look at me and say, not with their words, but with the, "Why aren't you investing in us? Why aren't you giving me what I need?" 

In my heart and in my mind, I'm like, "I am giving more than I have. I'm giving every ounce of myself, every moment, I have no mental space, no physical space, no hours that are not carrying for all of you and loving you. 

And so I feel like I'm pouring it out and then sometimes I feel like I'm getting back, "Well, put it down." 

"...Put down my way of loving?"

YES. THIS. And there are so many more words like this on the podcast that say exactly how I feel and explain the weird feeling in my belly when someone judges my parenting efforts or my stress level. 

I created this big, chaotic, beautiful life I am entirely in love with. But I don't have to walk around smiling constantly about it, being jolly and grateful every second of every day. I don't have to hide all of my exhaustion and overwhelm because I am not a robot (or a homeschooling mommybot).

I'm so tired of certain people in my life telling me to relax, slow down, that I seem stressed and anxious. These are exactly the people who maybe...

* have never homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, taken on the responsibility of teaching their own children to read, swim and drive, do not yet have adult children (completely different from having babies/toddlers/regular kids LOL), never had their kids in time-consuming activities, etc.

* do not have the same kind of marital or household or pet situation I have

* are not on a leadership committee at a homeschool coop for the last 3.5 years because of a need to make things amazing for their own kids and the kids of others, and/or do not understand the pressure and time that teaching takes

* do not have my same past experiences with domestic violence and a variety of trauma (which often appears in my life as control and trust issues)

* do not own their own business, have a fire in their belly to write, or a need to make money for their family while still being available for that family

* do not have attention deficit disorder (hate that word "disorder")

* are content with their lives as is and do not feel a driving urge to experience All The Things and live life to the fullest while trying to make a difference in the world

And then I had some questions for myself:

Why am I listening to these people? I am 52 years old and don't need to apologize for who I am when my life is going pretty well, despite challenges I've either created myself or which have been put on my plate.

Why am I giving any head space to these people who will never walk in my shoes, which means they won't ever understand the intricacies of my life? This takes energy from loving my family and my people, the people who consistently show up for me even when I'm pushing them away.

Why do I think I need to change? Sure, I could hand off some things, stop procrastinating others, go easier on myself in a lot of areas, go harder on myself in others. We can all use some improvement. But improvement is different from changing who you are as a person entirely.

Why am I not spending more time in prayer, listening to the One who created me, rather than some of the ones who just want to judge me or feel superior to me? Sure, some of these people want to be helpful and see me happy, but they are going about it the wrong way. (Which of course leads me to think about how I say things to people because I don't always understand the shoes they are walking in either—step-parenting, single parenting, parenting multiples, parenting very young, parenting at a later age, working two jobs outside the home to make ends meet, and the list goes on and on.)

My new response when this comes up: "You seem to have your shit together and know how I can get mine together, so what do you suggest? Where should I start? Which spinning plate should I let drop first? Should I check back in with you if it doesn't work out?"

I don't think people are assholes on purpose but we all maybe need a better way to connect with others so we can just LISTEN, which is sometimes all anyone needs in that moment of stress. (and maybe you could do some dishes for them or bring them a meal?)

My dear Catholic and Protestant homeschooling friends, yes, Glennon is a divorced lesbian. So what? The words that are said will speak to you the same as if your priest or pastor said them, if your priest or pastor understood what it's like to be a mother especially. 

I've listened to episodes about anxiety, boundaries, infidelity (there are a variety of ways), fun (do we even know how to have fun anymore as burned-out moms?), addiction (loving addicts), and now overwhelm. Coming up are episodes I'm excited to listen to on fighting well, self-care, our bodies, brave parenting (aren't we being brave by taking on homeschooling?), talking about sex more, quitting, playing our roles, and so many more.

So even though it will take some time, some thought, and some tears... the epiphanies will show up when you least expect them and whack you hard in the feels.

I give this podcast 5 out of 5 Dove chocolate hearts.

I also recommend Glennon Doyle's book Love Warrior (Oprah's book club), which I read in 2020 and underlined/highlighted like crazy and kept (I don't keep many books because homeschool stuff crowds them out currently).

She also wrote Carry On, Warrior, and the wildly popular Untamed (Reese's book club), which I'm listening to on Spotify Premium right now (a lot of great audiobooks included with your subscription).

* Full disclosure: I might make a few cents if you click a link or two or purchase something. 

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