Lower The Net
Parenting, marriage, and life in general, I guess, are akin to walking a tight rope to me as long as you have supportive family and friends acting as your safety net. And that's what I was doing. Being the safety net. But there were two problems with my approach: 1. The net was too close to the rope. No one was afraid to fall because I was also there to catch them and/or pick up the pieces. And 2. I didn't make sure my own net was in place. So there I was free falling.
This isn't to say that I didn't have a net. I just wasn't properly using it. I was very slow to ask for help. In my mind, it was my job to do it all, so I gave it an honest go, even if it meant a slow descent into madness. My therapist's advice was A. Let the people who were old enough and mature enough pick up their own shit, and B. Create time throughout my day for me. To do things that I wanted to do for myself. That didn't involve anyone else. Of course, this meant I needed to add a small two letter word to my vocabulary that was absolutely foreign to me: "NO." (We are besties now though!)
What did that even look like for me? The perpetual people-pleaser, who was concerned with how things made her look to outsiders. Can Reina be responsible enough to get all her things together for school? How do I lay down the burden that comes with "What's for dinner?" How do I tell Gianna No, we aren't going to your friend's bday party? The guilt was, and sometimes still is, real. "You mean I don't bring the homework she left to her?" "I don't volunteer as much at school." "I wander around Barnes and Noble's without my family?"
But when you are on the brink of running around with the circus, "drastic measures" don't seem so drastic. So slowly, I started to loosen my grips on the reins. I started going out with my friends. I was back in the gym. I had a standing breakfast date with a close girlfriend. I made myself less available. I lowered the net. Yeah, at first it was a jolt to everyone's system, but we all adjusted. Then in February 2018, I got a job as a receptionist for a Public Accountant. Holy shit!!!! Is this for real? Now we cooking with grease. The hours allowed me to drop all the kids off and pick them all up on time. It was magically. Even my therapist noticed a difference in how I was when I came into her office. Then the bottom fell out again. The family plans to move to Maryland fell through that summer. In October 2018, after the tax extension deadline, they let me go. I can't go back home. I can't pull Deacon out of daycare. WEEEE need him in daycare. So I kept him there, knowing damn well, that the budget was breaking. This is the ugly side of self-care. When you do things against you better judgment to "Treat yo self." In addition to all of this, my paternal grandmother passed away, and I was all the way in Alaska. WT entire F!
I flew home alone for the funeral. No kids, no husband, and when we landed, my phone started blowing up. I didn't know what was happening. Then I saw it 7.2 earthquake. Anchorage. What time is it there? Where are my babies? Is Chris ok? Can he get to them? Yeah, I just sat back in my seat. Of course, my knee jerk reaction was to hop a flight back. They needed me, right? I was able to get in touch with my parent friends from the school. They had the girls and they were good, until Chris could get there. Chris was finally able to go get Deacon. I swear it felt like an eternity. But in that moment, it hit me. He could handle it. They didn't need me as much as I needed them to need me.
In January 2019, we found out we were moving to Japan. (Yeah, we are almost at present day. LOL) I was still going to my therapist as all this is unfolding. She's worried. Hell I'm worried, but I don't know what to do. So I do what I always do. Find a project to keep my mind off my own demons. This project was our budget and the upcoming move.
Sometimes life throws you curve balls. I'm not gonna say just for the hell of it because they serve a purpose. What are you gonna do when it all starts to collapse on top of you? Continue to operate in a way you know isn't working? Or are you going to start to see that to be a better parent, spouse, friend, family member, you gotta be a better you?
Keep putting shit down. Keep unpacking the bag. Keep lowering the net. As you get lighter, you can soar higher if you so choose.