I've done it for as long as I can remember. My best guess is that if you looked into my brain you would find a tiny version of me sitting on a chaise lounge next to a microscopic "Off" and "On" button with my finger at the ready.
Sometimes stopping is not good for me- like when the kids are losing it or I have way too many things on my plate to accomplish, a deadline looming over me like the clouds forming an F5 tornado, or too many bills to pay and not enough money to pay all of them. Those are the times I can feel my finger tickling the Off button as I plan my escape route in to Netflix. I fight my urge to just stop during those times. I fight hard. Sometimes, I can power through, other times I power down. I think we all do that.
Then there are times when stopping is really good for me. Like when I have really clear eyes and am present in my own life and the lives of my family. Those are the times when I put extra pressure on that Off button while warring with myself about the things that I "should" do. Sometimes I press down and sometimes I don't. I think we all do that too.
Then there are times when I am ON for far too long and the pressure builds until I have no choice but to lunge at the Off button with both hands and shut it all down.
That's what happened to me in August.
I had feelings of inadequacy and was convinced that I was sucking at life. And in some ways, I was. In other ways I was being a dramatic mess about it all. Regardless I was dredging the muck and I needed something to change STAT.
So I stopped.
I stopped writing, I stopped slinging the wares I had been slinging and I stopped using a quadrillion social media platforms (though I wish I knew how to quit you, Facebook!) to get my writing out there/ find jobs/watch kitten videos. I also needed to free myself from the feeling that I HAD TO (all the things) RIGHT NOW!
That's a dumb way to live. So shut it down, I did. I had to let ALL of it go to find out if I wanted any of it back.
It took me a solid month to settle in to turning my switch to Off. I focused on one day at a time and I just let the rest float away on a cloud of Blah. Each time my right hand reached out to pull that cloud back, my left slapped it away again.
The Family Pants spent the Fall once again finding our new normal. Five days of school for Pants, dance class for Plum, preschool, expanded work for me, work travel for Brandon and the bliss and chaos that comes with growing human beings who consistently challenge me with well thought out arguments and ideas that are better than mine.
As time went on I found myself purposefully being as present as possible with mediocre success. And I'm cool with mediocre success (No amount of wanting to be a perfectly present mother is going to actually change human-ness). I'm once again stopping by the often dreamed of and infrequently visited planet of Self-Care. Not just the need for showers and pants but for time with my friends and time alone and time with this husband of mine. Baby steps.
And speaking of Pants...
Here we are January 1, 2016 and the only thing that I desperately want back from all that I stopped is this record of our lives. I want this little blog that helps me to remember the moments- the good, the bad and the fugly of our life. I wanted it back bad.
What I don't want back is the stress. The blogging world is tough. I can't count the number of really great blogs that I have seen shut down for good this past year. Because if you really want blogging success and to be seen you have to spend a ridrunkulous amount of time pimping yourself across the world wide web and it's really freaking exhausting. Some people are really efficient and effective with this part of blogging but I'm just not. It makes my eyes cross and my brain buzz. And that's OK with me now. It wasn't before because well, I get all addict-y to things and squeeze the kitten to death when I get excited.
So I've put my blog kitten down and relaxed my hands. I just want to write again. So that's what I'm gonna do. Without all of those extras (I will only be keeping The Family Pants FB page). I have so much to say to these children, to Brandon, to myself and to anyone that wants to read along but I can't justify spending the time away from them to promote or, as they say, "grow" the blog.
For Pants and Plum each new day brings with it some new level of separateness and independence. It is a freaking miracle to witness. It stings and feels amazing all at once when, even by just a hair, they need me less. I love it. I hate it. I feel joy and sadness.I feel bliss and mourning. And I want to remember all of it even if I'm the only one reading.
We are raising capable and autonomous smaller humans who own beautifully unique personalities and dream dreams that are not mine or yours but THEIRS. And for me, every day brings itty-bitty shards of grief mixed in with the mountains the joy that my children are...becoming. I just don't want to miss what's coming next, man.
And I don't want to forget.
xoxo, Mama Pants