2008-01-15 - 10:17 a.m.
I'm feeling overwrought. I don't like to feel this way, but I do. I think it's at least good that I can recognise it. I think I've been feeling this way for a while. It comes from:
Work. It's difficult (for me, at least) to work and be a parent. Work takes a lot of energy, even to just show up. But if you just show up, and aren't completely engaged, it leads to an overwrought sort of feeling, where you always feel slightly bad for sort of ignoring work while you're there -- sitting at your desk, for example, and instead of thinking about the problem with the authority file, worrying about swimming lesson schedules, or your children's papers or their latin grades (why is the latin teacher such a monster? why do they love her anyway?) I wish I could sit at my desk and really worry about work, but the truth of the matter is, I'm usually thinking about it out of the back of my head.
Now I'm wondering if giving it back of the head attention is not perhaps okay -- my new theory is that the first idea is often the best one, and you should just go with it instead of agonizing for days, convinced that the very first idea that came to you cannot possibly be the right one. But it is, often. Hmmm. Another thought.
Children. Maybe because I'm also not able to give them as much attention as I think I should, I worry about them. Maybe it would be better to not worry about them so much, and trust that they'll turn out okay. Here's the problem -- when should I worry, and when should I not? I think I'd need about 50 more children to really have that down. Is the fact that N is still working (or not) on this poli sci paper not a big deal? Does it mean she's going to run into huge trouble at college? Does it mean that she should not even go to college, but instead spend a year cleaning latrines on a cruise ship? The behavioral pediatrician we went to for ADD advice seemed to think I should just butt out. I'm kind of willing to do that. I guess. I'm not convinced, though. I think I should talk to the learning specialist person, since she was actually more sympathetic. But even without that whole issue, I think I do tend to hold my breath a bit too much. I think there has been some cause for concern with N -- she's adventurous and not especially forthcoming and inclined to keep things to herself. So you have to trust she'll know what to do, and really, how can you consistently trust an adventurous fourteen-year-old? But I'm worried that our worry has made her worried, and that worries me.
K. K tends to worry a lot, and it gets worse as he gets older. It's just his nature -- I see that, and I realize that it doesn't help to tell him he's not being rational (which he doesn't believe anyway.) But the effect on the rest of us, I think, is that we can't admit when we're worried because we're worried that if we were worried it would send him completely over the edge. We have to pretend that everything is just fine even when it isn't. I think this actually adds to the general anxiety level in the house.
Life in general. Have I made reasonable choices? Am I really doing what I want to be doing? Am I wasting my life? I read a New Yorker article about scrap metal last night, and recognised myself completely in Nathan, the grandson of a scrap metal guy in Los Angeles. He'd inherited the business, and was doing well with it, but was not really convinced that it was what he wanted to do with his life. But he wasn't completely sure that he didn't want to do it, either. My best friend L is a family practice doctor. She loves it. She told me that that was what she was meant to do. I'm not sure that this is what I was meant to do, but it's not terrible either. Hmmm.
But here again, I worry. How can I be a good model for the kids if I'm not completely sure I'm doing what I want to do?
You see the problem.
But I don't want to be so worried, and I actually don't think it helps anything.
I'll call the educational therapist about N. That's a reasonable thing I can do. I'll ask her how much I should worry about that.
Then I'll think about how to deal with the rest of it.
We've all been watching Howl's Moving Castle, which is somehow comforting. maybe Howl is like us -- he's always flying around fighting off these odd warships -- sort of like us with our amorphous worries. And Sophie, too, is flying around by the seat of her pants. But everything works out in the end, and that's good.
design by simplify.