Sunday, August 24, 2008

:: :: uni-tasker :: ::

Wanna know what I suck at? Doing more than one thing at a time. It’s not really that I suck at multitasking as long as my multiple tasks are related. I can handle multiple mommy tasks at once, for example. Or I can bake a cake and make the frosting during downtimes in the baking process. I can do multiple chores at once (when I do chores, that is…).

On good days, I can even do multiple unrelated things if they are simple or of brief duration. I can make Evan’s dinner while eating a snack and picking up the kitchen for a babysitter who is coming to watch Evan while Brian and I go out to dinner, and while he eats I can gather my phone and wallet and write a note with our phone numbers and handle a few other tasks.

But on a large scale, it turns out I am a uni-tasker. When I’m home for a week to see family, I am incapable of doing anything but seeing family. I don’t remember to read a book, write in my journal, take even a short walk, breathe. People offer to let me go out and I say “I’ll think about it” or “I just might” and then I find myself sitting with everyone else and, well, not going out. I mean, I genuinely want to see everyone. And I always think to myself, “being with people will be good for me.” But always at the expense of being by myself, which it turns out is super important.

Which is to say that this past week at home was HARD. I left Columbus feeling like I was making pretty decent strides in my grudge match with postpartum depression. I returned feeling as low and as anxious as I was during the early weeks of all this mess.

My body felt tightly strung and off-key. My thoughts raced and things I hadn’t thought about in weeks kept popping in for brief visits. I bawled so hard in the car on the way home that I thought I might hyperventilate. I wondered, briefly, if I might need to be hospitalized and then decided then and there to take a deep breath and relax already which really only succeeded in preventing the hyperventilation but not the crying.

At home, I felt very much like I would be able to handle seeing everyone and taking care of Evan and giving Brian a much-needed break. I was sure of it. I was feeling good enough to make a list a few days prior to my departure, for god’s sake! Of course I’d be fine at home with all my loved ones around me.

So I let my guard down. I ignored how I was feeling until I found myself freaking out again. Crying and worrying and wondering if there was any possible way to get out of all this. And of course there isn’t. The only way out is through.

Through through through. That could be a mantra.

Perhaps the thing that plagued me most was wondering how on earth I am ever going to learn to multi-task. How am I ever going to learn to do the things I need to do to take care of myself while still being a mom, and a wife, and a provider for my family? It seems so impossible. I seem only to be able to focus on one thing — being Evan’s mommy. Even though my rational mind knows that to be a good mommy I need to be a healthy, good, sane person, I can’t seem to focus on being both at once. And I can’t figure out how I am ever going to learn that. What if I’m just not made that way? How am I going to do this?

I’m feeling better today than yesterday. Markedly better. Not last-week better. Not list-making better. But better. And yet I’m still feeling totally bewildered about how I am ever going to figure this out.

Don’t you love that word, bewildered? It’s practically onomatopoetic, nearly imitating the feeling it’s meant to describe. I think that if I ever write a book I’d like to call it bewildered.

Maybe. I have some other good titles saved up, too. Really good ones. And wouldn’t you like to know…

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