SHOULD-ING AND SHEDD-ING: THE STRUGGLE OF PRIORITIZING YOURSELF WHILE PARENTING.

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My inner monologue seems to be in conflict with itself tonight. I’ve tackled the bare minimum in the kitchen after tucking the kids into bed. Now a voice urges me on: ‘Make a list’ it says one moment, followed by, ‘You’ve done enough, go watch a movie and fall asleep on yourself’ and then there’s ‘You never found Ozlynn’s shoes for the recital tomorrow, and you committed to bringing a savory item, and you'd better get up at 5 A.M. tomorrow so you can do all the things!’ Those aren’t the words that are controlling my actions though, because what I NEED to do, right now, is write. I don’t “need” to change the filter on the turtle’s cage at 11:30 at night. I mean, I did anyway, and it’s done now, but not because I am some ambivalent animal-tender, more so because the gurgling noise interrupts my nightly routine of mentally noting my failed goals. And if I can cross the gurgling noise off of the list (that I should be making), at least that’s one small victory and one less detail that might keep me from falling back to sleep. Gah! After all that, it’s clear that I did “need” to change the turtle filter. Good choices. But screw the list, and I mean it this time. I really just want to write. I want to remove the rambling symbols rolling around in my mind and allow my fingers tips to release each one as I punch them onto the screen. Nah, I’ll just keep ‘should-ing’ myself instead: I should wrap it up and go to bed. Or I should finish that whiskey that I poured myself, knowing full well that I wouldn’t drink all of it, take a jacket and the dog and go spy that caramel-colored moon, waning through the silhouette of trees in the back yard. I should sit in the dark and imagine this last month, and all the things (literal and proverbial) that I am currently shedding. I allow my heart to be weighted down by these things when I should have been letting them go, like a tiny crimson river poured from my fem-cup into the toilet bowl. Whoosh, I flush its startling color away from the stark, white side of the toilet. I’m just going to go to bed, and try to focus on what I know to be true; I am beyond privileged, and blessed. I wake up grumpy, but hopeful, every day. I love this fiasco of raising children and getting old, and learning about myself, and learning about this man that I share a bed with. It’s a beautiful chaos and a stagnant world the day I don’t have moments to overcome and triumph. I could literally make a list of all the shit I need to triumph over right now… Argh! Okay, okay! Morning To-Do list:

-Kids must shower.

-Go to store.

-Make a cracker and cheese spread.

-Find Ozlynn’s fucking shoes.

-Put the laundry in the dryer.

-Support Haven as she fulfills her agreement to play ‘Part of Your World’ on the piano nine more times before the recital.

-Do the girls' hair.

-Oh shit, do I have time to put on mascara?

-Don’t forget all four of the kids' sheet music.

-Try not to get in a fight with John while doing all the things.

-Be nice to in-laws when they meander up stairs to chat as I’m only one shoe deep and realizing that I forgot to put on a panty liner.

-Make it to the recital, and smile at people.

-Emily

EMILY

Becoming a human-vessel made me a mother, but it also taught me who I am as a woman; literally, I didn’t know that I had a uterus or that it was super bad-ass, until after I picked up my first Bradley Method book. Four home births later, my husband and I have maintained a sense of humor while maneuvering the daily failures, lessons and bonds, that parenting provides.

      My brighter moments are spent homeschooling outside in the Sierra National Forest with other wild families, and pursuing a slow and steady education towards attaining my BS (I will never not think that is funny). Other days you can find me: eating pineapple even though I am painfully allergic, actually running out of gas, and crying in public when strangers show empathy with one another.