This isn’t a post about running; it’s about motherhood. Or, about life.

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I am incredibly tired. I mentioned before that the prevailing feeling that I’ve had since Anna was born is that of running on a treadmill that’s set just slightly too fast. I’m tricked into thinking I can keep up with the pace, but before I know it I’m out of breath and overwhelmed, only there’s no way to slow the treadmill down.

It’s been a challenging few weeks, even as Anna has continued to settle into a schedule and Will has grown ever further out of the toddler stage. I think the challenging factor is … me. I keep coming up against my own limitations, and not knowing how to exceed them. Every day I am surrounded by my own insufficiency.

When I say that I’m trying to make the right choices ahead of time, to be prepared and ahead of the game, and to be patient, what I really mean is that I am wondering what it would be like to be someone who actually does those things successfully, regularly, and habitually. What is that like?

It’s hard for me to accept the limitations of this stage in life, because every time the laundry piles up, or the kitchen is left a mess after breakfast, or there are toys scattered in every corner of the house, or I have ten work emails that haven’t been answered yet, it means there is something else I haven’t done. Something else I still need to take care of. Leaving it until later, throwing my hands up in the air and saying “oh well! I have two little kids! It’ll have to wait!” just means that I need to find time eventually to do it, and by that point five other things will have popped up in the meantime. Putting off folding the laundry just means that when I get around to it, I’m drowning in it, and when I feel like I’m drowning, I shut down.

And I think that is the issue right there. I feel like I’m drowning, so I’m shutting down. I don’t cope very well with feeling overwhelmed, which makes me wonder sometimes if I struggle with more limitations than other people (?? that is another can of worms right there …?). I just shut down. When I don’t have time or energy to fold a small hill’s worth of laundry, letting it become a giant mountain only makes it less likely that I’ll be able to address it without suppressing something akin to panic. I don’t know why this is. But it leads to the old familiar chorus of other people can do it just fine! so why can’t you? what’s wrong with you? that I have worked so hard to drown out.

Yes, it’s only housework. Yes, it’s only a part-time job. I really don’t know why it feels so overwhelming or why I feel so stretched thin, but I do, and I don’t really know the way out.

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One more hour until preschool pickup — I’ll make it count.

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