Monday, December 07, 2009

Is it the weekend?

No, I'm not complaining about a long Monday. Quite the opposite. I feel like it must be the weekend soon. I have that fabulous Thursday night feeling.

Thursday nights are great because there's only one work day between you and the promise of unstructured, fabulous weekend. (By Friday night I'm sometimes too exhausted to experience the excitement fully. And let's not face the fact that weekends are simply not as unstructured and carefree in reality as each looms in my fantasies.)

But back to tonight and my Thursday night/weekend feeling. Yesterday I was exhausted and depleted. I'm no more caught up on sleep tonight, and I'm still tired but I'm rejuvenated. What's the difference?

Book club.

I had dinner one-on-one with a fabulous friend tonight. Then we walked next door to my favorite coffee shop for our book club. A group of wonderful women sitting on couches, talking about a book, sipping hot drinks.

I hadn't even read this particular book (though I will!). It didn't matter. I feel . . . better.

Last week I found myself in an unpleasant conversation with a woman who Does Too Much. We all know this woman, I believe, or perhaps we know her brother. This woman feels guilty if she sits down to watch TV with her husband in the evening because she's not doing something productive. She does a lot of good and useful things in her community. But she's also frazzled, burned out, resentful, and negative.

A few of us were trying to explain the importance of taking care of oneself, saying "yes" to volunteer gigs that rejuvenate but setting down burdens that we're tired of carrying.

"Your group of younger moms is better at that, which is why so much falls on the rest of us," she replied.

Yowch. In this case, her criticism was poorly aimed. (She was talking to a group of very active and involved volunteers.) And I know that her problem is internal rather than external: being unable to say no, taking on too much, carrying others' burdens needlessly at times, and not taking time to replenish her reservoirs.

So tonight I'd like to thank my loving husband for encouraging me to do the things that make me feel whole, and thank my friends who help me relax, refill, restore. I am grateful, and I am well.


Tracey said...

As I'm reading this post this morning I recognize MYSELF so completely. This is me. I feel guilty if I sit and do nothing. I have to be doing something all the freaking time, and I am feeling negative and burnt out about my self-imposed burdens. How did I get here, and how can I put them DOWN without feeling that crippling guilt?

Sarahlynn said...

Tracey, we miss you at book club! I hope you're able to join us again next year. :)

I don't know if this is helpful, but I recently stumbled upon a quote I love from Catholic nun and art critic Sister Wendy Beckett:

"I don’t think being human has any place for guilt. Contrition, yes, Guilt no. Contrition means you tell God you are sorry and you’re not going to do it again and you start off afresh. All the damage you’ve done to yourself, put right. Guilt means you go on and on belaboring and having emotions and beating your breast and being ego-fixated. Guilt is a trap. People love guilt because they feel if they suffer enough guilt, they’ll make up for what they’ve done. Whereas, in fact, they’re just sitting in a puddle and splashing. Contrition, you move forward. It’s over. You are willing to forgo the pleasures of guilt."

Orange said...

That's hogwash, that the lazy younger moms leave the bulk of the work to the older moms. How much of what they want to do actually needs to be done?

Friend of mine was mentally exhausted by the barrage of "room mother" committee e-mails and planning going into a school Halloween party. The culmination was when one woman explained that, while she'd been planning to drive into the country to get hay bales for decoration, there were some concerns about hay allergies so she was NOT GETTING ANY HAY. Grown-ups decorating, providing food, setting up tables--why is any of that necessary? Let the kids wear their costumes and hand out candy. What's wrong with that? (My son's class had a field trip on 10/30 and didn't get to wear costumes, but we chaperones distributed all the candy into 29 bags. It was enough.)

Sarahlynn said...

Yes! Ellie's fabulous kindergarten teacher keeps trying to tell the room parents (moms) that if you tell the kids it's a party - it's a party! Nothing special needed!

(The lazy young moms comment was in response to me explaining that I quit volunteering in the nursery at church on Sunday mornings because . . . I spend all day every day watching my children and on Sunday mornings the best part of church is sitting quietly with other adults, concentrating on an adult talking to me as though I'm an intelligent adult.)

Tracey said...

Sarahlynn, thanks so much for the Sister Wendy quote. I'm going to print it out and look at it repeatedly in the hopes that it will sink in! Donna will not be teaching Monday nights next semester (HALLELUJAH!) so I _only_ need to work around 2 church committee Mondays a month. I believe they are the second and third Mondays, which is likely to conflict isn't it?

I am with you in not volunteering to do anything specifically kid-related on Sunday mornings. We have a group that we refer to as our "hallway ministry" which involves a fluid group of people sitting near the nursery/Sunday school rooms talking about whatever comes to mind. We're there if our kid(s) need us, but we are specifically looking for adult social interaction. It's my 'happy place'. :)

Sarahlynn said...

I really look forward to seeing you again next semester!