Monday, October 26, 2015

Our Current Neurosis

A theme of distress has arisen among the females of our household: the theme of Too Much To Do in Too Few Hours of the Day.

It manifests itself differently in each of us, owing to our individual personalities, weaknesses, and neurotic tendencies. But we all are feeling that stress. I need to do this. I have to do this. I should do this. I want to do this. I feel guilty because I'm not doing this. I'm unhealthy because I'm not doing this. And this. And this.

And can I be honest? I don't necessarily look at what we're trying to accomplish in a week and think it's too much. Now, maybe my perception has just become warped -- that's certainly within the realm of possibility. But I don't feel like we're expecting a lot of ourselves.

But maybe that's because when I think of everything I have to do, I think of the big stuff. School, homeschool, curriculum writing, plays and such. That all looks busy, but doable.

Then I add in the once-in-a-while events that come up: the church luncheon yesterday (I'm just helping set up and clean up -- no big deal). Halloween (buy candy, carve a pumpkin -- not so bad). Make my Christmas list (just sitting down and thinking for a while, right?). Again, each of these are stressors, but they are just momentary interruptions.

Here's what I forget: life.

The everyday life stuff. In the midst of the big things are the little things: figuring out what to cook for meals, picking up the house, doing laundry, packing lunches, walking the dog, cleaning out the fountain, backing up my laptop, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher, making sure we have toilet paper in the house, coloring my hair, exercising, mopping mud stains, Bible study, pulling weeds, paying bills, buying groceries, refilling prescriptions and picking them up, cleaning toilets, dumping bad food from the fridge, watering flowers, dusting, taking care of the dog's nails and teeth, finding missing items, replacing the batteries in the smoke detectors, cleaning out the microwave, showering . . .

The little things are what get missed. And the little things add up fast. And the little things undone make me feel like I'm a crazy woman and failing at life.

How does this happen? Women in my situation from the 1920s would look on my life, with all the modern technological advantages, and think I'm living on Easy Street. Nope. More stressed than ever. And I don't think I know anyone who isn't stressed in a similar way. Do you? No, you don't either.

As I said, the three of us ladies in our home all deal with this in different ways. And none of our methods are wholly successful or healthy. In fact, some of them have become decidedly unhealthy and need to be dealt with.

Which is now another item on the to-do list: fix neurosis.

Sigh. Well, despite it all, I still feel like this is the most enjoyable season of my life so far. I enjoy my family tremendously, and they all enjoy each other. I love the work I'm doing. I love the house I'm living in.

Life is good . . . I just have to remind myself of that when I see more muddy footprints at the front door. Life is good.

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