I've been trying to meditate.

I guess I can drop the "trying", that's implicit isn't it? Meditation is not easy for anyone I know. Maybe once you've been doing it for many many years, maybe then you no longer "try" so much. So actually, leave "trying" in there, it's essential to explaining what it is I'm doing. If I'm doing anything by sitting still and listening to my breath and watching the cloud thoughts come in and out with startling frequency and intensity, it's "trying."

Sometimes I listen to recorded guided meditations but often they just piss me off. This morning's was about how with every breath, you are becoming a better and better version of yourself and you can do anything you put your mind to. I'm not sure why it annoyed me so much, but I guess, at the moment, acceptance is a more enticing concept to me than self-improvement. What I'm looking for when I meditate is that illusive quiet mind. One that doesn't ring with self-judgement. One that doesn't race and pace at times of stillness.

Can this life I'm leading, this moment I am in, this body that I have, this person that I am, be enough? Right now?

I've been trying to lose weight because I no longer comfortably fit in any of my shorts and most of my pants. I have upped my exercising, adjusted my diet, doing all the things that have worked in the past, and still the scale doesn't budge. I know that I can lose those inches, those pounds, but it's looking like it would take sacrifices I'm not willing to make. It would be like a part-time job, a major commitment of time and heart and brain space. Maybe I should accept that my aging body is just a little bigger and go buy myself some bigger pants already? Or is that a slippery slope with no end?

I have been trying to write fiction, for the first time since college. So far it has resulted only in a few terrible pages and a heaping pile of terror and self-recrimination.  Maybe I should give up on the literary dreams I not-so-secretly harbor and find something else, something more reasonable, to focus on? Or am I being too easily defeated?

I've been trying to potty train my almost three year old. After a few initial successes, it's.... not happening. So now I'm trying to figure out where we can fit a cube fridge in the tiny downstairs bathroom where I spend at least half of my daylight hours.

I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with myself once the girls are in school next fall. I feel simultaneously like Everything is possible! And also I'm too old and too set in my ways and my mind is too mushy for me to ever do anything besides laundry and picking up Barbies for the rest of my life! I had a dream last night that one of my favorite mom bloggers and I were hanging out and she asked me if I "really wanted to stay home, like forever? Or did I want to work at some point doing something meaningful?" and I curled up into a fetal position and cried as she walked away from me.

Nice, dream mind. Thanks for that.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads. I am facing a summer with only scattered summer camps and activities for the girls. I need to put on my Julie McCoy, cruise director cap, my best SAHM self.  I want to enjoy my girls and create joyful memories for us all. It is up to me to create the space and structures that will allow that. This is partly why I'm home with them, after all. I'm trying to rise to the challenge of an open, minimally-planned summer.

But then, after the summer is over, Z will be in First! Grade! and E will be in morning preschool five mornings a week. I will officially have more "free" time on my hands than I've had in many years.

Five bucks says I will squander that time like a pro.

I have conflicting goals when I imagine having more time on my hands. Part of me immediately focuses on our home, and all the organizing, gardening, decorating, crafting projects that I could devote myself to to make our lives, our little home, richer. The competing desire is to GET OUT. Get out of my house, get out of this little life. Get out into the world. I do have a building, conflicting, desire to work outside the home.

What I know: I want to find some part time employment eventually, once the girls are in school and need me less. I want to serve others. I want to earn some money, engage my brain, connect myself to my community.

I want to just know what the next step will be. I want something to fall into my lap and announce itself: Here I am! Your true calling! You are meant to serve love and goodness in the world by.... ! I fantasize about this because I bravely believe in things happening in their own time and can patiently wait, because I am lazy, because I am scared, because I am unsure where to start so how about I start by waiting and watching and wondering?

I am trying to accept where I am, while pushing myself, ever so gently, toward something more.

And, all the while, I am trying to meditate.


Sarah said...

I have two votes: one, that you buy a size bigger shorts. If you're already exercising and eating in ways that are about as high a strictness level as you're able/willing to comfortably maintain, then there's no point in killing yourself for a few months, losing ALL the weight you want to, and then eventually, inevitably backsliding and regaining it. I think maybe you're right that your body just wants to be a little bigger now, and unless you're willing to deprive it of chocolate, wine and cheese forever, you should let it!
My second vote is that this fall you should try to find something out of the house to do with your free time. It's so easy and tempting, once you've been a stay at home parent, to get utterly wrapped up in the details of the home. And not that they don't matter- I obviously believe they do, or I wouldn't be where I am. But I think it's healthy, once the little ones don't need every ounce of our energy, to find moments to remind ourselves of what we have to give beyond the circle of our nuclear family. Plus (if it were me, anyways) I'd end up wasting half that time at home I was planning to use organizing and painting and instead read and eat and watch Netflix in peace. But if I had a commitment out of the house, I'd HAVE to go! But that's just me.

d e v a n said...

I've been trying to teach myself to meditate forever but it is ridiculously hard to quiet my mind! Ugh!

Stephanie said...

I read your post quickly this morning and then rushed off to yoga, which I've committed to doing daily just for this month. And while I was there (doing the yoga) I was thinking that, you know, working out this much really IS like having a part-time job! It's at least 15 hours a week between the getting there, the doing it, and the showering after (required, and I have very low standards for going about the town). Anyway, I think our metabolisms are just crapping out on us, and I'm vacillating, like you, between "Oh, hell no, body" and making peace with a slightly larger size of pants.

Shannon said...

Love your candor. As for the pants, I say, get yourself one really nice fitting comfortable "bigger" pair that make you feel good and then have a goal of getting healthy, no matter what size that equates to. Have you checked out the belly dancing ladies all over this world? Their "belly" is a thing of beauty... only we think of it as gross. Why is THAT? This reminds me of your post "Operation Muffin Top" a few years ago. I almost peed my pants laughing when I read that one.

How about signing yourself up to volunteer one day a month or one day a week at a place you think does good things for the world? You can even volunteer to help new moms in the hospital who have had a rough time. That always ignites new motivation in me (though I haven't done a thing in 6 years since my son was born). And as always, your little blog here is such a great contribution to all of us, don't ever forget that!

Hillary said...

I always feel a little better about my own situation when you write about your search for meaning and purpose. Some of it is commiseration. But it's also because I really respect your writing and mothering and accomplishments. I admire you and yet you struggle with these same questions, which makes me feel like it's OK that I do, too.

Thank you!

Pamela Hunt Cloyd said...

My yoga teacher said that meditation is less about quieting the mind and more about discovering where it goes ...
I too am for the bigger shorts. But more, I am for you submitting THIS piece out someplace. It's wonderful. I feel like you are inside my head (and my own bathroom where potty training is NOT happening despite the addition of M&Ms to the process). I love the play between what you think you should want versus what is as well as the confusion about what is. Because we all have that confusion. This is wonderful! I hope your work outside the home is to write:)

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Sarah- Thank you for your votes! I (think I) agree with both of them!

Stephanie- IT IS A PART TIME JOB, RIGHT? I mean, I really and truly love to exercise but there's only so much I can comfortably squeeze into my life before it starts to become a Big Deal. And yes, my metabolism is totally and completely "crapping out" of me!

Shannon- Thanks. Just, THANKS.

Hillary- And thanks to you, too.

Pamela- OH DEAR. I'm not sure I really want to discover where my mind goes! (And that phone you hear ringing? That's my therapist calling.....)

Amy said...

This is a tough spot to be in. I"m there right now, in my underemployedness. I theoretically should go get a "real" job, but I can't bear the idea of working for The Man again. But I can't do nothing, if only for practical reasons. It's hard to be in the middle without knowing what kind of end you want. Like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I agree with Pamela, I hope you will write!

Joanna said...

I loved everything that you said, but I have to admit my favorite part was finding out that you are writing fiction. You have such a true voice! I am sure that when you find the story to go with it, the results will be amazing. Please don't be impatient with yourself.

Cortney said...

Ok, now I'm truly floored by the ongoing sameness of our lives. It's just crazy... every time I sit down to read one of your posts it's as if I wrote it (except more eloquently written.

Ditto to it ALL, including a fresh new week-old mindfulness meditation practice. I'm reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living at the moment and "TRYING" for non-striving, "TRYING" to keep my commitment to myself.

I'm constantly struggling with the thought of doing something more "useful" in my life, to serve others, to have my need to do something other than mother met, ie: go back to work. Ugh. And I have a career to go back to. But the inertia I have to overcome to make it happen is scary and every time I start to think about it, I get scared and run away. I, too, am waiting for the "right" time.

Again, thanks for helping me feel less alone and isolated in this crazy mama world.

And happy early Mother's Day CBHM! You're such a great mama!

Good Enough Mom said...

As soon as both of my kids were in school, I BLEW out of my house. I raced out! WHOOSH!!!

Then I totally neglected home organization for at least 2 years...and thank f'n god...because too much home-care drove me mad.

One of my clinical supervisors is a really famous psychoanalyst. She frequently says: "You put a woman alone in a house with small children and expect her NOT to get depressed??? Are you kidding? Child-rearing is not meant to happen that way."


Good Enough Mom said...

oh, ps, I have very similar dreams... I feel ya.

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