Survival Mode

I have been avoiding my life lately.  Well…not avoiding life, exactly, but avoiding myself might be a better description.  My husband has been working and traveling in non-stop fashion for the past month, leaving me to handle five children in three different sports, and a demanding house and yard to maintain…

by myself.

Thankfully I have much help and love and support from family and friends. 

When my life and schedule get harried and overwhelming like this past month, I have a tendency to “batten down the hatches” and shift into “survival mode.”  Survival mode means looking at my very full, event-overlapping calendar several times a day.  It means using reading as a means to escape the stress of my life.  It means avoiding anything too emotional, too vulnerable, too revealing of my true emotions I’ve stuffed down into my soul. 

It means eating rice krispie treats when I don’t even like them.

It means avoiding this blog (which I love) because there is not time for me.  There is only time for what must be done.

I know the lies inherent in all of this.  Even as I’m avoiding and stressing and escaping, I know the lies that are there.  But sometimes it’s easier to wallow in the mudpit than fight my way out.  After all, I’m familiar with the mudpit.  I know the lies; I’ve heard them a million times before…I sing them to myself in a shameful lullaby.

It comes down to balance and grace – both difficult for me to maneuver on my own.  There are so many pulls on me from every direction.   I feel as though I waver between self-sacrificing martyr and selfishness.  I have yet to find the happy medium, if such a thing truly exists.  But I tell myself it exists…and I berate myself for not finding it.  More lies.

It’s a good, happy, fulfilling, albeit challenging life.  I am not complaining.  I am just treading water when I wish I could be swimming. 

I choose to find the joy – and there are moments of it everywhere.  But they tend to filter in and out of my consciousness as quickly as little silver minnows flitting through the water.  I wish I could catch them, hold them for a bit, live on them…but they escape through my outstretched fingers. 

My avoider-self says not to blog.  “Don’t share these shameful thoughts.  People have it much worse than you; quit complaining.  You are reaping the consequences of your own choices.  Quit whining.  You should be putting the laundry away; doing the dishes; weeding the garden; painting the pantry; organizing…something; sewing new pillow covers; etc.” 

And so today I am fighting the mudpit.  I am dogpaddling.  I am avoiding the rice krispie treats instead of this blog.  After all, it’s Mother’s Day.  And what better gift for my children than a Mom who loves herself?

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