Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Voices

I hear voices.  Of course on the outside, I hear very loud voices of very loud children asking questions, making her demands, protesting injustice, shouting with excitement, and wailing in despair.  But the voices I hear inside are almost as loud and insistent. They are the voices that compare my ideal self with my actual self, what I should accomplish with what I do (or mostly don’t) accomplish, and my life/talents/strengths/accomplishments with others,’ a tyranny of shoulds.  They are the voices that can never be satisfied.  They are mostly my own voice, and they sound like this:

I should really do something with my hair at least occasionally.  Look at all the moms who manage to look amazing all the time (or at least for Facebook photos).  Maybe some makeup would help.  And my clothes are looking awfully ratty. 

Maybe I need some new clothes.  Well of course I don’t need clothes.  I’ll just be contributing to the over-consumption and crazy consumerism. Most of the clothes I have were probably made by some kid or a factory worker in terrible conditions, and I try to buy fair trade now but I’m not sure how helpful that even is. I probably shouldn’t buy anything ever again.  And I’m sure I could be doing something more important with the 2 minutes it would take to put on makeup, so scrap that idea.

For example, I could be reading to Adalyn.  I never read to her and she’ll probably grow up hating books.  She’ll end up in therapy because she never gets any attention. 

Well, except I did hold her most of the morning because she was so fussy and screaming every time I put her down.  Some people would say I’m spoiling her and should just let her scream.  Maybe I should.  The only thing I accomplished this morning was getting dinner in the crockpot while Adalyn emptied the cabinets and poured spices all over the floor.  So we might have something to eat (though not with as many vegetables as it should and I should really take the time to make sure we eat healthier), but the kitchen is a huge mess.

I should really keep things cleaner.  Of course, I spend all day cleaning and trying to reign in the chaos, and that’s why I don’t spend enough time with the kids.  I shouldn’t be so worried about the house being clean.  Isn’t that what everyone says?  I say that to other people. 

But every time I walk into another room I feel stressed out from everything that is out of place.  Maybe I need to keep things cleaner for my own mental sanity.  If I was doing a better job teaching my kids responsibility they wouldn’t leave random toys and goodness-knows-where-they-found-that items scattered over every surface of the house.

Probably the time I spend cleaning is selfish, though.  There are so many more important things to do.  My friend was just talking about how much time they spend with mothers in the neighborhood.  Our teammate is doing things with students every day.  I have only had my students over once this term!  I should be getting to know the neighborhood families better.  Why is that so hard?  I should get to know the other teachers better and try to do more things to help them.  Those other teachers at that other school do so much with their colleagues and look at how good that has been.

And we STILL need to write a newsletter!  I just need to figure out a really captivating idea.  Hmm, no captivating ideas.  Maybe I just need to write one anyway.  It’s been too long and everyone will forget about us.  I’d like to tell about the awesome things we are doing except I’m not doing anything awesome!!  Can I just talk about the laundry?  I do an awful lot of that.  That will be really unimpressive.  They’ll probably tell us to just come home.

Remember before I had kids how I had students over all the time? Good in-depth conversations.  Meals. Christmas programs.  Right now I do approximately nothing.  I am probably impacting nobody.  Does it even matter that I’m here? 

Of course my kids are important.  But I don’t spend enough time with them either.  Juliana’s preschool lessons are so haphazard sometimes.  And we have already established how I neglect Adalyn. I’m so busy keeping them in cleanish clothes and eating not-quite-healthy enough meals.

And our discipline is clearly not working because she is still whines and flips out and acts like we have never ever before told her not to hit her sister.  She is already four years old and I’m pretty sure if we had followed someone else’s parenting method she would be duteous and respectful by now.  And oppressed.  Those kids are going to end up in some major teenage rebellion.  Maybe I’m being too hard on Juliana. She’s only four years old.  If I just spent more time with her we wouldn’t have these problems.

I should stop thinking about all the things I should be doing. It’s really not helpful. And everyone knows you shouldn’t compare unless the other person really is doing more good than you which they obviously are.  If I stopped thinking about it so much, then I could actually get more things done like I should be doing.

Okay, I’m going to stop worrying about it and just go do the dishes or maybe first the laundry right after I arrange at time to meet my student and read a book to Adalyn except oh crap there’s still spices all over the floor! Oh forget it. Maybe I’ll just make another cup of coffee.

Linking up with Velvet Ashes this week on the topic of shame.
"Shame begins to loosen its grip when you begin to believe you are enough, right now, just as you are."

1 comment:

Kelly Hallahan said...

"Remember before I had kids how I had students over all the time? Good in-depth conversations. Meals. Christmas programs. Right now I do approximately nothing. I am probably impacting nobody. Does it even matter that I’m here?"

Are you sure you're not inside my head? Really grateful to know I'm not alone! Blessing from Uganda- keep up the good work, mama!