Thursday, February 12, 2015

Me, My Angels, and My Laptop: A Random Rant on Renewal

A little music to accompany this post, Private Party by India Arie

Ain't nobody here but me, my angels, and my guitar laptop, singing "Baby, look how far we've come!" 
Celebrating the woman I've become. 

I am away from my husband and the baby on a work trip. It is midnight. I should be asleep.

While sleep is a commodity these days, so is the ability to just lie in the bed and think and dream and strategize and plan. So while I have nothing pressing on tomorrow morning's agenda, I'll use my favorite space on the web to think aloud with you all and do a little sleeping in tomorrow.

Let's go back to the first sentence of this post.

I am away from my husband and the baby on a work trip. 

I wonder what shenanigans these two will get into while I'm gone
This is my first time being away from my little peanut, and while I've been crying off and on today, I'm also realizing that when I signed up to speak at this conference at 7 months pregnant, I didn't realize that I'd be giving myself a gift: some solitude and quiet. Some time to think about being a better wife, mom, and academic. I'd be giving myself a space to renew my mind and spirit.* And, of course, this wouldn't be possible without a husband who gladly jumped at the opportunity for some daddy & daughter time.  He balked at the idea of getting some help while I'm gone, and our daycare provider has christened him the Patron Saint of Daddyhood. He rocks.

Back to me: I have never been more exhausted in my life. I am burning the candle at both ends and then some. Being far away from my extended family makes rearing Little Miss TJ a mostly 2-person job.  Her daddy and I juggle her and two very demanding jobs.  We live by a calendar and work closely with her daycare provider. Sometimes that isn't enough. Thank God for a job where I can (occasionally) give a talk while bouncing a baby on my hip. A little daycare snafu found me presenting to a group of prospective students the other night with the baby in tow. Y'all know she stole the show, right?!?

Anyway, getting back to my point: exhaustion. I was telling my friends the other day that sleep deprivation makes me hopeless. You should hear me on a tough night with the baby.  I slip into despair and begin replaying over and over everything that is wrong with me, my mothering, and my career. It's a slippery slope that leads me to be frozen in fear of the unknown. This isn't going to work, because I told y'all Year 38 is all about regaining my footing and balance.

Sometimes I forget that in the midst of feeling like there is no certainty, the uncertainty can be a gift if I allow it to be. Uncertainty and the willingness to delve into the unknown led me to quit a great job and jump into being a full-time student.  Uncertainty and embracing the unknown led me down this career path. Dancing with the unknown and unfamiliar gave us our baby. I have to remind myself that being open to not having it all mapped out leaves room for the unexpected, and the unexpected is often better than what we plan.

So while I have some time to myself, in the midst of working and networking, I'm going to use some time to renew my mind. I'm going to meditate on being open to the uncertainty of new motherhood and a new career. I'm going to spend some time celebrating in the midst of what sometimes feels like upheaval. I'm going to spend some time rethinking how I spend my time. I'm going to SLEEP, dammit! I'm going to enjoy the company of good friends who live in the area - folks who knew me before the degrees and the husband and the baby.

And when I board the plan to go back to my favorite folks, I know that I won't have it all together, but I'm promising myself that I'll have taken a little time to refuel to keep on fighting the good fight.

Until next time . . . I'll be missing my family but focusing on me!

*The body is still up for debate. I brought my gym clothes, but see the way my fatigue is set up . . .