Then my daughter's arrival brought a whole new potential to reach, that of SuperMom. I was going to hand-sew Halloween costumes and hold wildly creative birthday parties and decorate the most adorable playroom. I would be the best homeroom mother, Girl Scout troop leader and bake sale organizer who ever lived.
But life wouldn't cooperate. So much piled on that I couldn't manage a fraction of what I intended. Not only that, but I could no longer meet my self-imposed markers in nearly any other area. I fell short more times than an intact Chihuahua in a field of Great Danes.
And I beat myself up something fierce.
One of my closest friends, Susan Crumley, heard my complaints enough times that when she ran across a blog post on the subject, she sent me a link.
According to the post by Rachel Marie Martin (http://rachelmariemartin.blogspot.com), "I read this article in the New York Times about the pressure on moms to look a certain way after they give birth. And then? Then, we're to be ultra creative, crafty, humorous, happy, chipper, up before dawn, to sleep after dark, with our sinks shined, and the laundry folded, and tomorrow's breakfast in the crockpot, with tomorrow's dinner (pulled from our once-a-month cooking) thawing in the fridge, while we work out for 20 minutes on odd days and 40 minutes on even days, and our hair is always done, we're makeup ready, our fridges are stocked, and the craft closet bursting with ideas for that quick perfect afternoon art project."
All these self-imposed and society-imposed pressures can leave a person feeling like a failure, but what the blog post recommended hardly seemed to make sense.
She said to slow down.
It seems insane to think that when there's already too much to do the answer can be to slow down. Yet along with doing less, she suggests making an effort to notice more, pay attention to each little thing that's achieved, especially all those little time-eaters that can munch up a day.
I decided to give it a try. Instead of continuing to beat myself up for not getting anywhere near my potential, I'm going to unplug for a week. I'm disconnecting from the Internet and turning off the cell and ignoring the news. I'm going to do nothing for a week but enjoy myself.
After so many years, pushing has become second nature, but I'm going to make a serious effort to cut myself some slack. I'm going to force myself to sit still on that porch I worked so hard to fix up. I'm going to read books bought for enjoyment rather than research. Going to go for actual walks, rather than laps.
And to reframe my potential into one that's kinder to me.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.