Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the new normal

I am totally overwhelmed. Today, it seems, nothing is going right -- in fact, I'm so screwed, I am just sitting here on my couch, feeling frozen and unsure of what I can even do.

I hate feeling this way. I look at other women mothering toddler twins and can't imagine how they do it. Keep a clean house? Cook good meals that the babies will actually eat? Keep up with laundry; keep the children from biting or hitting, or otherwise hurting each other; pay the bills; deal with paperwork; create interesting things to do; find a way to earn some money???? I feel like I am failing on every single front.

I am trying to run my Etsy shop and get a marketing workshop organized for January. It's becoming clear to me that this path isn't going to work. Not only am I not making any money - I'm losing it. Re-investing in my shop is turning into a nightmare. Finding time to promote either of these ventures is completely impossible. I want to cry at the thought of it all.

When I was pregnant, I thought of China as my backup plan. If I ran out of money and couldn't find a job, I'd just move back there for a year or so. It's cheap to live, the food is great, work is plentiful, and it's easy to hire a nanny. Now that I have children, moving to another country seems insane. There's no way I can take the boys away from their auntie - their other parent. This morning I was lying in bed with Max, and in the dark he awoke, saying "Mama, Mama, Mama. Auntie, Auntie, Auntie. Shoghi, Shoghi, Shoghi." It was so sweet - that litany of his favorite people. It still amazes me to be at the top of that list. Hell - it amazes me to be ON the list. I'm a mother! Despite the feelings I describe in this post, I am filled with gratitude for even having these problems... to say I love these boys and being their mama doesn't even begin to convey the depth of that emotion.

Anyway, it is just so clear that I have to make this work. Here, in Portland. And "MAKE it work" is what it feels like. Forcing something to happen. "This shop must generate some income;" "This workshop must get off the ground." This feeling of desperation is backfiring, though... I feel everything I try to push into existence full of resistance and refusing to budge. My grad school application got filled out, but when it came to sitting down and articulating my goals, I froze. I tried for weeks. Finally, I gave up and told the admissions coordinator that I'd finish the app for summer session.

This morning was our last day with E, our babysitter who has taken care of the boys on and off since they were about 2 months old. Just thinking of it brings me to tears, not only because of how much the boys and I will miss having her around (she's about to have a baby herself!), but on a very basic level, it simply means that I have no more help. I have no more mornings to sit at the cafe for a couple of hours and organize my thoughts. I have no more time to deal with a job search without the boys pulling at me or threatening to bite me (or each other). I have not been able to afford having her for some months, but the alternative of not having anyone has brought me to keep having her over. That luxury is over, though... I'm not in a position to find someone else.

I just feel like it's all building up to a big disaster. I feel incapable and paralyzed. I feel, every hour, overwhelmed. Sadly, this has become my new normal.


  1. Oh my dear Celeste! I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. We all do sometimes... And part of the reason you are especially overwhelmed is you are doing this alone. Not entirely alone, of course, but being a single parent, all the pressure sits squarely on your shoulders - taking care of the babies and also bringing home the proverbial bacon. You have every right to feel paralyzed sometimes.

    I sure hope you can find a way to make some money. Have you ever thought about government? I have been very happy with my nine years of employment in municipal government. It's steady, secure, pays well and in my case, I'm doing something I love (recycling). Government is supposed to be supportive of families and flexible. Just a thought... I know jobs can be hard to come by right now. But you're the kind of person who is intelligent and well-spoken so I'm sure you'll come out ahead of other job applicants when you apply places.

    I'm thinking about you and sending positive "wealth vibes" your way.

    Love to you all,

  2. Ah Celeste, there are days I feel so overwhelmed and I look at all the crap that I wish I could get done (like filing the piles of papers that are collapsing over themselves in a pile in the basement). That's with only one lovely bambino and a pretty helpful hubby. So, no wonder you feel paralyzed!

    I don't know if this will be of help to you or not, but it came to mind, so I'll pass it along: www.theheartofbusiness.com/the-remembrance-challenge/ When I'm feeling so depleted and running on fumes, remembrance has been the best and easiest way I've found to fill my tank so I can even take a breath and listen beyond the panic for my next best step.

    Take good care of yourself. Sending you breath and ease!

    much love,

  3. i'm still upside down and sdrawkcab .D
    (try writing something backwards ,P)

    (((sorry you've been feeling it too though)))