Journal 2/14/19: The Battle Rages Daily
“What are these?” He asked. His fat little fingers traced the lines on my face.
“Oh…. those are wrinkles…” I replied.
“Yeah. Life puts lines and marks on you to honor your adventures. Mommy has had a lot of adventures. Some adventures get wrinkles. Other adventures get scars.” I showed him my feet with all their scars. “Some adventures even mark your bones. The biggest adventures… those mark your heart and your soul. Sometimes, you paint pictures on your body to honor those..” I showed him my tattoos. “This one honors my biggest adventure. This adventure led me to Daddy, which ultimately gave me you.”
Of all my adventures, having children has marked me the most deeply. I’m not sure I can string together the words to explain something that has cut into me so very deeply and yet simultaneously covered all the other marks. Having children plunged me into the battle of my life between complete selfishness and utter selflessness. And this battle rages daily in a way I never expected. Sweet Jesus, how I long for just a moment to myself to think a complete thought, much less to type out a coherent journal entry and relieve my poor brain of all the half-thoughts I may never get to fully think. Sometimes, I wonder if I have sacrificed too much of my time and purpose to spend ALL the seconds I can grab with my kids. Other times, I crave more seconds doing just about anything with them. And so the battle rages…
Like everything else, I suppose the truth lies in the natural ebb and flow of all things in life. There isn’t any real balance to this gig. The hope is that you are happy at the end of it all, though, and that feels like too big a gamble to just go at it haphazardly. Yikes!
The other week, I was driving in my car ( no music… that takes up precious brain space these days) and the thought came to me that actually the answer seems to be no different than the approach I take when I select exercises for a client. It’s 3 simple questions.
Why Are You Doing It? I ask this question a MILLION times a day of myself ( in addition to when I am programming exercises.) Why the hell am I doing this? Do I know? If I don’t, I probably should even if it’s just to be sure I am ok with it. I find that when I ask myself this question, I often don’t have a good answer and all I’m actually doing is adding stress where I really need space.
What’s The Objective? In exercise, it’s important to know the objective of the exercise. Without that knowledge, your efforts are often misplaced. It might look like the objective is “touch the floor” but the truth is that you should “engage your hamstrings to create strength at the farthest end range.” It’s a big difference both in how the exercise feels and what is the actual outcome of the effort. I have found the same to be true in my efforts with my family. If the objective is “spend time with my oldest”, then why the hell am I screaming at him to hurry up and get in the car so we can get to the frikking fun place? I’m expending effort towards something that doesn’t matter to the objective. Huh… ouch. At the bottom of this entry, I’ve listed my current 4 objectives around which I am basing everything. I’m sure these will change over time. But for now…
Are You Getting The Desired Results? Like me, you were probably told you should never quit. I call bullshit on that. I personally give you permission to quit and to let your kids quit, too. In real life, quitting is part of the deal. You quit jobs, you quit schools, you quit relationships… you have to learn to quit well, too. I remember a Haka Member who came to me devastated that her daughter didn’t want to finish competitive swimming. She wanted to know my thoughts and she was shocked when I suggested she let her quit. Wait… hear me out…let HER quit. The athlete herself needed to do the quitting. If something isn’t working, it’s ok to let it go. It’s also important to be responsible about it. If what your trying with your family isn’t getting the results you wanted, move on and be ok with it.
Right now, this seems to provide some framework for this thing that we are doing that looks nothing like anything I have ever done before. The world is full of people doing so many awesome things and social media constantly makes me feel like me AND my kids do not have our shit together. But when I put the blinders on and focus on the life right here in front of me, I am happy. Stressed AF, but happy.
*** My current four objectives in anything I do with my family:
Spend as much time as possible as a family unit
Spend as much time as possible in natural settings outdoors.
Move in as many ways as possible and with as much context as we can.
Pursue interests and see what sticks.