My first visit to the therapist this weekend resulted in this bit of wisdom:
All parents find that to be good—really good—at raising a child, some part of them needs to go underground. Some people let their hobbies go, some let their careers go, some let their marriages go. But something needs to give. Just be careful what you sacrifice because the stuff that gets pushed underground may never come back up.
Damn. That was totally worth the $20.
Because for the first three years of Peanut’s life, I thought that I had closed all the doors to my future. Instead of choosing what went subterranean while I made the sacrifice to parent full time, I shovelled everything under. I was not willing to choose a few thing to die so the other bits could thrive. I just jammed it all in a box labeled: Do Not Open until 2011.
But framing the choice I’ve made in terms of pushing a few priorities to the back burner and shoving some effectively off the stove and into the trash is enlightening. I knew I wanted to fill each hole that arose as my family grew less and less needy with bits of me that I had stuffed in that box. But I didn’t (and don’t yet) have a plan for what comes out when. Just bringing dribbles of *everything* whenever there’s a spare moment will not work. I need to make room in the fridge and bring myself back a gallon at a time.
So I’m going to spend the next few weeks thinking about what I’m willing to toss, what I want to keep on hold, and what could slip back into my life, in one gulp not tiny sips, so I’m more of a person than I’ve been for a while.
What are you letting go underground while you do your most important work, and what are you carefully guarding and tending so it won’t get buried as you do your “have to” and “should”s?