Thursday, May 19, 2011

Know Thyself

Apologies in advance if this turns out to be incomprehensible.

I was reading Better Homes & Gardens and an article began like this: "When DD Allen's teal-blue 1978 Scout is parked outside, you can bet a party is going on at her New England beach cottage. 'My House is on the beaten path,' she says. 'If people see cars in the drive, they feel comfortable popping in. It's never really planned. It just evolves.'"*

And I was kind of horrified. I mean, that's nice for her, but oh my would that not work for me! The idea that someone could unexpectedly knock on my door fills me with anxiety. When my parents moved here in November I was clear that they could not just show up at my door. Call first! Even if you're already on your way. Just a few of the reasons this wouldn't work for me: my house is always a MESS, I don't have food to throw together to make a party [though the article goes on to say the hostess gets takeout tacos but makes her own margaritas, so she's not completely an impromptu Martha Stewart], and I would constantly be anxious that someone would knock while I'm in the bathroom.

Which leads me to the inspiration and title of this post: know thyself. It's okay that I can't do impromptu entertaining. No one expects me to (and I don't have any local friends, so no worries). Over the years, I think I've learned, well, to have low expectations of myself. One of my newer phrases/mottos is: there are things I can handle and things I can't. Not that I always know which is which, but for example, I sometimes cancel speech in the afternoon if I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. Maybe the actual timing would work, but I don't want to overschedule myself. I've learned as a mom of two that maybe I can get 100 things done (or more like 6), but the consequence will be that I am cranky and snappy at everyone by the end of the day. The challenge of course is to find the balance between productivity and down time, and I do not have that figured out, not by a long shot.

And I realize (sadly) that what I can handle is less than the average mom. Blame the IBS or depression or just my personality (and laziness), but it's true. Like I said, I do too much and I take it out on others. And there are some supermoms out there who can handle 20 times more than I can. And I'm okay with that (though I probably won't read their blogs!). The point is to find what works for you. And hopefully be at peace with letting the rest go.

* Better Homes & Gardens, June 2011, p.37

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