I was thinking today about coping mechanisms for all the things in life that are less than satisfactory. The way I tell myself that every little bit of clutter I clean up gets me closer to my goal of getting it all put away. The way I feel a little bit overwhelmed, but remind myself to just push through one more day. The way I daydream about storage furniture. All these things help me in some measure when I am not getting what I need.
Ideally, I need a week away all by myself, in some location that is too far to slip home because I feel guilty, but still familiar to me. In my dreams, I spend a week by myself in London, and see no one but museum staff and the people at Pret A Manger and Costa. But that's just dreamland, and in real life, I am the mother to a small girl who still needs me very much, almost every day. (That I could go away for a night or two and she would be fine is fairly clear, but a week would be ridiculous.) So I will make do with what I can get, which will be full day with the house to myself sometime soon. And it will be enough, because it has to be. In the meantime, I will accept that until that day comes, our house may look like it's heading to Martha Stewart's personal version of hell in a cat hair encrusted handbasket. Because that's another coping mechanism: turning a blind eye to my own Hoarders episode in the making.
One thing that is hardest for me about being an introvert is that there seem to be so few people that get it, that understand that it's not that I don't want to be efficient or organized or have a spic-and-span house, but that there comes a certain point when I've had too much interaction with others that I simply can't manage many other things. My energy goes first to my daughter, and much of the rest gets channeled to simply showing up where I'm supposed to be with the appropriate items in tow. When life is particularly busy, and I have not had a break for quite some time, I have very little left to give to the rest of my life. I am at that point now, and I am doing a fairly good job accepting it and waiting it out until I get relief.
As I sit here at my cluttered desk (non-essential mail items are still piled up from vacation), in my dirty-floored house, I consider what it will be like when I have two children to attend to instead of just one. I know, for one thing, that I will be even more tired than I am today. I know that I will have to work out once again what works for both my family and for me.
I do wonder if people will think I am nuts to take on a second child who will have needs as great as or even greater than Zinashi's. This past year has been intense, and I know that when our second child comes it will be even more so. We will walk through grief and loss with our next child, and will continue to do so with Zinashi, and this requires a lot of intentional closeness. It may seem to an outsider that this is quite unwise. But here's the key point: I not just an introvert. It is only one facet of who I am, and mothering draws on many aspects of my personality. I am doing what I am meant to do with my whole self at the point in time, and doing so means working with everything I've got, including my introverted nature.
My children will not be young forever, and this very busy phase of life will not be forever either. My purpose and direction will change as they grow. For now, though, this is the life I am meant to be living, and I believe with my whole heart that as long as I choose to fully inhabit the story that is being written with my life, I will find the grace to do what is necessary to nurture the little people who have been placed in it.