30 July 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

It amazes me sometimes how life works. I've been worrying and blogging about this decision: do we or don't we take the kids to the going-away ceremony? Do we or don't we attend all the hullabaloo that surrounds a deployment? Do we or don't we treat this deployment as a much bigger deal than all of D.'s other trips that he takes with the Army?

And then yesterday D. emails me, angry and complaining about the latest thing that the Army conveniently "forgot" to tell him. He's leaving for the deployment early. He has to be there 2 or 3 days earlier than the other guys do. Which means he won't even be there for the going-away ceremony. Our decision? The one I've been sweating and fretting over? Made.

This happens so often that I'm not sure why I still bother to worry. Not exactly this, of course. Our decisions aren't always made for us. But stuff changes. I'll worry about something for days or weeks, and then the situation shifts, and my worries are no longer valid. So why? Why do I do this to myself?

I've come to realize that I'm a perfectionist, actually. But not in the way of most perfectionists. My beds aren't always (actually, ever) made with hospital corners and all the throw pillows just so. My bathroom only ever stays spotless for about 5 minutes in a row and that's if I clean it after all the kids are in bed. When I wrap a present, it doesn't look like it was professionally wrapped. I'm not that kind of perfectionist. I'm the kind of perfectionist who only freaks out about the big things of life. That whole "don't sweat the small stuff" thing? Got it covered. I am not sweating the small stuff. It's the big stuff that can give me a panic attack.

What if we can't pay for our kids' college educations? What about this new car we're thinking of buying? Are we spending too much? Am I too protective of my kids? Do I do too much for them? When do I let go a little of my teenager's decisions? It keeps me up at night, all this big stuff. It's the stuff that I HAVE to do right. It's the big stuff that I need to get perfect. It's the big stuff that I can't let go.

And yet. I'm a good mom. I'm a good wife. I'm doing the best I can do with the situation I have. I'm going to do the wrong thing sometimes. I'm going to make the wrong decisions. I should probably have three funds for each kid: the college fund, the wedding fund, and the counseling fund, because I will mess up my kids in some way. We all do. But I'm doing the best I can.

I'm going to have a lot of "big stuff" to worry about in the next year while D. is deployed. How to balance work and family. How to be three places at once when E. has a basketball game and J. has gymnastics and A. is supposed to be at Tai Kwon Do. Who to call when the furnace is making that funny noise or there's a really big spider on the bathroom wall. Oh, and then there's the whole "husband off at war" thing. Yep, plenty to worry about.

But the email about D.'s early departure has got me thinking I need to put a stop to the worry. The worry's not helping me, by any means. If anything, it's stressing me out and making me grumpier to all those around me. I'm not sure how great I'll be at this, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to stop sweating the big stuff, too. I'm going to put more effort and more energy into balancing work and family. I'm going to worry less and clean more. I'm going to stop staying up at night worrying and instead attempt a good night's sleep. I'll never have perfectly made beds and throw pillows arranged just so. That's not me. But if I don't let the worry suck all my energy away, who knows what I'll be able to do. Maybe someday my bathroom will stay clean for six minutes in a row!

Hey, a girl can dream.

1 comment:

Mom O. said...

Good luck with all this!! You ARE a good Mom and a good wife and a good daughter, too, by the way. So calm down, take a deep breath, and call us when you need us. Love you!!!