Monday, August 30, 2010

Life in the slow lane

I went out twice this weekend and I can feel the progress being made. On Saturday I was having trouble popping up. Every time I caught a wave, I only made it to my knees. One of my mom/surf companions told me she'd practiced in slow motion til she got it right. On Sunday that's what I did. Took it really slow. Not only did I improve my technique but I realized how habitual it is for me to move quickly and how unnecessary that is. Slowing down caused me to have fun, to laugh more in the water and to have a better time in general.

On the waves isn't the only place I've been slowing down. Since starting to surf, I've also started taking some time during the afternoon to lay on my bed while the kids do something else. I don't read, I don't nap, I just lay there laying there. And then I make it through the day. I haven't had my own personal meltdown in months. I've come close, but there's been no blowing of mom's stack in recent memory. This is particularly impressive considering that, almost exactly a year ago, my temper had gotten so bad I feared I was a danger to my family.

We consulted a family therapist. Before dealing with any family, he said, he had to deal with the mom. After a few weeks, this is basically what he told me:

"You're a mom and nothing you've told me is out of the ordinary for a mom. You're a talented woman, a smart woman, but all you do all day is take care of your family. You need to do more."

And then he asked "If you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?"

And I said "Writing a book."

And he said "Don't come back until you've started writing."

And that was it. I'd been hoping for a more exotic diagnosis than "stay-at-home mom" but there it was. So I started writing.

And surfing.

And sleep training one of my kids for the first time since becoming a parent. Because I can't get up and surf dawn patrol if I have a toddler sleeping next to me, attached at the nipple and hysterically crying the moment I step out of bed, now can I? That would wake everyone up. 

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