Letting Go.

August 30, 2010 at 7:59 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), motherhood, My life | 23 Comments

We did get packed in order to go up to North Conway. O fell asleep in the car, late. We pulled into the driveway about 9:30.

When J opened his door to get out, because we had forgotten to turn on the interior lights, O woke up.

And because it was a new place, he didn’t want to EVER go to sleep.

My child was up until after midnight that night. I did everything I could to get him to relax enough to sleep. I watched TV with him. I left him in the pack and play with the TV ON. (No joke, he watched a high school football game.)

Finally I turned off the TV and left him in the finished basement, alone, calling for me, while I went upstairs and had a beer with the others.

They all were sympathetic. We drank beers and just talked, and not only did I feel like noone was judging me for leaving my toddler crying; I actually forgot that he was crying because it was so nice to catch up with our friends.

He stopped crying within 15 minutes of me being upstairs. And was fast asleep by midnight.

We were up until 2 that night, and by then I had given up on the idea that I was going to run 10 miles first thing in the morning.

It was really nice.

So the next morning we all slept in. Then had breakfast. Then decided to take a hike.

Which we were SO unprepared for. Our backpack kid carrier was in the garage, I think. My ergo was with my SIL. J and I didn’t have any hiking shoes – just sneakers.

But we decided to see how O did on his own, and we’d carry him in our arms if he got tired.

My kid hiked ALL THE WAY IN. At LEAST a half mile. On his own. He was chasing our friends’ dog, but he was also really interested in the hike. It was amazing, and awesome, because up until now our attempts at hiking have been met with toddler resistance. This time he just went.

Even our friends told us that they were sort of amazed at how well he did. How FAST he went. Because the other two youngest kids, three and six months older than O, didn’t walk at all.

And then we headed back, and when he and J took a nap, I went for a run. I managed only FOUR miles. I was supposed to do 10. I will say that, hands down, that was the hardest four miles I’ve ever run. In the sun, dehydrated, tired from only 6 hours of sleep, during the time where *I* really needed a nap. It was awful. Every moment of it.

And at that moment that was the hardest, when I decided to just turn around and head back to my car, I just decided to let it all go.

I put so much fucking pressure on myself.

To be a better person, a better friend, a better parent. To manage this life I’ve got; to make sure the dishes are done, the house is clean, O is fed and bathed and happy. To run a half marathon in under 2 hours. To please my boss and do an amazing job at work.

I apparently want to be a SuperMom. And SuperFriend. And SuperWife. And SuperWorker. And SuperRunner. All at once.

And so when things fall apart like they did at the end of last week, it made me feel like I was failing at EVERYTHING. And I couldn’t handle it.

So I let it go. And for the rest of the weekend, I just rolled with the punches. O stayed up the next night until 9pm, and I wasn’t nervous or upset about it at all. He barely ate until our friend K made some macaroni and cheese, and he downed two full bowls of it. We went to StoryLand a little too late Sunday morning, when he was getting tired. When he completely freaked the fuck out on his favorite ride, we just got our hands stamped, went back to the house, and let him take a nap. And when he woke up, we went back. And he loved his favorite ride so much we went on it THREE times in a row.

And I didn’t run on Sunday.

So last night on the way home, J and I actually were surprised to realize that we were RELAXED.

We had been totally unprepared for the hike. We hadn’t slept more than 6 hours each night. I totally punted my long run AND my recovery run. But all in all, it was a GREAT time.

And here I sit, at 8am on Monday morning, with daycare closed and my son still asleep. And I keep thinking that life is pretty damn good.

If I just get rid of all the EXPECTATIONS of myself.

I’m doing the best I can.

That’s got to be good enough.



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  1. Serenity, this is a great post. I hope I can do the same re: letting go of the expectations that we pile onto ourselves.

    It’s funny, but I always think of you as this very zen-type character, because of your blog name. So even though you post about freaking out, I always reckon that your inner calm will work its way back out. 🙂

  2. Sometimes when I read your blog, it reminds me of all the first time parent crap that I did with my son. The stresses I put on myself and on him to make sure “all went right”. A few months after having W, one of my friends stated–“You are a lot less stressed out with this second one”. And it is true. I let W get away with stuff that M never did. I know when to just let it go. It took me many years to be able to do that though. Many years of trail and error and stress and worry about whether I was doing the right thing.

    In the end, parenting and juggling work and a household is a learning experience that I think we are always growing into.

    I am proud to see you growing as a parent!

    Glad you got time to relax and let go! 🙂

  3. Aaaahhhhhh…
    Love this post!! I have trouble with my own expectation as well. As you know. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that it will be O.K.

  4. You said it best here:

    “I’m doing the best I can.

    That’s got to be good enough.”

    It is easy to say and very hard to do, but I have to tell you that now, at 44, I live in that space. And, you know what, sometimes I can’t even muster my best and I’ve learned to let even that be good enough.

    I just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy and the overriding impression I had (beyond relief that the stressful series was finally over!) was that we have but this ONE life. So, I now constantly ask myself “Is this how I want to live it?” I mean, seriously, if the dishes don’t get done or I don’t file the stacks of paperwork (for 6 months), or I just can’t make a party that I otherwise would push myself to attend, or, or, or what? What’s the worst that will happen?

    And, do I want to be saddled with stress and others expectations or my own ALL MY LIFE?

  5. I went away with just Cam this past week. The first night we were there, my friend planned this ‘progressive’ dinner so I could meet all her friends. Drinks at one house, apps at another, dinner at her house, dessert at another. The whole thing started at 5. Can is usually in the bath by 6:15, bed by 7 at the latest. That night? After a 4 hour drive with a 40 minute nap? He was up until 8:30 having a total blast with EVERYONE.

    It was then that I realized that at home we are drill sargants. For good reason – it’s obvious that kids thrive on routine – but to let that routine go for a few days and just BE? It was great.

  6. You are doing the best you can. Really, you are. We all do this: expect so much of ourselves and get disappointed when we can’t live up to those expectations. No one is perfect, and no one’s life is perfect. I keep reminding myself to make due with what I have, and that’s all any of us can do. You have a lot of good in your life, and you are a WONDERFUL person and mother. Just remember that when you get down on yourself.


  7. I am in awe of all that you do. But no single person can do EVERYTHING (at least not all the time.) I’m glad you were able to let go and enjoy the weekend. You will be a better mother/wife/friend/worker/runner for it 🙂

  8. I’m glad to hear that you are letting go a little! I am typically a Type A personality. When we tried and tried so hard to get pregant and it didn’t work I had to start letting go of some of my expectations. The last 3 years since infertility, when my world totally spun out of control I realized that there really is very little we can control. We need to roll with the punches as best we can and in accepting the things we can’t change I think our lives become more managable. Don’t get me wrong I spend a lot of time worrying about what could have been and what should have been and the what can I do to make it better. My circumstances have just taught me to focus a little less on my expectations and work well with what I’m given.

    Glad to hear you sound a bit more content!

  9. it IS good enough and letting go…letting your heart, brain and body really relax…is GOOD FOR You.
    You’re a wonderful friend, an awesome wife, mom and worker…don’t ever doubt that.

    GOOD FOR YOU…you deserve the high five I’m sending 🙂
    (hugs too)

  10. I think that’s a shortcoming of all of us – we all want to do everything. I know that just today I was lamenting my not-perfectly-clean house. But it’s close enough. You are doing a fantastic job. I’m so glad you were able to let go and just enjoy the weekend. You really needed it.

  11. Sounds like the perfect weekend away after all! Glad you were able to relax.


  12. Well done on letting go! You are awesome at everything you do.

  13. Here from the Stirrup Queen’s Friday roundup. Fabulous post & a great reminder to us all. We don’t have to be perfect — certainly not all the time — & ESPECIALLY not on what’s supposed to be a holiday!

  14. Here from the Friday roundup. Wonderful post … I need to print this out and put it on my bulletin board!!

  15. Here from the Friday round-up. Great post! And nice job letting go.

  16. Here from the Friday Round-Up…I can really identify with this post. I am so often my own worst critic. Great job learning to ease up and let go just a little.

  17. I’m impressed that you went for a 4 mile run instead of taking a nap! That’s a great, great feat alone!!! Pats on the back for you… and for relaxing!

    – Here from the Friday Round-up 🙂

  18. Here from the Roundup. Man, I hear you on wanting to be the SuperEverything and feeling like I’m a big fat failure at everything.

  19. Also here from the roundup Thank you for posting this! It is often so hard to live up to my own expectations of myself. One bad day, and I feel like I am a failure at everything. Things go so much better when I do not force them, and that is something I need to remember more often.

  20. A great post for a great blog. Serenity. I like it!

    Stopped by from Creme de la Creme. Beautifully written – no wonder it’s one of the best.

  21. I hear you about being Super. It’s no fun and it doesn’t work. It’s much nicer to be Happy. I’m trying.

    (here from creme)

  22. I like this post.

    I’ve been trying to read the entire Crème de la Crème list. Just now, I’ve given myself permission to read most of them.

    Good enough is the way to go.

  23. Sounds like your best is not only ‘good enough’, it’s amazingly fantastic! x

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