I think it's safe to say that I've been feeling out of control. Since, say, January 11 or so, perhaps. As a strategy to exert control over the things that seem to be spinning, I will make a tidy little controlled list of all the factors contributing to my feeling of general entropy:
1. New baby.
2. New baby, born far away and early, necessitating a six-week stay away from home in Boston.
3. A new home I moved back into a month ago, where un-unpacked boxes remained piled in many rooms upon my return.
4. A new job, which I haven't even tried out yet.
5. A new lifestyle and new roles and challenges at home.
6. New childcare arrangements to be made, new routines and logistics to figure out.
7. New bills: diapers, medical, daycare.
My brain wakes up at 5AM and starts cycling through things I feel I need to get ahead of...and I am awake, though my baby is sleeping and I don't need to practice getting up for work, making bottles and lunches, pumping, taking a shower, breastfeeding...yet.
So I should relax.
I started seeing a therapist/counselor/wise woman. For the first time. It's pretty great, though I do a lot of crying. I cry because I know I am going to talk about stuff. I cry out of relief.
I mean, if you know me at all, you know I cry. But the last couple of months have really exercised my tear ducts. I'm looking forward to a dry spell sometime soon, as long as it doesn't mean I'm not feeling anything.
This week my counselor suggested I take my list of things stressing me out and take care of the things I can control. Childcare arrangements, for example. It's such a simple strategy: list the stressors, start managing them. But I was busy wallowing in the stressors, letting them quicksand me into overwhelm.
Most of my anxiety is about going back to work. And most of my anxiety about going back to work has to do with the logistics of getting everyone where they need to be, on time, and doing it right (not driving a starving, sobbing baby and two sisters to piano practice in rush-hour traffic, for example). I worry about having enough time for everyone, and for my job and the people I serve in my job.
I worry a little about this job, of principal, which I haven't done yet. And it's not exactly waiting for me...wheels are turning, stories are unfolding, other people are capably leading, and decisions are being made. My first day of school as new principal will be a midstream day for others. I'll be behind. By the nature of my late start, I'll be a meddler; I'll fumble; I'll step on toes. I'll duplicate and omit and not know what others already know. I'll wonder if I'm being helpful. I'll hope I'm still worthy.
It's going to be interesting.
What is also going to be interesting is the journey of the next month, as I try to drown out the white noise of what I've convinced myself needs to be done, and focus on the essentials: my people. Myself. Things are already less fuzzy. My stomach hurts less. The nervous energy is dissipating. My appetite is returning.
Tootsie is helping by sleeping well at night, getting up only once in the middle of the last two nights. So I'm less tired too.