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January 31, 2006 / allyo


We were all at the grocery store on Sunday, the last errand in a day filled with too many trips and too few naps, when Jamie had had enough. For the rest of the shopping trip I had to alternate between holding him and chasing him around the store.* Finally, as we neared the checkout aisle, I had had enough, and told MD I was taking Sir Cranks-a-Lot out to the car.**

As we sat in the car, Mr. Crankypants doing what he does best (cranking), I felt utterly defeated. I’ve been struggling to maintain my blood sugar (hypoglycemic) on my new diet and had been hungry for days, after a wonderful night’s sleep on Friday and sleeping in until 8:00 am (!), we had a terrible night Saturday and we were up at 6:30, throwing the nap schedule all to hell. Jim and I had been snapping at each other all weekend (but not yelling – progress!!), the house, while vacuumed, was still a mess, and it felt as though my life was unravelling through my fingers, like the damn granny squares I had been trying to crochet in an attempt to fullfill my crafty desires and focus my mind on something besides work, sleep, and the internet.

So I sat there, repeating to myself, "I have a wonderful life. I have a loving husband, a loving, beautiful, healthy, child. I have friends and family. I have a house, I have food, I have a car. I have a wonderful life…" And it dawned on me, the reason women (and now men, to some extent) had been talking for decades about how hard it is to find balance is…because it’s hard to find balance. Just because I have the perfect plan to balance all the demands in my life, doesn’t mean it’s going to work. And if it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed.

Does that sound simple? It probably does. But it was one of those moments when the clouds part, the light shines down between them, and, if you believe in that sort of things, angels sing. My whole life, I’ve been held and have held myself up to sometimes impossible standards. And the disappointment when I fail, both external and internal, destroys me. And in that moment, I said to myself and to all those little nagging voices, whether real or metaphorical, I said, "Enough."

I was still reeling from my ultimate Zen moment, when MD made it out to the car with the cart. I was feeling guilty for leaving him to manage by himself, what with the being nearly crippled and all that, so I got out to help him load the trunk. And he handed me a bunch of red tulips. I almost burst into tears right there in the parking lot. I love that man.

Of course today, I’m still struggling. The house, it’s out of control. But (of course) I have a plan. And better yet, I have permission from myself to fail at that plan.***


*MD’s leg was awful this weekend, he was barely able to push the cart. Why were we all there instead of just me? Because he spent all of Saturday on the couch while Jamie and I went to storytime and the park, and he was pissed about not being able to get around and insisted on us all running the errands together. Good intentions, not so great result.

**And OF COURSE, as I was saying this, I realized my Sutemi had been out in the car the whole time. Which just added to my frustration.

***This has all been exacerbated by the whole dieting thing. With the struggle to maintain the blood sugar and adjust to the Core plan with its limits on certain carbs, I’ve been revisiting some very old, very yucky feelings.



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  1. Kelly / Jan 31 2006 12:06 pm

    Wow — First, major Kudos to MD for the flowers. Well done, Sir. Well done.

    Second, if you find out how to get this “balance” please let me know.

    Third, try switching to Flex. Sure counting points is pretty lame, but it may allow you to craft a diet that works better with your blood chemistry.


  2. momzom / Jan 31 2006 3:22 pm

    This is my kid’s analysis of balance: “Standing on one leg is very tricky.” Then he collapses, usually pulling my hair as he grabs me on the way down.

    But you’ve made a rather brilliant discovery, which is that we probably spend most of our time out of balance, so we better figure out how to live happily enough in that time. And the other implicit discovery is that our standards for “failure” are whacked out! Most worthwhile human endeavors aren’t easy to get the first few (100) times around.

    You’re doing great. Hooray for you.

  3. Sherry / Jan 31 2006 9:34 pm

    I agree…do tell if you get this whole balancing act straight. ‘Cause, if ya do? I see many dollars in your future.

  4. KJ / Jan 31 2006 10:23 pm

    One of the ways you know you’re really a mom is that most of your major insights into life, your crushing defeats, your monumental victories, center around the grocery store.
    But at least you got flowers! (And grocery shopping on crutches beats doing it with a kid every time.)

  5. karrie / Feb 4 2006 6:35 am

    Two grocery store tactics that usually work to buy a few more minutes of shopping with Max:

    -show him the vacuum cleaner bags. (Jamie may also enjoy.)

    -quick trip down the petfood aisle. (loves animals)

    If necessary, place a bag of catfood and a vacuum cleaner bag in the cart next to him. Discard at checkout area if not on your list.

    Can you have nuts on core? I found that when I could eat nuts, it was really convenient to stash 15 almonds in little baggies, and toss into my bag or a pocket. Saved me from getting all wonky and crashy many, many times when out and about.

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