Ache in My Chest

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

So I have this ache in my chest, anxiety, a feeling like I should be doing something (besides writing a blog entry). I know I have tons of things that I need to be doing, including paying bills, shopping for groceries, posting on eBay, ordering pictures for my mom, cleaning house, laundry, lawn care, cleaning the shed.  Okay, now I know why I have this ache in my chest.  I have all this stuff I need to do, some stuff I want to do, but usually I only get a small fraction of it done because I have this adorable little anchor called Zaid.  Yesterday Zaid was restless and wanted to be held.  I managed to get my dining room floor scrubbed as I had planned, but it took about three hours because I had to take several Zaid-breaks.  Then there is kids’ lunch, father-in-law’s lunch, cleaning up after lunch, kid-who-just-came-home-from-school lunch.  There’s that pile of clean laundry that needs folding, the sunflower seed shells that need vacuuming.

I feel like I’m supposed to be doing ten things and once and the anxiety comes from only being able to do one or two of them.  Actually, yesterday was worse because by doing the floor in the dining room, that meant I did not replace the moldy shower curtain, I did not clean the kids’ room and replace the sheets, I did not get the bills paid, I did not get the pictures ordered…. Seems like I took two steps forward and three steps back.

I think everyone goes through this to an extent.  I have an overactive “oughta” gland, though.  I always feel like I “oughta’ be doing something.  Even if I’m vegging out watching TV, I work on my cross stitch because I can’t justify just sitting there doing nothing.  Or I watch and read.  Nowadays that’s hard to do because of Zaid, so I watch and nurse or bounce the baby.  Honestly, I love the little bugger, but it gets kinda boring.  Some day’s he’s okay wiggling on the bed, but mostly he likes to be in my arms and it’s tiring.

So, what can I do about this?  Well, I have decided that I’m going to tell my “oughta” gland to go straight to hell and leave me alone, that’s what.  I know there are 24 hours in the day and that I am doing my best to make productive use of them.  Honestly, there’s no outside pressure.  My husband does not come home and say “Why haven’t you done this, or this, or this?”.  He lives here; he knows that the baby woke me up at 2 am and I need to go grocery shopping and Mervat is in the middle of terrible twos and all that.  It comes from within, the anxiety that is under my skin always threatening to erupt.  I will now beat it down with a handy rolling pin.  I will say “Yes, I went to Facebook while I was drinking my coffee because that’s what people do“.  It’s the current generation’s answer to my dad sitting at the table in the morning reading the paper while eating his breakfast.  It’s my me time, something I get precious little of, and I will not feel guilty about it or let that voice in my head nudge me out of my chair by saying “Shouldn’t you be washing dishes?  Or thawing the meat for dinner? Or sweeping under the sofa?”

That voice, I have found out, will never go away.  Like the schizophrenic who will hear voices but can choose not to react to them, the anxiety is part of me since childhood.  But I can choose to not let it have power over me, read a different script in my head.  I don’t have to believe it any more than I have to believe the article that landed in my inbox telling me I can have perfect abs in ten minutes a day by bench-pressing an empty soda can.  I can tell myself “You are raising five children who need to eat regularly and who need your attention pretty much constantly.  It is better to take the time to kiss a boo-boo and not worry about the the fact that you never pre-treat your laundry.  It is more important to make good healthy food from scratch, and that croquet set your husband gave you to clean will still be there later.  It’s okay to make a quick run through the front yard to make sure the neighbors won’t complain about the kids’ detritus and not worry that you haven’t planted a lovely (and costly) flower border.  It’s okay.  Like right now it’s okay that I’m going to end this blog post precipitously because it’s more important that I pick up my daughter who managed to stop crying all by herself….

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