What shocks me most about myself post-marriage and babies is that I haven't changed in what I would perceive to be big ways: what I believe, how I behave, what's important. What has changed are aspects of myself I would have always classified as minor: my organization, drive for self-perfection, type-A tendencies. I didn't think that could go away - I thought it was a (huge) part of who I was.
Enjoying real seasons while in grad school
If I'm being honest, it was eroded slowly before I got to where I am now, even if it's taken me until now to really put my finger on what has been 'off.' First I didn't do as well as I thought I would in law school. I wasn't at the bottom of my class, by any means! But I hadn't ever not been in the top - not when I tried, anyway. But I wasn't, and I blew it, and it's not the kind of thing you can get back. I navigated that okay, but then I had the tornado which made me feel so out of control and it made me feel like law school never happened. So then I got married and I thought, well....what now. I tried to just throw myself into making a home and a baby, but it turned out both were harder than they looked on paper. I took the Bar (and failed).
Law school graduation
All this time, these successive failures and struggles with these huge issues that felt so out of control, I didn't realize they were changing me. But here I am now, seven years later, and I realize I am really not who I was. So much of my personality was taken, molded, changed, adapted, or maybe just buried by all of that stuff.
But I know those parts of me are still there, because I get furiously angry if I get out of bed later than 8am. A day where I get very little 'done' leaves me feeling defeated and resentful. And yet now my entire life feels out of control - feels unorganized - feels not me. It feels like I've taken a nap from life and I'm waking up thinking, how the hell did I get here? I'm angry. I'm angry a lot. I'm mad at the condition of my house, the lack of systems to run it efficiently, and my general flakiness. I'm mad and hurt that I am no longer known as a powerhouse of efficiency and planning.
I get the sense that many friends or family think I should be working, or that my frustration lies in my education going unused. It's not true - I love my work. I love to be at home and with my children. I just want to do it as me, instead of whoever I've been acting like.
I know I can't envy who I was - I know I can't hold myself to the same levels of efficiency now that kids are here - I know that I should "waste time" with my children - but I have to find some way to regain a sense of myself before I end up blaming everything that I love for taking it from me.
So I've started going to the gym. It's a weird microcosm of a habit: I'm trying to make myself do this one thing every day. If I do this one thing, then I will have the schedule the rest of my day in order to get it done. I am making myself go - even on days when Zuzu is whiny or David hasn't napped. Even though right now, it feels like this habit is causing MORE chaos in my home as I get used to having more being required of me. I am trying to relearn my favorite virtue of self-control and hope that it carries over into the rest of my life, because it seems the alternative is being out of control and I'm not sure how much longer I could live like that.