Caught between too many words and too few

I made myself a promise, when I first started blogging, that I wouldn’t let myself get stressed if I didn’t write anything for a while.  Nevertheless, when days go by with posting, thoughts of the blog turn into a constant background process in my mind.  Do I have anything to say?

Life has been a stretch of ups and downs lately, with the downs hitting harder than the ups.  I tried a new brain med, which was great, then my psychiatrist upped the dose, which did not go swimmingly, so we backed off, which walloped my mood with the darkness of withdrawal.  Self-care has been the order of the day these last few weeks.

It doesn’t feel like I have much to say right now, no grand blog topics on which to opine.  I can speak of sofas and knitting needles, of novels and Netflix, and of the fluffy ball of purr currently sprawled on the desk next to my computer.  My powers of thought are worn out by the end of the day.  Nothing to say.

And yet somewhere beyond words, tucked away behind a wall of exhaustion, are a mess of thoughts and feelings, so many and so muddled that they can’t find their way to a coherent sentence on my tongue.  Things I want to say.  Things I’m afraid to say.  Things that I just don’t know.

Like how I’ve managed to fall into a side project at school, and it’s totally frustrating and aggravating and I don’t think I can live up to their expectations.  But I can’t back out now—they’re counting on me for the last pieces of a grant proposal that’s due in two weeks.

Like how I just sent my co-authors another draft of a paper for a much better project, but my mind was so numb by the end of the day that I’m worried I missed something important.

Like how the darkness tells me I will never finish my PhD, that I am too slow, that everything takes just far too long.

Like how staying at home with a toddler is so incredibly boring—there, I said it—but I feel like a terrible parent for just browsing social media while he plays with his blocks.  The “bad mother” thoughts are back in force (if they ever really went away); I think they hit hardest when he’s changing the fastest.  Do I talk to him enough?  Should we be singing more songs, playing more games?  Look at how much fun he has with his father.  What if I’m the lesser parent?

Like how the lunches need making, the kid needs bathed, and the clothes need putting away.  And how tomorrow I’ll have to get up and do it all over again.

10 thoughts on “Caught between too many words and too few

  1. The Bad Mother thoughts…I have those too. Parenting today is so much harder than when we were children. I know that my mom didn’t worry about how much she interacted with us. She played with us when she could, did her work when she needed too. Today we’re “supposed” to be doing so much, but I think that’s the Internet creating this idea of what 21st century parenting is (Pinterest LIES). I try really hard to remember that my parenting experience is not anyone else’s. It can be easy to look at someone else either online or into another family and think, “I should…” but “should” is an empty word. Stay strong!

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    • Thank you—I need to hear this over and over again. My mom acts like she held us and played with us constantly when we were small, so it’s hard. I try (sometimes futilely) to remember that I can only make choices based on who *I* am, and not who anyone else thinks I should be.


  2. I swear our post next week is not at all in response to this. It’s been in our drafts for like 5 years and we finally ran out of blog content and are running it because we needed something to fill in a hole.


  3. I remind myself that most advice is given for people who don’t do much at all. For example, the “read to your kid” exhortation is for those who don’t read to their kid, period. When I told people we averaged somewhere around 100 books a week, even the librarians and early childhood educators freak out about how much that is (and here I thought I wasn’t reading enough!). So, I find perspective helpful in letting me know I’m doing okay.

    Also, a little ignoring can also help make your kid strong, independent, self-reliant, etc. I’m sure there will be articles for our kids about raising their own kids & how important it is to let your kids be alone from time to time.

    I too would like to blog more but feel like most of what I have to say is inconsequential or malformed thoughts. It’s that darn lizard brain not being fair to us.

    Hang in there. You will finish your PhD. Your kid will be just fine. The clothes will still be there tomorrow, and you can wear clothes even if they haven’t made the full return trip to the dresser yet. You’re doing the best you can; let that be enough.

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