Trying to Do It All

I’m frequently guilty of trying to do it all. And before I felt the symptoms of lupus, I was often successful at it. Teaching while taking a heavy load of grad courses while student teaching? Sure! Why not? But I’m no longer able to take on quite as much; although, I try. But not without consequences.

Now my daily routine consists of caring for my four-month old son (which in and of itself requires multitasking), housekeeping, cooking and dishes, monitoring bills and the budget, occasional freelance copyediting work, and my latest feat: applying for a teaching position for the first time in about three years.

I keep reassuring myself that my to-dos are, in fact, doable. But as days and then weeks pass before I have an opportunity to clean the toilet (brush and cleaner standing by as a reminder), I scold myself for my apparent inability to get it together. So I skip my afternoon nap (taken while the  babe is blissfully snoozing), and I scrub the hell out of that toilet, and I feel very productive, and when I go to bed that night, I wonder why I can’t sleep.

Is it because my legs are aching? Is it because my hands are stiff and painful to sleep on? Is it because I’m overtired and have joined the legions of other lupus sufferers out there who also battle insomnia? Yes.

My body is telling me I can’t do it all. But I tell myself that’s a lie. My body is lying to me, and to prove it I’ll do it all again and again until I bring on a really good flare and show my body just what it means to not be able to do it all. I won’t be able to do anything at all.

This is ludicrous, of course. So I napped for about 20 minutes today before being woken up by aching leg muscles and stiff hands. So here I am, doing yet another task (albeit one I enjoy) that is often postponed indefinitely: writing this blog post. I’ll try to do fewer things on my to-do list tomorrow and take a nap and repeat this until my body stops telling me I’ve done too much.

The month of May is Lupus Awareness Month. As a part of that, I’m forcing myself to stop trying to do everything and become more aware of what my body needs. My to-do list needs to include slowing my pace so that I can finish the race without dragging my ass to the finish line.

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