School’s In?

Teachers have told me that the first couple of weeks back to school after summer can be discouraging. The students have typically lost a large chunk of the progress that they made the previous year, being out of practice. Math, reading, listening … these are all skills that need work. Use’em or loose’em.

On Monday Mama Renew starts up again. I feel like it’s the first week of grade three and I’ve completely forgotten how to divide. I know that division exists, but I can’t for the life of me figure out in a word problem whether I’m supposed to multiply or divide to get the right answer, and I don’t know how to do either one reliably any more. Only it’s not division. It’s all the topics we discussed last session – self care, saying no, building networks, not emotionally beating myself up, accepting good enough for what it is.

Not entirely forgotten. Just out of practice. And this week has set me ‘off’ a little. But even that aside, I’ve shut myself off from friends – when did I last call Joanne? Chris? I’ve barely talked to my downstairs neighbours, only briefly chatted with my next door neighbours. I’ve fallen back into ‘survival’ mode: get home, get supper, get Cameron bathed, read him stories, get him to bed and hopefully to sleep. Me time? Sure, I get that. I’m staying up until 1am doing absolutely nothing really productive. I cringe when I see the kitchen, my bedroom, the bathroom. Pigsties. Dishes (actually, I did them tonight), laundry, I still haven’t unpacked all the bags in my room.

And of course, here I am beating myself up for it too. Dammit.

So my first step towards looking after me a little bit better this year is to sit down and read through the first few chapters of The Mother’s Guide to Self Renewal again. Review. Refresh. And take a deep breath. Revisit where I’ve been, read through what I’ve written here so I don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel.

What comes after that? What else to do to look after myself? Oh, I’ve got my list of 65 in 365 to keep me busy, and a good chunk of that is self-care. But not one bit of it gets down to what is going on inside of my head, beyond being able to accept that there’s no way I’ll do all of those items, and congratulating myself when I accomplish a task. Mama Renew I think will help me look after myself, once I’m back on track. How? I have no idea. We’re not supposed to read ahead in the book, just take it one month at a time to give ourselves time to explore each topic, so I don’t know where it’ll take me. Even if I did read ahead, if I recall correctly I found that often the most profound effects of the topics were not what I expected.

I need to remember grade three. Actually, my scenario of forgetting division is made-up, I don’t remember if I felt that way. I do recall having troubles figuring out which to use, division or multiplication, in grade two I think it was. But whatever it was I’d been set back in after the summer holiday, I’m certain that after a very short period of time I’d caught back up again and was progressing beyond the end of grade two. It’ll happen now, too. The things I learned last session I’ll remember with less effort than it took last time, and hopefully will clear the way to more progress.


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