Adjusting to change (badly!)

I'm into week three of the school term and I haven't felt as exhausted as I did during first term.  I had many nights in March when I went to bed at 8pm and I never go to bed before 11.

I've been reflecting on why I found the first term of school difficult this year.

I have been waiting for 2010 for such a long time.  First year with four kids at school and my youngest at preschool 2 days a week.  I had such hopes and dreams.  Finish my uni course.  Stare at a wall.  Maybe watch a DVD during the day.

So many possibilities and hopes that this became a loaded year.  Such expectations!

And then  I just crashed.  I felt so weary.  It was like 12 years of mothering just collapsed on top of me because I finally had a bit of breathing space.

So suddenly I didn't want to do anything.  I didn't want to talk to the new Kindy mums at school.  I found uni a struggle.  I found church a struggle .  I found picking up the kids from school draining.

For a while I thought that maybe I was depressed.  But I was still functioning well.  Still enjoying the good things in life.  Still exercising.  Eating.  Sleeping.  Happy enough - as long as I had lots of time on my own.

All I can make of it now is that I felt overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by the adjustments to a new year, with new routines.  Overwhelmed by my own expectations.

And ultimately, overwhelmed by my own disappointments that it wasn't all that I had hoped for.  I still felt stressed, tired, busy.  This new stage hadn't taken hard things away - just been replaced with a new set of stresses to worry about.

I've learnt a lot from this time.  I've learnt that I need to allow myself some time in my head to adjust to change - even the positive, longed-for change.  And I've learnt (yet again) that contentment with the place and stage that I find myself in, is crucially important.

It still caught me off-guard though.


Meredith said…
Snap!! And no, not adjusting to change badly. Doing a very good job of it, I would say.

I wish you could have seen the smile on my face as I read this. I am getting ready to blog my latest transition update...and really I could just copy and paste what you have written here and it would accurately portray my own situation.

In the last week or two I feel like I have moved on. In fact, I don't just feel like I have moved on, I KNOW I have moved on.

Like you, what happened in first term completely caught me off-guard as well. I had people telling me to make sure I didn't plan to do too much this year of youngest starting at school two days a week. But what happened is exactly as you described - this strange, overwhelming, exhausting thing.

In a way it has run a parallel process to grief -no amount of advice or help from others can shift this weird thing that happens when the last child goes to school for the first time. You just have to travel through it. Process it. Think about it. Be confused by it. Make decisions and then unmake them. And just get through it, finally to find contentment again as a new equilibrium is established.

Some may take less time, others more. But it seems we both took a bit over a term. Maybe we should write a book Jenny. Or maybe we could just keep blogging!!

Thanking God that you are doing better - and me too - and for some good lessons learned along the way.

Jon and Deborah said…
Thanks Jenny for these helpful reflections. I feel so guilty that I am so exhausted and just want to call into a ball and be by myself, when really I should be out there making relationships etc. Its good to know that this is normal when experiencing change and that it does get easier.
Peter Sholl said…
This all sounds like something that would fit comfortably in Naomi Reed's Seventh Monsoon.

God's very good at teaching us. Why do we always get surprised when it's the hard times that teach us most?

Jenny said…
Yes Sarah, I think Naomi Reed's books are excellent at acknowledging the reality and impact of seasons in our life.

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