Treading Water

I remember when I was younger we took swim lessons in the morning at my daycamp. It was always freezing because the sun wasn’t up yet and the water always felt so cold. We all still loved it though. Any reason to be in the pool. Once we were older, we were allowed to jump off the diving boards in the deep end, but first we had to pass a swim test. So, for 5 minutes, we had to tread water in the 12 ft deep water. It was hard to say the least. That’s a lot of exertion for a little 10 year old body. In the beginning, you would use all four of your limbs to hold yourself really high up out of the water. You’d kick your feet and flap your arms back and forth under the water. Then, you’d start to get tired, and you’d sink more and more into the water until only your face was sticking out for air. You’d get so tired that you’d have to start switching between your two set of limbs. You’d keep kicking your leg, and, when they got tired, you’d switch over to using just your arms for a few seconds before switching back. It was absolutely exhausting. Finally, you reached a point where you didn’t know if you could keep going any longer, and your lungs felt like we were going to explode, and the lifeguard calls time and you can stop. You passed. You survived. You get to jump off the high dive. You’ve proven yourself.

And that’s my life still. Treading water. Constantly treading water. It’s figurative water, of course. It’s bills and work and cooking dinner and changing diapers and finding time and money. It’s all those grown up things they warn you about as a kid, but you don’t listen to. It’s the deep end. They just throw you into it after college and just expect you to know how to swim. And maybe you can swim in the world, but most of us can’t. So we tread. It’s the only way to survive.

Josh and I are both working at real jobs for the first time since we moved in together. It’s put us in a completely different tax bracket. No more 1040-EZ for us. Yet, we are still living paycheck to paycheck and we still scrounge around to find money for food and gas each week. We scourer around the house weekly looking for something , anything, we can put on Craigslist so we can buy diapers. We are treading as fast as we can, and it feels like it’s never going to be able to stop. My student loans just came up and it feel likes 1000lbs weights have been attached to our ankles on top of everything else. I don’t know how we can keep afloat, but we just keep treading.

Motherhood is a constant battle as well. It’s uncharted waters for me. I have to learn to hold my temper which is hard when the tiny human I’m dealing with has a temper that matches. She’s started fighting us on everything. Bedtime is hell some nights. We’re hardly ever home. She gets 2 hours at home before its bath and bedtime. She’s a grump in the morning because she likes to sleep and can’t. She’s a grump at night because she likes being home and playing with her own toys and being with her animals and she doesn’t get to do it enough. She’s hard headed and plain mean sometimes. Couple that with the stress of money and it makes treading harder. With her though, I get little moments of relief. She insists on sitting next to me on the couch and she lays her little head on my shoulder and talks to me or sings me a song and the water doesn’t seem to be pulling down so hard. It’s a revitalizing breathe of much needed fresh air. It makes it worth it to keep kicking my tired legs.

Life is just a constant battle of staying afloat. My house is a mess. The inside and the outside. But what am I suppose to do if my kid wants to play with me after dinner? Say, “No, mommy needs to clean instead.” No way, jose. I’d rather have a dirty house. The dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, the animals, the toys that are everywhere, it’s all too much sometimes too. It’s life though. And life sucks sometimes. Josh and I have plans. They are had to be put on the backburner. We are just kicking and flapping and panting and praying for someone to call time. It feels like we’re always waiting for someone to call time. It’ll come. I hope so anyways.

Just keep swimming.

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