Slowdown syndrome. It’s a thing.

There is ALWAYS something to do. Correction: there is always something that NEEDS to be done.

My mom had “stay at home mom” down to a science. Mondays were wash “the whites” laundry days, Tuesdays hands and knees scrub the kitchen floor, Wednesdays food shopping and dust the furniture, Thursdays strip the beds, Fridays homemade pizza, Saturdays deep clean, vacuum, polish etc. and Sunday was trash night. Those are the things I vividly remember being major priorities but I guarantee you there was always something that needed to be done. Let’s take a typical Saturday for example. I’m 9 and I have a Saturday morning softball game. This meant I walked to the park, played, and walked home. I’d come in our basement door to the familiar words, don’t step there I just washed the floor, and take those clothes off before you sit on the furniture. Mom was certainly too busy to come to a game, and how the game went was really here nor there. I can’t say it made me feel bad at the time, it didn’t, it was just normal to me. It was also normal to feel like if I wasn’t just as busy as my mom then I was doing something wrong. If I slept past 8:30-9:00am on a Saturday morning I’d awaken to a vacuum being run and banging into my bedroom door. Waking up with one eye open, mom would say “sorry, but I don’t have all day, I need to get things done.” Remember Saturday morning cartoons!? Scooby Doo and Hong Kong Phooey? Yes, those are the only two I remember because by 9:30, 10:00am at the latest, the tv needed to be turned off. Chores needed to be started or at the very least you needed to get dressed, go outside and do something.

So I wonder why today, when I am forced to slow down, stay at home and maybe even relax a little I feel guilty or like I’m doing something wrong? Working on a painting that isn’t a commission or directly related to making money, total waste of time. God forbid I’m watching tv, there are things around the house that NEED to be done! If I don’t have work today I should be spending every minute figuring out how I’m going to make a buck. Right?

Oh the anxiety of it all and I’m only on day 2 of Covid-19 being the cause of me not leaving the house for work! Since I was 4 years old (that’s how far back I can remember) I have been conditioned to believe that if I am not doing something “necessary” then I’m being , no… I am lazy. I am irresponsible and I am not enough. But here’s the real kicker, in the past it had to be one or the other. Either I was all busy or I was all do nothing. In other words I’d give into the lazy, I’m not enough feelings and actually be lazy and irresponsible. I’d ignore bills, let my house chores get out of hand, and dig a hole I could comfortably lay in, until it got uncomfortable and I was forced to get out and start doing again. It became a cycle, busy, lazy…busy, lazy… busy lazy. Eventually I’d burn out from the busy and if I didn’t want to end up homeless I better get over the lazy. I could never seem to find that healthy balance.

That is until I began accepting me for me. I realized my feelings and attitudes surrounding being busy weren’t actually mine, they were my mothers and had become mine. What if I could un-become them. Ok, I’m laughing, it’s not easy. Like I said day 2 of Covid-19 and I’m already feeling guilty, and have named a syndrome after it. The difference is, today I checked myself. I looked at what I was feeling and said why are you feeling that? Who says you have to feel that? I sat and thought about how I could balance a healthy slow down. I wrote this blogpost so I could even better examine my feelings about putting my feet up and doing nothing for 5 minutes. When I really think about it, my mom did let me relax, she even enjoyed when I relaxed but that isn’t the part I chose to remember or focus on because that wasn’t the part I let eat away at my self esteem. I knew I’d never be her, methodical about when and what needed to be done. I don’t clean behind things, I find an empty drawer and stick stuff in it and call it a day. But that’s ok, that’s me and today I have fewer stuffed drawers and organize a little more often. It all helps. Honestly I’m hoping that this slowdown, the time so many of us have been forced to take, gives us the chance to better examine who we are and why we are that way. Maybe even clean out a drawer or two. More importantly I hope it allows for growth and healing and new beginnings.

What are the guilty things that you carry around with you that aren’t yours to carry? How do you let go and relax? How do you find balance? Comment and share your thoughts. Most of all be well. ❤️

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