my mid-summer meltdown

by eringoodman on July 28, 2010

in essays+reflections, family+career, farms + food, living our dreams, the contrast

Where to begin?

I want so much to share the amazingness that is right now, to capture it for myself and my children to look back on years from now but the truth is that it is not all wonderful and amazing. And I want to honor that part of right now too.

Lily, my animal-lover, is learning to milk cows, to check the animals for signs of stress and to help Farmer Megan walk them to and from their pasture.

This summer is the pure joy of truly living my dreams juxtaposed with extreme exhaustion, collapsing in a pool of tears at the end of a long day, wondering what the hell I am doing and why.

Once a week I meet with Farmer Ashley at our vegetable CSA farm to map out the newsletter for the following week and plan community events — like our first contra dance, which will take place at the end of August. Lily took this picture while we worked.

This spring I sat with my calendar open, looked out at the summer and mentally planned our days – Mondays: meetings in the morning, afternoons at the market; Tuesdays and Wednesdays working from home; Thursdays off from work relaxing with kids; Fridays working at the farms (yes! farms plural — one in the morning and the other in the afternoon); Saturdays organizing and teaching yoga and attending the farmers’ market; and Sundays relaxing and catching up.

I sprinkled in a little summer camp, touched base with all our mothers’ helpers and made plans for the kids to have weekly sleepovers at my parents’. It all felt so doable. So neat and smooth. And so much fun.

Once a week the kids and I drive Farmer Pat’s truck from the farm to the market – a major highlight of the kids’ week!

And sometimes that’s how it feels. Sometimes I feel like superwoman.

Meetings in the morning. Mid-day working at the farm. Washing eggs. Hauling boxes. Driving the farm truck. Unloading the coolers. Setting up for the market. Chatting with our customers and the other vendors.

Lily has taken responsibility for egg sales. She’s starting to remember our customers and which size eggs they like to purchase and is learning to count change.

But sometimes it is anything but fun.

And when I think back to my nice little neat plan I made this spring, I realize that I didn’t factor in the summer heat (100+ degrees at times this month) or torrential rain or the physical exhaustion we would all experience.

I didn’t think about what we would be eating on these long work days and who would be doing laundry (and when???) and how I would keep track of where the heck I stashed the sunscreen.

I forgot that four-year-olds often regress with potty learning, especially when away from home for large periods of time, and that dealing with potty accidents while attempting to wait on customers is not fun at all.

Did you know that Farmers’ Markets are open rain or shine?

This past week I hit a wall.

House guests, traveling co-workers, fast approaching deadlines, last-minute sitter cancellations, all-day weekend events, extreme heat. It was all just too much.

I’ve been here before. John and I call it “the perfect storm.” When a dozen little things come together in just the right way to make everything feel completely and totally overwhelming.

At the farm we call it “the pig pile.”

Whatever you want to call it, these are the moments that can make or break you. And for me they often do both.

No matter what the temperature outside, in our walk-in freezer it is always -20 degrees and I must “suit up” before going in to fill orders. Photo by Quinn.

I remember once my friend and fellow yoga teacher telling me about the end of her marriage and how it led her to yoga. “I had a complete breakdown. And then I had a breakthrough,” she said.

That’s how these perfect storms feel to me.

I break down. I cry. I yell. I swear. I feel sorry for myself. I wonder how the hell I got here. And then at some point, I break through. I name everything that isn’t working. I reach for the best feeling thought I can muster. I make a new plan. I start moving forward again.

And that’s about where I am now. July broke me.  It forced me to get real with myself about who I am and who I am not. To ask myself how much is too much? And what is sustainable – for me and for our family? And to re-examine what it is that I really want.

It also brought me more deeply into my yoga practice and helped me recommit to attending (a minimum of ) one yoga class a week. And led me to pull in more childcare. And reconvene weekly potluck dinners with friends.

July asked me to say goodbye. And to say I’m sorry (many times). To breathe deep. And dig deep. And keep moving forward.  And take chances. And trust.

This kids and I enjoyed a special late-night moment earlier this week feeding the pigs by the light of the farm truck. As we drove down the farm lane the full moon came up over the trees.

Photos taken with my cell phone.

One particularly challenging day this month, I opened my e-mail to find this. (Do you get wonderful things in your in-box like Daily Quotes, the Daily Groove or Notes from the Universe? And do they come to you at just the right time like this one did for me?)

Overwhelment is about you not being up to speed with what you told the Universe that you want. The Universe is yielding to you. You’re just not ready to receive it right now.   – Abraham

I am ready to step back from overwhelment and move into a place of receiving and flowing with all that I have been asking for and all that has already manifest.

And I have July and my mid-summer meltdown to thank for that.

___________________________

I’m going to step away from this space for a bit while I continue to get myself caught up to speed. I’ll be back in early August to celebrate the two-year anniversary of exhale. return to center. (And I’m going to need your help to do it!) Wishing you a lovely stretch of days.

.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan Goodland-Metz July 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

You’re on the right track, we can think of so many great things and ideas to do but we only have so much energy and time, pick out the best stuff and have fun, eventually you will do it all.

I learned many years ago when being a parent to my then, 4 yr old son, working, taking 18 college credit hours, being President of a parent run vegetarian, day care center, growing 90% of our food in a garden 3 miles away, trying to stop a nuclear power plant from being built nearby, being treasurer of the Alternative Life Styles Collective (what was that?) and doing it all on a bicycle with huge baskets to take the laundry to the laundry mat and carrying the produce and tools for the garden, and flats of tomato plants (also moved a mattress and a screen door with the bike (a one speed by the way)….., and a child’s bike seat on the back, that I could miraculously say “no”. It works.

Just sit back and laugh. Enjoy.

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Melanie July 28, 2010 at 9:45 am

Thank you so much for this. July has been an intense month for me as well. Plans are great, they just don’t always work. Enjoy your break. See you in August.
.-= Melanie´s last blog ..Heart Knowledge =-.

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tea Mama ~Jen July 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

Oh dear we must be sisters! I can not tell you how much this post means to me! I feel the storm for sure; with my biz, my non-stop tending of my 3 wee ones, working on my biz. and blog and the fact that my due date with #4 is fast appraoching! I too, have melted down too many times, wondering why the heck I even bother when it all feels like it’s not going anywhere. Oh thank you for your words of inspiration, I miss you! your post brought tears to my eyes.

I’m sending you out my Mellow Mama & Celebration Love tea!

xoxo~

Jen

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Hannah Marcotti July 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

A few weeks ago when I hit my own wall (I’ve been writing about it also) I declared to the Universe all the projects that I was taking on and I felt amazing. Overwhelm and my old patterns and process kicked in and one morning when I coudn’t bear it, I opened my e-mail and read,

“Overwhelment is about you not being up to speed with what you told the Universe that you want. The Universe is yielding to you. You’re just not ready to receive it right now. – Abraham

I was shocked and amazed and I allowed myself to be quiet and listen to the truth in that. Imagine my fortune today reading your post, which resonates so strongly and that you stumbled into those words as well.

Oh July. So much in the air and in our hearts and minds. Feelings that we can conquer and do so much, be so much, soar to new places. And we can, it just doesn’t always look like we intended it to.

Love you,
H

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Rose July 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Erin, you are singing my song. I had myself a major meltdown that lasted for the last *two* days. I’m sorry to hear July’s gotten the best of you, but I’m relieved that I’m not the only one! I am so burned out from daily childcare, and from the constant stream of have-tos that require me to make decisions constantly. I never thought I’d say it, but I am looking forward to school starting! Also, our lives are in for big change and I am putting a lot of mental energy into that, and exploring the possibilities. I guess it all just boils down to having too many choices.

That quote is so dead-on. THANK YOU.

Yes, you are right, it’s times like these that force us to simplify. I am TRYING.

Peace and hugs to you.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..A Pretty Good Sick Day- or- Cookie Love Part 3 =-.

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Renee July 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I get the Abraham quotes too. Sometimes I go week without reading them but when I do, its always appropriate to whatever is going on my life. Amazing.

I hope to see you at one of those once a week yoga classes in Charlestown! :-)
.-= Renee´s last blog ..So much love =-.

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eringoodman July 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

i tend to get overwhelmed when i get automated messages every day but i am fortunate to have a friend who sends them along to me (mabye once or twice a week) when she feels inspired to do so!

such a treat!
:-)

~erin

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Maxamed May 18, 2014 at 3:58 am

My impression is that UW connlstestiy has a higher dewpoint reading than the airport. As I type this, UW has 24.2 and the airport has 21.4. I haven’t watched this closely, but I feel like pretty much every time I’ve ever looked (which is very rarely lately, but fairly frequently when I lived in K-W for a few years, a number of years ago), it’s been that way.

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debbie July 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm

yes, this is so familiar, and i don’t even have two farms to work!! “a perfect storm” perfectly describes those mounting and then exploding feelings that seem to destroy everything but carry with them some small crystals of light that deserve to be examined for clues to what IS working! i love that quote and hadn’t heard it before.

keep on keepin on, sister – the world isn’t going anywhere, we’ll be here in august…
.-= debbie´s last blog ..Full days =-.

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Sam July 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Thank you. I love how you think about things and express yourself. I love you lady. Thank you for being you, and for sharing yourself with us.

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elizabeth~so wabi sabi July 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

This must be the energy many of us are experiencing lately. I too have felt overwhelment of late. Wondering why I had ambitions to do all that I have in my agenda. And wanting to walk away from it all. Thankfully, this is a familiar pattern and I know to keep wading until the wind picks up again to move things along.
blessings~
Elizabeth
.-= elizabeth~so wabi sabi´s last blog ..where Ill bejoyous prosperity retrest =-.

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Eileen (Little Acorn Learning) July 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Oh Erin – I’ve been going through this too… up and down and crash. Its usually about the schooling choice for me. It is consuming my life! So unhealthy.

Today I hit a place where I told myself I have to let go. I have to move forward and stop worrying about what will be. Just take each event and ride the wave.

xoxo
.-= Eileen (Little Acorn Learning)´s last blog ..Truthful Tuesday =-.

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eringoodman July 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm

i’m struggling with this issue too eileen.

lily is starting public school in a few weeks. definitely not what i planned but here we are and we’re going to make the very best of it!!

xo

~e

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renee ~ heirloom seasons July 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Oh my, I do understand, the overwhelming feelings! We live a very quiet, home-centered life, but to balance the working at home, the caring for home, the homeschooling… goodness! Fortunately I have a wonderful mommy who is always reminding me to “reach for the next best feeling”. And yes, I do get great quotes like that in my in-box, because my mom often forwards me the abraham messages :)
I hope you enjoy some peace and beautiful summer days with your family!
.-= renee ~ heirloom seasons´s last blog ..wool and roly-polys and forts and rain and me! =-.

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lily boot July 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

my dear friend and kindred spirit – I so truly understand what you are feeling! I too have those moments where all my well-meaning and determined plans are flowing well and I feel so capable and supermummy and then bang – I’m hopeless and everything is insurmountable. We are so harsh on ourselves! That quotation you share sums it up perfectly. And remember – as you cherish these last days of July – what you have achieved for yourself and your children this summer is extraordinary! When I look at the photos of Lily selling the eggs and milking the cows, and you preparing for markets and working with the animals, let alone inviting circus folk into your home – I am in AWE! What a wonderful life you are living! It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time – you are creating wonderful experiences and learning opportunities and having a meltdown every now and then just shows that you are human and real. Take strength from all you have achieved Erin, even if it hasn’t always worked according to your plan – the universe is indeed moving you along. p.s. and if public school doesn’t work out – there are always opportunities for change. with love xxx lily
.-= lily boot´s last blog ..waiting up =-.

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renee @ FIMBY July 28, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Erin, Wow you’ve struck a chord here. And I can understand why. So ironic that I am working on writing my own post on the same topic. My personal mid summer melt down and stepping back from that brink. Seems to be a common theme. Its so easy to take on too much during these long summer days… trying to fit it all in.

Oh, and just why exactly were you thinking of me while writing this post? Was it because I mentioned my own summer meltdown about a week ago? Or do you just associate meltdowns with me (ha, ha).

Great pics of your family’s farm experience by the way.

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eringoodman July 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

no. no. i definitely don’t associate you with meltdowns!

i just thought of you as i was working my way through the post ’cause it was kind of vulnerable, and awkwardly-honest. i know you like those posts and your support and encouragement helps me to keep writing them. :-)

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Anna July 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm

You know I just love you. You are so honest and real and open and I really appreciate all of that. I sit here in awe of all that you have taken on and accomplished this summer. And wow — Lily selling eggs and learning about cows. Look at what you are providing! But my dear we have all hit that proverbial wall! Sometimes I hit mine more often than I’d like — usually bemoaning ‘why me’ and contemplating running away. I have elaborate fantasies about that actually — but that is a whole other story. :-) Anyway, I just have to tell you how much this post and especially that quote resonate with me. Hope you have some time to catch your breath and regroup.

xoxo
.-= Anna´s last blog ..Oh Mojo where art thou =-.

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Kate July 29, 2010 at 10:38 am

As others have said, I just LOVE you!!!
You help other mamas feel free to be THEMSELVES!
Sister, you just rock….
.-= Kate´s last blog ..“Tireless Joy” Magic! 7-28-2010 =-.

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MommyKelly July 29, 2010 at 11:03 am

Erin – thanks for making me feel normal! Not enough mamas talk about things like this, and it leads to feelings of isolation and failure and frustration. Most of us have the same or similar struggles and just don’t know how to bring it up or to whom to vent. Thank you!

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mb July 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm

hi there, i loved this post. i’m mary beth, i don’t think i’ve commented here before but it is nice to meet you and i wanted to just chime in some solidarity on those rain-or-shine farmer’s market moments…. the photos are wonderful. lily looks like my kinda girl. :)
mb
.-= mb´s last blog ..just go! =-.

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Alexandra July 30, 2010 at 1:06 am

I feel like I need to do the same thing over here. All the good things are slipping through my fingers, and all the things that I think matter right now…maybe don’t?

I don’t know… but I’m with you.

I look forward to the fall, and when you’re back. I hope you find some balance.

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6512 and growing July 31, 2010 at 12:24 am

Beautiful reflection, honesty and clarity.

Wishing you a sweet rest time.

XO
Rachel
.-= 6512 and growing´s last blog ..This Moment =-.

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nicola@which name? August 7, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Whenever I read your posts, Erin, I think how alike you and I are. One of the differences is that you are taking on some of your dreams in a way that I am still working towards. But the perfect storms happen here, too, and for those I give you a huge virtual hug of understanding.
Warmly, Nicola
.-= nicola@which name?´s last blog ..inspired internet- july 2010 =-.

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Tara August 8, 2010 at 9:17 am

I can also relate to this perfect storms of emotion that eventually open up to clearer skies. So glad to know I have your company in this.
.-= Tara´s last blog ..ZoomAir =-.

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