Friday, May 29, 2015

The Time When My Computer Died

Alternatively Titled: I Realized How Having Both Kids in School Was Like My Freshman Year of College

Last week, my computer unexpectedly died.  There I was, cleaning the desktop and trash bin, when I decided to install the latest software update. 

There were scary screen twitches. The info at the top of the screen was a dark red color covered with black and gray etches.  It was very Carole Ann and the snowy TV screen from Poltergeist.

Sometime around 12:15am, I gave up googling triage options and made an appointment at the Genius Bar. 

And then I cried. Not silent tears of defeat. No, these tears were more like from toddler tantrum meltdown. I was irrational. I had no words. 

I felt helpless. 

I couldn't write my blog post. I couldn't work on some other essays I wanted to submit. School is almost out for the summer and I barely accomplished anything!


And then that's when it hit me: this was so much more than a broken computer. 

For months, I've had this underlying feeling of discontent.  I always fantasized that when both kids were in school full time, I would rule the world.



Take care of the house!


Have lunch with friends!

Volunteer at school!

I would do all of the things and still feel refreshed when I skipped on down to the bus stop and started the after school/dinner grind.   

At first it was awesome.  I exercised during normal daylight hours instead of waking up at before dawn.

I went out to lunch almost every day. This was glorious!  When I was a junior high teacher, I only had 20 minutes to eat AND go to the bathroom. When I was home with babies and toddlers, it was just enough to go to Target for diapers let alone sit in a restaurant to eat a meal.  Eating food that I did not prepare nor having to clean up felt like I! Had! Arrived!

Turns out that once I worked out and had lunch, I didn't have as much time as I thought to do all of the things.  Honest Mom totally articulates my feelings here.

I spent most of this year rearranging my blocks of time in various orders to try and fit it all in. And I couldn't. I was constantly falling short of my expectations.

This totally reminded me of my freshman year of college. I thought it would be this party and I would be besties with my roommates as we giggled through all-nighters and ate soft serve ice cream in between classes. 

Freshman year was the opposite of that, actually. It was a lot of hard work, and I hated my roommates.  Plus, there was no unlimited soft serve ice cream.  (That along with endless nacho cheese came during sophomore year at a different school – which is a story for another time).

So during this breakdown, I had a breakthrough.  I have a tendency to build something up in my mind and create standards that are impossible to meet. 

Freshman year was just one example.

There was that time I though seventh grade would be like the Sweet Valley Twins series.  (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.  These were, in fact, the worst years of my life).

Or when my flowery image of natural childbirth courtesy of TLC’s Baby Story did not match up to my unplanned C-section.

And then the time I thought teaching junior high in an upper middle class school would somehow be a mix between Dead Poets Society and Mr. Holland’s Opus.  (It ended up being more like Mean Girls).

This constant feeling of letting myself down because I can’t reach my unattainable expectations chips away at my happiness and self-worth. 

And I don’t want to live like that anymore.

I’m not sure how to stop this since it’s clear that I’ve been doing this my entire life.  I’m a doer; I believe I can *DO* anything.  I just need to manage my expectations.  Upon writing this post, I also think it’s imperative to reexamine how much I let media infiltrate my visions of success.

I didn’t expect to have a broken computer fix my perspective, but I am grateful (and grateful for Neil at the Genius Bar for not only installing my new hard drive, but being very gentle with this fragile soul).

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot The Time When My Computer Died Genius Bar

Have you had a recent breakthrough?  How do you deal with reality vs. your expectations?

So excited that my post about the moment I realized I was no longer a full-time stay-at-home mom was picked up by Huffington Post Parents. I would love it if you clicked on over and let me know what you think!


Cordia Remsen said...

It seems like the computer’s breakdown broke you as well, which I think is quite reasonable. A lot of people nowadays tend to spend a lot of time in their computers, since they do their work there, contact friends and relatives, and have some fun and games as well. Anyway, have you had it fixed yet? Whatever the case is, I hope things are doing better for you now us. Have a great day!

Cordia Remsen @ RB’s Computer Service

Donald Steadman said...

Yeah, that's the deal with computers sometimes; they are so intricate and complex, you don't know which among its gears don't turn well, so to speak, which of course leads to very vast consequences. Among which is of course a computer breaking down. The least you can hope for is for the pieces to be brought back together again. I hope that it is okay now.

Donald Steadman @ Office PCS