The Strange Case of Dr. Dynamical and Mrs. Run-and-Hide

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run-and-hideGood old Robert Louis Stevenson was on to something… there is a duality in us; well, there’s one in me, anyhow. My motivation is strangely complex these days, and I’m wrestling with it. I wax philosophical and catch myself before I tumble down a rabbit hole of self-doubt. You see, there is a part of me, one I can’t shut up, that is feisty and fights for more… more education, more involvement, more achievement, more accomplishment. I know, deep down inside, I’m built for more. More than what? More than “just momming,” just keeping my eight progenies alive, just making sure the bills are paid. I need more… I think… Until that other part smacks me right across the face with a walloping palm-full of guilt of not being grateful. It should be enough I care for my family. It should be enough we have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Surely, it’s enough; surely, I’m enough. My problems are first-world, and I am ashamed that all I have doesn’t fill my metaphorical cup.

Meet my Dr. Dynamical. Frantic, she’s all energy and action – a big deal, not a fame monger, but addicted to the challenge of getting somewhere significant outside her four walls. Motivation pulses through her veins and burns for that next achievement. It’s instinctive, intuitive, almost primal. I am not sure when that part of me first reared her head, but it was early on. Graduating salutatorian in high school, it was a quest to be valedictorian in college… so I did it. It felt good, and accomplishment was my drug. I loved that my effort equaled my outcome. Only when Baby Six arrived, the inability to be the best in two conflicting roles began to rock the do-it-all Dr. D. part of me. That’s when Mrs. Run-and-Hide snuck into my life, quietly and contently setting up shop. Mrs. Run-and-Hide? She is content with far less. She finds beauty in the chaos of raising a family and needs nothing outside her tribe to remind her of a life well-lived. Sure, there’s not much glory, but there’s also little risk, and the expectations are minimal. Mrs. Run-and-Hide is safe. After all, it doesn’t take much effort to be comfortable with “okay” and an intermittent “good.” But, vulnerability is her tragic flaw. A pit in her stomach feels a lot like discontent.

I’ve recently tried to marry these two versions of my duality rather than place them in juxtaposition. Here in middle-class suburbia, there’s no shortage of enlightenment for “just moms.” Yoga, DYI everything, wineries, book clubs, churches, therapists… the list goes on. I’ve filled my calendar with committee meetings and accepted enough external responsibility to land me very near the brink of exhaustion. I have joined countless worthy crusades, and I support the efforts of other women; that is empowering. But it hits me; I’m still trying to be the best … even if it’s the best Mrs. Run-and-Hide. What’s a girl to do? I guess I’ve learned to feed the hungriest part of me first. When a season of life finds me energized and fueled with creativity and ambition, I go with it. And when I need a break, I put on my fat pants, and I take one. Listen, ladies; I’m tired of being in constant conflict with myself. I’m inevitably disappointing at least half of me. I just want to do what feeds my soul and charges my batteries. And, I reserve the right to change my mind ad nauseam. My duality doesn’t have to operate in competition. I choose to make both parts of me interdependent upon each other because together, they make for some beautiful possibilities. That’s a win-win… And, you KNOW I love a good win!

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