Living life in Autopilot

I will admit it.

I have been living my life in Autopilot.

The hustle and bustle of working full time, and dealing with my three children, have left me exhausted.

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing more to give.

I am spent.

I dont know how many times my kids have whined …. “Muuuu—uuuuu—-mmmmmm…”

And I haven’t wanted to hear it.

And I have bellowed “WHAT!”

Only to have them say “Mum, I love you”.

Melt.

“Oh my little cherub (who incidentally was so doing my head in by jumping off the couch and landing on your brother less than 5 minutes ago)…. I love you too. Come here and give me a cuddle and a kiss”.

But to be brutally honest… so much of the time I am harrowed, I am stressed, and I am in a hurry.

And I have been living my life in autopilot.

I am not present.

I am thinking about things I need to do, I am worrying about the bills, I am constantly ticking off mental checklists. While I am dropping off the kids and driving to work, I am thinking about a million things.

“Did Mr S put his lunchbox in his bag? Is his bag in the car? Oh crap, I should be at work by now….”

“O… have you got your clarinet? Do you have your glasses? Did you remember your hat?”

“Ok when I get to work I must remember to check to see if that direct debit came out of my account. And I have to phone that customer.”

Of course, it is pointless to worry about these things when we are already half way to school. But I worry about them anyway.

So last week it all came to a head.

It was raining. I was late. I dropped off Ms O and Mr S at school, and I arrived at the daycare centre to drop off Mr J. I pulled up into the park closest to the entrance becuase I had no umbrella and I didnt want to get saturated.

I sprinted Mr J inside – even forgetting to sign him in – in my hurry to get back to the car before the next big downpour.

It’s funny the things you notice and the things that annoy you when you are in a hurry. The man and the woman inconveniently standing in front of the gate having a conversation when I ran inside were still there when I ran back out to the car.

The car space beside me was still empty… or was it?

I sprinted to the car, sat down, wiped the rain off my glasses and breathed a sigh of relief before reversing out of the car park. I reversed a bit, and then began to turn the car the way I normally do when the car space beside me is empty. (I do not reverse as far back and begin turning the car earlier).

Then I heard the crunch.

The crunch that someone driving a car does not want to hear. Especially if their car is less than 1 year old. Especially if they are already late for work.

The crunch forced me to be present. Forcing my brain to awaken from Autopilot. My first thought was “Nooooooooooooooooo W.T.F was that?” I looked to the right and noticed the car.

Damn.

The car wouldn’t move. My bumper bar and their left side passenger door were joined.

Slowly, I moved forward, turned and straightened back into the car space.

I jumped out of the car. The mum in the other car got out of her car as well.

It was my fault and there was no point in denying it. My brain was stil trying to come to terms with the fact that the empty car space actually had a car in it, and I had just run into it.

Thankfully, the lady I ran into was lovely. And very understanding. And not angry. We exchanged details, and I surveyed the damage.

Thank goodness, no major damage to her car except for some scrape marks down the side of her rear passenger door. She would still have to get it fixed by her insurance company, but apart from the scrape marks her car was relatively unscathed. The door still opened and closed fine. The toddler sitting on the other side of that door was undamaged, happy, and not traumatised in any way.

But my car had a big dent in the bumper bar.

Waaaah.

But there is a silver lining to this tale…

I realised I need to snap out of this autopilot crap. I need to be more present in my everyday life. There are things I cannot control. Mistakes will be made – some of them by me. I need to stop worrying about bad things happening. Bad things will happen whether I worry or not.

But if I spend all my time trying to control everything and worrying about everything, I will never enjoy the good things.

My plan for 2012?

Enjoy my family, live in the moment and enjoy the good things.

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2 comments on “Living life in Autopilot

  1. Thank you for your painful, raw honesty. I could feel your stress and anxiety .. I know it all too well. I truly feel that we as moms are pressured to “do it all” (with a smile) to the point that we lose ourselves, we lose our joy, we lose our lives. I applaud you for hearing that little voice inside you that says, “This is not living; I will not live this way anymore.” I heard that little voice approximately 2 years ago (it started softly and got louder until I broke down) and my life changed that day. I got off the hamster wheel and I started being present and collecting all those “moments that matter” I had been tragically missing. I started my journey to let go of distraction and grasp what matters. Living “Hands Free” has changed me. I am alive again. I am happy again. So thankful you stopped by “The Hands Free Revolution,” friend, so that we could find one another.

    http://www.handsfreemama.com

    • : ) Thank you so much for your feedback to my post. I feel honoured. I am a fan of your blog and your posts are so inspiring.

      The stress and anxiety have been building up and up and up for a while now. At the beginning of February I was exhausted and was desperately trying to hold myself together when I got sick with a tummy bug. It was too much. I had a massive cry and all I could think was “I can’t cope. I am not a robot. Everyone thinks I am strong but I’m not”.

      I felt like things needed to change, but what?

      So when I had the little bingle with the car, I realised just how ‘out of it’ I have been. How stressed I have been. How cranky I have been. And the thing I need to change is ME.

      And its funny how easy it is to fall back into my old autopilot and worry habits. At the moment, I must remind myself I have pledged to be present… and shake off the autopilot when I find myself drifting off.

      I am hoping that with practice it will be natural.

      I am a work in progress

      : )

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