Encanto came out, and Luisa sang our anthem:
“Pressure like a grip, grip, grip, and it won’t let go, whoa
Pressure like a tick, tick, tick ’til it’s ready to blow, whoa, oh, oh
Give it to your sister and never wonder
If the same pressure would’ve pulled you under
Who am I if I don’t have what it takes?
No cracks, no breaks
No mistakes, no pressure”
I think every human who has heard this song and let the lyrics wash over them has felt seen – especially caregivers and perfectionists – two identities I personally hold.
The pressure is constant – insistent- and so much of it, for me, is piled on by my own hands. As Kiran’s mom and primary caregiver, there is always something we should be working on – walking in the gait trainer, helping with transitions, washing his hands, eating orally, using a speech device, getting in crawling position, working on pincer grasp, initiating communication, making marks on paper….
And then there is the nagging concept of balance. He needs to work on these things, but he needs to also rest and play and be a seven year old kid. He needs time in the community, time with family, time with friends, but he needs someone always by his side to assist him in all of these things.
But I can’t lose myself in the identity of his mom/caregiver only, either. There’s this pressure to also be a good romantic partner, a good daughter, a good student, a good friend, with pressures on the horizon about securing a good job and being a good speech/language therapist, a good coworker….
And the appointments need to be made, the house needs to be cleaned, the puppy needs exercise and mental stimulation, when was the last time the cat’s litter boxes were scooped? Order the medication before it runs out, blend food to nourish the boy, follow his schedule but also carve out time to shower and rest and figure out who the heck you are.
I have the entire month of January off from school, and the list is so long, filled with all the things I feel I have been “putting off”, grown even longer because we haven’t been feeling well for over a week now.
“But wait, if I could shake the crushing weight of expectations
Would that free some room up for joy
Or relaxation, or simple pleasure?
Instead, we measure this growing pressure
Keeps growing, keep going
‘Cause all we know is
Pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop, whoa”