Metrics of Success

As a woman who is a mother who stays home with a small child, sometimes it’s difficult to decide what success is.

Tonight, my mega-jerk toddler managed to get a fantastic chomp on my arm. Needless to say, it did not do much to strengthen maternal bonds with Satan’s protégé. As it was, I didn’t smack her or bite her or shake her, but by God, I wanted to.

Is this success? I managed to not flip my shit at my kid?

Sometimes, I don’t know.

When the Mister was out of town last month and I managed to keep the household running despite the pile of shit I had to sort through right at the start, it felt like I survived, but not success. Success would have been sitting down and writing every day. Success would have been posting on The Reluctant Veterinarian like I was supposed to. (Which I still haven’t done, actually.) Success would have been writing blog posts. Success would have been writing more than 17k words.

I managed to clean the house to sparkling today. On the flip side, I didn’t get any writing done. I haven’t typed up the last two days of writing, either. I can’t say today feels like a success.

I feel like no matter how much I do, success is this thing that I can never actually reach.

How much of this is because of Facebook and the fabulous lives that everyone pretends they have? I know I’m as guilty of this as the next person. “Look at me! I’m at a football game with my husband!” “Look at me! I’m in Las Vegas with my best friend!” “Look how adorable my child is! Isn’t she so smart and awesome?!” But judging my bests to their bests, it still feels like I’m lagging behind.

How much of this is because of the nebulous “I should be able tos” in my head? How much of this is because I haven’t figured out what my metrics of success are? Publishing a book? Not smacking my kid? Feeling successful? Not listening to that little “Oh, you are an impostor and everyone can see it” voice? Not having my kid smoke bath salts and attack my arm?

I dunno. I’ve mentioned before that I have a tendency to depression and anxiety. I wonder if this is just change of season weirdness. Or my itchy feet. I enjoy travel and with the little one, it has been severely curtailed. I’m very much a creature of solitude and with the Mister so busy, even when I’m alone, I don’t have solitude. My ear is always half open listening for the kid to need me.


Last summer I was up hiking in the hills above the University of Utah once or twice a week. I was so productive. My thoughts felt so fresh, I felt so wonderful. Just me and a little dog. Anyway. It seems like spring is coming early to the Salt Lake valley. Hopefully, I can get up to the hills sooner rather than later. I can let me be my focus.

But back to the matter at hand: Success. What the fuck is it? And how do I get there?

I know I’ve posted this video before, but I think it’s applicable.

Am I exactly who I want to be? Sometimes I think so. And sometimes I wonder if anyone actually feels successful.

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