I used to love that moment in between sleep and being awake, when my brain would stretch and my body would unfurl and for a minute or two I could enjoy the silence of the day. Lately, though, as soon as I am conscious, my thoughts explode in a whirlwind of what needs to get done, and who needs to go where, and how much time I have to do it all (spoiler alert: not enough time, not even close, hang on tight, things are about to get bumpy).

The mental load of motherhood is not a new concept, and is certainly not unique to my situation. I know I do not come even close to winning the Misery Olympics, and to be honest, I am not interested in competing. I love my life. I’ve got an attentive partner, an amazing support system, privilege oozing from every crevice of my duct-taped-together days, and yet here I am, exhausted and overwhelmed.

I’m trying to make life less chaotic. I’m writing lists and creating routines and constantly “prepping” (oh my vodka, so much prepping) to try to make my days run as smoothly as possible. I am one “10 Ways to Hack your Morning Routine!” listicle away from keeping a stash of protein bars beside the shower so I can fuel up and get my 28 essential micronutrients while I get ready for work at the same time.

But I am not more organized. Our days are not running smoothly. I am left feeling like I can’t take a full breath because my chest cavity is full of “what ifs” and “what nexts” trampolining on my heart.

Maybe I should get back into meditating, I think. Or yoga. I should dust off my juicer and fill my face with spinach juice instead of Skittles. I should up my protein intake. Cut carbs. Lift weights, go for a walk, get a massage, read a book, light a candle, start a bullet journal, clean out a closet. Maybe then I will feel like I’m in control, like I’m not careening headfirst toward disaster.

I don’t want my kids to remember me as the crazy lady who was constantly hissing at them to walkfasterthesecondbellisabouttoringdoyouwanttobemarkedlateagain?. I want to be serene. I want to go with the flow. I want the flow to not be so soul-crushingly unpredictable and tumultuous. I want to able to accept this season of life for what it is: messy, noisy, and fleeting.