07 November 2009

Am I REALLY complaining again?!?!

So - despite my feelings lately that I'm organized and on top of it all (I have semi-clean bathrooms, seasonal kids' clothes organized, an indoor herb garden going, meatloaf, lasagne and post roast-type dinners on the table every night, homework done, etc.), I am feeling a bit suffocated, and... I'm screwing up a bit.

Today, hubby had to travel early in the am, so.... I got up at 5am - got him going, laid (sp? correct? the editor in me emerges ;-) back down for a bit (on the couch, mind you - two year old up coughing all night so was in dog bed next to me - hubby with boys), got up for good before 6 am (to finish leftover laundry, read my email, fold towels and blankets left from yesterday as well), woke middle schooler and kindergartner, made breakfast, occupied one with computer games - made sure the other was up and moving, got uniforms out of the dryer - dealt with two youngests waking cranky and wanting granola bars, juice, etc. - made lunches - continued short-order cook type breakfast making - made beds - turned off all night lights, humidifiers, etc. (typical early am "straighten the house" stuff) - got everyone dressed into warm jackets and appropriate shoes.... I don't really remember making myself presentable at all - no shower - not even sure I brushed my teeth or hair - though I did throw on my daughter's hand-me-down Uggs, a pair of ugly brown flared leg sweats, a 20 year old Harvard sweatshirt (forgot a jacket for myself despite having to de-ice the van) - then drove everyone to school (oldest had her revised report that I proofread the night before, was wearing new uniform shirt I picked up day before - hubby off to DC with the ID card he needed to do some family paperwork, which I turned the house upside down to find the night before - kindergartner had his library book to return, homework turned in early, money for ice cream at lunch that he had been asking for, etc. etc. I even gave strict instructions to all - oldest walk with kindergartner to class, kindergartner remember to turn in book, etc. - really felt OK with my mental "to do" list).

All day, I stayed in my "uniform" (sweats or yoga pants, t-shirt or hoodie, flip flops) and worked tirelessly on organizing bedrooms (got rid of useless old art shelf, continued Good Will piles and seasonal clothes updates), I mopped kitchen floor, made bacon and eggs for little ones, baked cookies for schoolkids, cleaned bathrooms, did several loads of laundry, washed dishes AND ran dishwasher - oh, the list goes on (and this is the "treadmill" I've been on lately - for weeks). I even managed some sitdown game and movie / popcorn time with my two youngests AND sent the requisite emails and Facebook updates to friends and acquaintances - my 15 min. on computer before Noggin games begin :-). Anyway, much to my horror - I remembered as I watched my kids walk home from the bus stop - that I had forgotten to send money in for my kindergartner's first book fair (and it might sound like I'm over-reacting, but... this little thing - THESE little thingS that come up ... do mean a lot to me). My oldest, of course, immediately relayed the story of my kindergartner's school "buddy" (an older kid assigned to help them with misc. things throughout the year) desperately seeking her out for money that she didn't have - my little guy about to cry - finally had to borrow from a teacher - just so sad and embarrassing. I should have remembered to send that money! I don't want to picture him upset, thinking he's the only one in his class who can't shop for a book (he finds books and other such book fair trinkets really enticing when we're out at the regular stores - I can imagine how happy then disappointed he was). So ...grateful for everyone's help, I fired off some thank you emails and sent some follow up correspondence to his teachers... when.... I also remembered that it had been our snack day as well, which I also forgot (turns out, after some apology and investigation, that they have an over-abundance of snack and juice overage, so... have asked me not to send anything in because they are trying to plow through reserves - hope they're not just saying this to be be nice :-). Now... as I'm up, sleepless, having been awakened by yet another 2 year old coughing fit (and, yes, she's back in dog bed and I'm on the computer working out my "issues" :-), I'm remembering that we also forgot show and tell. Oh well.

After weeks of everyone sick - trips to medical specialists - the ER - all the H1N1 clinics - plus, regular orthodontic appointments and well visits for immunizations, then..... hubby traveling and doing a lot of consulting..... my health not so great (headaches, stomach pain, probably cavities from dental neglect, put-off doctor's appointments when I'm usually really good about my own check-ups, sore muscles, scratchy throat, runny nose and earache, probably uti) .... no break (mother lives in another city and is rarely able to visit, mother-in-law not crazy about me so ... that situation is what it is) to even get my hair cut, buy a new bra for me, socks for the kids or necessary groceries (I mean I shop with little ones, but they are feisty, prone to tantrums and often run from me). When I do drop one at a morning out program, I have the other to take to gymnastics or the doctor or preschool, etc. Anyway, I'm not complaining.... I'm just trying to cut myself some slack.

Truly, I marvel at these mothers who are put together and manage some social time for themselves - or actually have time during which their families are around them -eating, watching TV, playing games - whatever. I am usually alone. Either I'm stealing 10 min. of TV time or squeezing in a solitary workout on the Wii or sitting alone at night - everyone asleep - me trying to wind down or.... I'm going through my day, kids in tow, no time to talk to other moms or make friends - just enmeshed in errands and housework and pure carpool, appointment duty or other automode. I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. I get lonely. I feel inadequate. I wish my husband wouldn't work so late all the time (we never sit down to dinner as a family unless I force it - the middle schooler hates my cooking - my three year old doesn't currently eat real food now anyway and the baby won't sit in her high chair or any chair, for that matter - would rather eat from our plates on the run, so to speak) - I wish my middle schooler wanted to shop with me or hang out more (currently, I long to chaperone her dances or get involved in other school events but have to send her off with friends while I wrangle babies - plus, I'm usually not presentable anyway - yukky, greasy hair, dumpy clothes - I should pull it together - maybe then she would have sleepovers here more instead of at friend's houses - because her friends seem to like me - fascinated by my dance abilities even as a "mom" or my stories of my odd, hip friends from back in the day AND they think I look young - which makes me feel kinda good :-).

I'm really not complaining. I know how lucky I am. I'm just trying to wrap my brain around why I can't seem to pull it together enough to actually pleasantly volunteer in my kindergartner's classroom - take my oldest daughter shopping - have some evening time with my husband - get my volatile 3 year old into other productive outlets, classes - spend time with the baby before she's not a baby anymore - sit and scrapbook or even make time to get some photo prints or upload photos regularly (things I enjoy - I have an iPod full of songs I like but don't have time to listen - I would clean up and go on a fun shopping trip or get my hair cut, dyed or just "fixed" - but I have few clothes that look good on me and my current state of hair has me pretty embarrassed - a salon outing would be stressful, at this point - selfish, eh? ;-)..... I mean, it is well past 2 am, and I am up - upset stomach, headache -realizing I have not showered in a couple days - my temporarily heartbroken kindergartner on my mind as well as the fact that my daughter is at another sleepover and I did not get to hear about her fun school dance. Hubby was distracted and tired after his trip - I missed dinner in the chaos of the evening (though I am basking in a sense of accomplishment - bedrooms organized, house clean, kids happy and full of "I love yous" and other shows of gratitude that I need to notice more - albeit I did leave a wet load of laundry in the washing machine - just remembered :-).

So ... off I go - 2 year old spit up her bedtime snack milk during one of her coughing fits, so I need to deal with that. I'm going to check on my boys - make sure they're comfy and sleeping - text my daughter a good morning message - then maybe actually brush my teeth, put some soothing, aromatherapy lotion on, clean myself up a bit, have some tea and try to watch some late night TV on the couch (maybe actually fall back asleep :-). It actually doesn't sound too bad ... in fact, sounds like quite a good plan to me. So my hours aren't what everyone else's are - my daily function a little harried right now - the word "lonely" does creep into my vocab now and then.... I'm working on it.... looking forward to holidays.... just glad everyone else - little ones, hubby, mom, etc. - seems really happy. Oh - and on the bright side.... I did manage more than one HOT cup of coffee today (quite an achievement) and I painted my toenails red! High five!


Kim said...

I am reading this, wearing my own uniform of elastic waist yogaish capris, sweatshirt, and a cami (instead of bra) underneath...feeling good that someone else has trouble pulling it together just to make public appearances! :) One thing you said that I agree with...cut yourself some slack! Nobody walks in your shoes with your exact situation and I think you are doing a fine job. BTW...I have forgotten book fair money more than once and I think my middle name is "I'll see what I can do after I get Jake's (fill in the blank)." I just pray that they will grow up and give me credit for my effort...they know I love them and mean well, so that counts for something, right?

Michele James-Parham said...

is it possible for you to take a break? I don't mean a 'real' vacation, but just stop doing anything & everything that isn't essential to life?

Stop cleaning so damn much, don't run errands you don't *have to* do, cook when you're hungry & provide mini-meals/snacks or make easy things available for everyone else when you aren't hungry & not cooking, don't go anywhere you don't want to go (this includes other family member's houses)...just spend your days with your children, some hot tea & whatever adventure they come up with. When they're older, do you want them to remember that you did 9000 things at once AND kept a clean house or that you were always fully present, willing to follow them on their paths NOW and NOT after the 'to-do' list?

BTW...I DON'T know how you do it! I get completely worn out reading your rants! I just want to come over & tie you down & feed you sleeping pills!!!

The most important advice I've ever been given is to BREATHE.

Sherri said...

Thanks, Kim and Michelle. And, Michelle - you are so right. I do try to let it go and just spend time with the little ones - hang out, etc. Every now and then, these thoughts creep in, though, and.... sometimes, I do let things get out of hand (no clean laundry, etc. - it happens, right?). Anyway - again, you're right - need to do the hang out thing more. And, Kim - I do agree that we will be appreciated - I mean all you do for the sweet Jakester....