The last week has been bad. Not only is it that time, but Bubs went into a rage vortex and Peanut is, I believe, on the cusp of her own monthly visitor. The stress of all the things I’ve already shared ad nauseum have caused a canker sore and a back ache.
But I’m leaving that in the yesterdays.
Ever the problem-solver, I hit rock bottom yesterday and became determined to pull myself out of it. Those around me may not want to help, but I can only control myself and my reactions. It reminds me of that idea of being a boat floating in the sea, and without an anchor you can be tossed and turned. I can’t control the sea but I can control whether I drop anchor.
Plus I can physically see the manifestations of carrying around too much stress and anxiety so I am more determined than ever to knock it off.
Official Gym Derp
During my last visit to the gym I decided to try out the sauna. I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve only ever done a steam room before. First of all it is really dry heat. Duh. But I wasn’t expecting the skin just below my nostrils to sting basically immediately. I went for a nip of water and — of course — it went down the wrong pipe and I started convulsing and coughing. There were 4-5 other women in there being really chill and relaxing, so my derp-fest was incredibly embarrassing. I had to leave.
My official time tally for the sauna was approximately 2 minutes. The bonus was that once I left the gym felt extra cool and refreshing, so maybe that’s why people do it?
Let’s talk about kids.
Specifically all the wishes that I “cherish these precious memories” and tidings that I remember that “these days go so fast.”
I am not that person. I honestly don’t know if I am even built to be a mother on some days because my ability to be around people each day is limited and moms really don’t get down time to recharge when these kids are small.
I honestly don’t know if I am even built to be a mother on some days because my ability to be around people each day is limited and moms really don’t get down time to recharge when these kids are small.
Summer breaks are hard on me because I wake up to kids. Every activity and every errand, I am bringing my kids. When one naps, I have the other kid. When it is bedtime, there is always a kid trying to sneak into my bed guaranteeing that not only are my kids the last thing I see at night but also the first thing I’ll see in the morning. One is in the FU 4s so his days are made up of whining about things he didn’t know he wanted to do until someone else did them and then throwing tantrums about the loss of opportunity. One is in the Disney Sass Tweens where she wants the ability to do more mature things but also has the brain of a 10-year-old (I’m looking directly at you right now, YouTube).
I just took a break from writing this post because a cat pooped on the floor in the dining room just yards from where I stand and the smell was overwhelming.
So yes, this summer is a fantastic opportunity to spend all this time doing great activities with the kids. It is an opportunity many people don’t get because they have to work or their kids are grown. I get it. I understand why they look at me and my kids and long for days of yore.
But I’m still in the parenting phase where they still want my full attention all day. Yesterday while waiting to pick up Peanut from dance class I’m standing in the lobby watching her class practice on the closed-circuit TV. Only I can’t watch her because Bubs is trying to re-enter my vagina, and when he fails he starts head-butting my butt and purse.
I want to be that person who fully engages in my kids and makes their lives magical. But holy crap do you realize what a sacrifice that would be? Yesterday at the kid watch they fought over who was going to play on an iPad. An iPad on a wall with more than 10 iPads all loaded with the same apps. Yesterday Bubs got mad because I didn’t get him a treat at Aldi when he just ate two homemade-with-love cookies at the house no less than 2 hours earlier.
Minimizing the work load of a stay-at-home mom sets up kids to be entitled brats and sets up grown women to be domestic servants in their own homes.
The guilt associated with all of this is overwhelming, sort of like that pile of cat crap. Minimizing the work load of a stay-at-home mom sets up kids to be entitled brats and sets up grown women to be domestic servants in their own homes. If raising these kids is my job then I need time off. There is absolutely no reason I should wake up, roll over to see my kid with his foot in my kidney, know that my husband has moved to the spare room for the night and groan that I’m about to start another day of the same-old same-old.
So if, when I’m requesting or subtly demanding some time off, don’t volley back a “cherish these precious moments.” If my introvert battery is on E and I look like I’m clearly not enjoying standing in the checkout line with whiny kids demanding sugar, keep your sentimentality to yourself.
Please and thank you.
P.S. Within 20 minutes of having finished writing this post, one kid has fussed at me because the other one won’t get out of “their” chair and the other has rolled their eyes because I told them they didn’t need to fill a giant water bottle with the fridge door wide open. Bubs was so upset when he thought I said we would be going to the gym and I corrected him that he flopped into the floor and dragged his butt across the room while sounding like a dying cow. I had to silently hand-gesture beg Peanut to relinquish the chair (met with much groaning and stomping) just to get him out from under my feet.
I haven’t posted in 2 days. This past week has been incredibly hard and has forced me to put a lot of things into a healthier perspective.
It started with the dog. Hubs is in one ear saying we need to rehome her sooner than later for everyone’s sakes. When she’s in a new environment she loses her mind with overstimulation, which makes it hard for potential families to see her true personality. Instead they are intimidated by the insanity of this clumsy dog and turn her away. The anxiety of it all wrecked my sleep. I had trouble going to sleep. I had trouble staying asleep. When Bubs inevitably came to our room every night around 1 a.m. and I put him back in his bed, I would toss and turn for another 2 hours unable to turn off my brain.
So I surrendered her to the animal shelter on Sunday with tears in my eyes. I wrestled with that regret for the rest of the day. When the kids got back from church I had out all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. They love to bake and it would be a distraction from the missing dog. I still struggled. After a lot of prayers and devotionals, I decided not to pick up that baggage any longer and started to move on.
After a lot of prayers and devotionals, I decided not to pick up that baggage any longer and started to move on.
The next day we went to the gym and Carowinds. The wound was starting to heal … until Hubs texted me that he missed the dog. Within 5 minutes I had both kids in the car and drove down to the shelter to reclaim her. By this point I am completely drained emotionally and physically. The shelter gives me a really hard time for surrendering her, which I expected. They then tell me that as soon as I left on Sunday they basically threw out all the stuff I left with her there (food, collar, leash, 3 months of flea prescription, all her paperwork). I get it, but dang.
The dog is so overstimulated from her time in the clink that she’s not even really acknowledging that her people are back. It isn’t until she gets home, runs around the yard trying to find a bunny in my flower beds then takes a nap on the couch that she is back in her right mind. Hubs is her person, so she wasn’t truly happy until she saw him. And for the first time in nearly a week I got good sleep.
…for the first time in nearly a week I got good sleep.
The next day we took the dog for a spa day at Petco, where she got a bath, breath refresh and nail buff (with nail pawlish because WTF). She came back looking and smelling great. While she was gone we went to Walmart to replace almost all of her stuff, which the kids enjoyed. I also made it a point to tell the kids some new ground rules to give her space at specific times (i.e. sleeping) so we don’t have to constantly worry about whether she’s going to nip them again.
This week is also that time and I’m an achy mess. I think it is a result of the terrible sleep and anxiety I held onto for several days. I refuse to stop going to the gym, so when my back was catching like it did when I suffered through sciatica, I just added back extensions to my workout. I did “cheat” this week and get into those chocolate chip cookies, but otherwise didn’t completely fall off the carb-reduction wagon.
But here is where I’m honestly stunned.
I didn’t wait until Saturday to weigh. I’m apparently a glutton for punishment so I stepped on a scale this morning to see just what kind of ugliness PMS added to my shoulders this week. It showed an almost 5 pound drop from 4 days ago. That can’t possibly be right. Did the kids mess with the tare? Is there something wedged under it? I learned my lesson: I’ll stay away until Saturday and see if it was truly a fluke or if I managed to worry 5 pounds away.
We are closing in on the last week of summer break for Peanut, and it is definitely to that part of summer where I am ready for a break from my kiddos. I’ve been in Mom Mode for 2 full months and the strain of having to take them with me everywhere has depleted all my good energy. I daydream about grocery shopping alone, or going on walks at a brisk pace.
I’m coasting on E and ready for a pit stop.
I surrendered our dog this morning. There is a tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety attached to that sentence. I feel like I’ve wronged her. I feel like I wasn’t good enough for her and now her future is uncertain. On the drive home I prayed for peace of mind. That this door be closed and that I can move on from it.
When I got home I started a new devotional in my Bible app. I figured the best way to counteract the thoughts racing through my head was to dig into the Bible. I chose “Anxious for Nothing,” a 5 day reading plan from Max Lucado. Days 1 and 2 of the plan hit be square between the eyes:
“Is your heart weighed down with worry? Could you use some calm? If so, you aren’t alone. Conquering anxiety and worry requires some work on your part, but be sure of this: it is not God’s will that you lead a life of perpetual anxiety.”
“The most stressed-out people are control freaks. The more they try to control the world, the more they realize they cannot. Life becomes a cycle of anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure. But when you recognize heaven has an occupied throne, you allow the Lord to be in control. God then calms your fears not by removing the problem, but by revealing his divine power and presence. Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of God, your Father, increases.”
“Unchecked anxiety can unleash an Enola Gay of angry outbursts, rash accusations and fiery retaliations against those in your path who are unfortunate to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Anxiety management is like pulling stumps out of the ground. Some of your worries have deep root systems, and extracting them is hard work. But you don’t have to do it alone. Present the challenge to your Father and ask for help.”
So as I wait for the kids to get back from church to a dog-free home, I pray that God my Father can give me the peace of mind and gentleness to move forward in His grace.
In some ways this week was a great success. In other ways it was not successful. Somehow I managed to lose a couple pounds despite heading into that time of the month. But my stress level was through the roof this week, and I have a nagging headache on the entire left side of my head that hasn’t abated in almost 24 hours. It isn’t migraine strength, but I’m wondering if I’ve caught a head cold or sinus infection.
I was up a lot last night praying that one of the families we’ve found to rehome our dog will work out. We are taking her to meet a friend today to see how she will interact with their cat and their home. If it isn’t a good fit, there is an older couple in a neighborhood nearby with a fenced yard and a beagle that also sounds like it could work well. I’m just ready for this part to be done. I’d grown attached to that goofball, and although I’m not writing notes about running away I am processing the emotions of having to say goodbye.
But back to my physical progress. Here are today’s measurements:
- This week: -2 pounds
- This week: no change
- This week: no change
- This week: no change