I want to apologize. I have been silent on my blog for the last couple of weeks. Not because crazy parenting things haven’t been happening in my house, but because crazy parenting things can be so emotionally draining that the thought of sitting down at my computer and writing sounded about as wonderful as poking myself in the eye with a stick.
Don’t get me wrong- I love writing. It has always been my solace when life gets crazy. But, as life gets crazier and crazier with a 2 year old, finding time to write (which I used to try and do every day) has gotten to be more and more difficult. I no longer have those 2 to 3 hours at night to think about my day, process my experiences, and enjoy the company of my husband. Now, in those few hours after the baby is in bed and Matt and I can finally “let our guard down,” there is the laundry and the dirty dishes, cleaning and organizing, planning for the next day, and last night, Matt had to go out at 8:30pm and buy pull-ups because daycare sent a note home that Noah needs them to help with potty training at school (seriously- a little more advance notice would be awesome!).
And then the next morning at 5:00am, the alarm goes off and we start again (gym, daycare, work, daycare, 2nd job, bedtime routine, housework, bed…). I never understood the “living for the weekend” mentality… until now.
Usually, it is not that bad (or at least it doesn’t seem like it). I guess we still haven’t fully recovered from our crazy summer. We haven’t been able to have any kind of down-time to collect our sanity. And now, what seems to be adding to the exhaustion is that we have discovered the true meaning of “the terrible twos.”
[Man! Does that kid know how to throw a tantrum!?! I mean, is it built into their genetic coding to throw themselves on the ground and writhe in such a way that it is absolutely impossible to pick them up? Is there a toddler class that I don’t know about that teaches them how to go completely limp as soon as they hear the word no?]
Fortunately, I have an amazing husband who does way more than his fair share of the work around the house. He will be the first to tell you that I cannot clean worth a damn. I don’t pre-rinse the dishes before they go in the dishwasher, I don’t measure the laundry detergent or separate colors from whites, and I only vacuum in the event of an emergency. Oh and I am terrible at cleaning up actual messes (be it dog- or baby-created mess).
In fact, the other night, I opened a container of yogurt for Noah’s supper. Somehow, the container slipped out of my hand and strawberry Greek yogurt went flying. I mean, there was yogurt splattered all over the floor, the kitchen cabinets, Noah’s toys, and me.
What I should have done: Get out the mop and cleaning stuff, gotten down on my hands and knees and cleaned up the spill (which is what Matt would have done).
What I actually did: Called the dogs in, let them lick everything, and yelled to Matt, “Don’t worry! I handled it!”
Needless to say, Matt does all of the cleaning. He even re-cleans everything that I tried to clean the first time. I do all of the cooking and grocery shopping. Pre-baby, I handled all of the financial decisions and banking stuff. Post-baby, we split this task. And we have reimagined our previously very defined and rigid roles within our relationship because, well, we had to. Parenting not only shifts your worldview and the way that you experience your environment, it creates new challenges and opportunities that force you to reimagine everything.
I am not a perfect parent… I am so far from being a perfect anything that the word perfect doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore. In a previous post, I talked about striving for adequacy. And I think Matt and I are succeeding. We just need to be reminded of this bigger goal every now and then.
I need to remember that it is okay to force my child to wear pants to school even though it takes 10 minutes to put them on his chunky little writhing and squirming legs. I need to remember that being late to drop him off sometimes is just a fact of life now. And, even though Matt would disagree, it is okay to let the dogs lick up the mess in the kitchen rather than clean it the proper way.
Oh, and remember to write more. For my sanity!
This has been a really stressful week for me. There have been numerous times that I have had to take a step back and look at how much I was letting other people’s behaviors affect me. Which, I must say, I am very disappointed in myself about.
Since becoming a counselor and a mom, I have never been more reminded of the fact that we can’t control what we can’t control. Sometimes crap happens; sometimes other people just suck; and sometimes shit piles up. There is no reason for it, and if there is a reason, we can’t do anything about it.
Now– I say that. I know that it is true. And still, this past week I have screamed, I have cried, I have not been able to sleep, and I (with shame and embarrassment) admit that I may have pitched a temper tantrum that could rival my toddler’s all because we didn’t have any wine in the house.
So yesterday morning, after waking up at 3:30am for the second day in a row with way too many to-do lists running through my head, I went running. And, let me preface this by saying that I am not a hit the pavement, rain or shine, “I love running” kind of runner. I am a on the treadmill, air conditioning, listen to Pandora while I read the closed captioning on the news, kind of runner. I ran and ran. I just kept watching that mile counter go higher and higher and it felt amazing. And even as my legs started to get tired and a bit wobbly, I just turned up the volume on my ipod and kept running.
To me, there is nothing better than that moment at the gym when you are completely zoning out to the point that you don’t notice all of the people staring at you because you are singing out loud to the songs on the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack station.
[Side note- awesome Pandora station for dorks like me!]
I think at times, and this especially applies to mothers (and maybe even a few dads), that we let the weight of the world pile up on us without even realizing how heavy it is. As a self-proclaimed control freak, I know exactly what it is like to try and be in charge of everything. I am guilty of truly believing that nothing will ever be done as well as when I do it. I take on too much, I struggle to delegate, and I get upset when things don’t go exactly right.
I am trying to change. I would like to say that I am getting better at letting other people be in charge (even though I have delegated a good bit of planning for Noah’s upcoming 2nd birthday party and it is making me very nervous and a bit panicky). Matt and I use the “do what works” style of parenting which has helped to take away a lot of pressure on getting it right. And, even though I have 2 jobs, a toddler, a husband, and a new blog, I am making sure that I take time for me and that Matt and I make time for each other.
I have learned, though not without resistance, that I can’t do it all and, what I do take on doesn’t have to be perfect. I can’t let the things that I cannot control be in control of me. I have to say “no” sometimes and I have to recognize when I am in too deep.
This realization hit me square in the face yesterday morning. This is the moment I realized that I had let someone else make me furious. I gave someone else the power to determine how I was feeling, how I reacted, and ultimately how my entire day played out.
Thankfully I have the gym, a treadmill, and Pitch Perfect.