Yesterday, around 4:30, I told PJ I wanted to leave. It wasn’t so much that it had been one of “those days”. It had just been a day. A regular old day in the life of me.
Monster had spent the entire day in her room, claiming inability to clean it up. All day. Mace had been doing the same since his return home at 3:00. I knew that neither would actually clean up, merely shove clothes, toys and crap into whatever area they thought I wouldn’t check. That’s just how they roll.
MissE had had one of her clingy days, complete with an awesome 45-minute nap.
I’d been taking the few free moments of the day – when MissE would condescend to let me loose of her leach-like hold – to attempt to clean up the truly horrific chaos around me, so that I could be free to take a few moments to work on a sewing project – to no avail, of course.
Mr. T wanted to know if he’d read for his allotted time. Of course, he hadn’t notifiied me of when he started, so I had no idea. Yet it was my fault – as it is when someone can’t locate a missing item, when there isn’t the desired foodstuff in the fridge/pantry, when video game time is revoked because of bad behavior – all my fault, of course.
Weighing on me, in the back of my mind was this Groupon out that day for a great deal on TaeKwonDo. Mace would love to do TaeKwonDo. But there’s simply no way we can come up with an additional $90 every month for lessons. Nor can we fairly let him do it and not Tristen. Which lead to this little mental tangent: (Nor do I know how we will afford dance lessons for Monster, which I desperately want for her. And let’s not even talk about the piano lessons I so want for all the kids – there’s neither money nor time for the things I want to be able to give my kids. Let’s not even talk about the other things we can’t do for our family – everyone I know takes grand vacations, both for family and couples, has awesome gadgets and things that make life a little prettier and more fun. We’re always just scraping by, hoping to have enough money to go camping in the summer. You know, a little light thinking to occupy my day.)
I was making dinner, which I knew the kids wouldn’t like and would likely protest loudly about. However, it was something that sounded good to me, and so I was making it. Because my children don’t like anything. They’re the living embodiment of my parents’ wish that “someday you’ll get a picky kid just like yourself.” Well, I got 4. Somehow that seems disproportionate punishment.
It was basketball night, which meant that immediately following dinner, PJ would be gone until 7:30, and I would be alone with all of them, all of this – again.
I may have been a bit short with the kids, at which point PJ asked what was wrong. Normally, I might prevaricate, because I know how it sounds. But today, I just told him. And he tried to help – offered to let me go out for a while when he got home. To which I responded, “Go where? Where would I go? What would I do? Spend more money we don’t have? Look at things I can’t afford to even want? What is there for me to do?” Even as I said it, I knew how it appeared. But still I said it.
I am lucky. I am fortunate. I am blessed beyond measure. I know this. I repeat: I know this. I thank my Heavenly Father every night for my life. I have a loving, hard-working, helpful husband who tries really hard to keep me happy. I have 4 beautiful, healthy, happy children who love life. They bring me more joy than I could ever have thought humanly possible (and the potential for more heartache – dang!), and I marvel over this constantly. I have a home that fits us all, a yard (a small one!) for my children to play safely in, with a quiet street in front. I don’t have to work outside the home, or be up and dressed early in the morning. I get to stay home with my children, be there for them after school, know their teachers and school friends, occasionally have time to craft. My husband has a good, steady job that pays all our bills, plus provides excellent health insurance. I have family nearby to help and play with. I have a support system waiting to kick in should I but make a call. I have known blessedly little tragedy in my life. I have never had to worry whether I will be able to feed, clothe, or shelter my family. I have never had to ask the church for help. My family never looks as though we’re in need (I hope). We live in a place where we can voice our opinions, worship as we choose, and generally not fear for our lives on a daily basis. I have gotten exactly what I want for my life.
I am blessed.
I am blessed.
Which makes it all the worse when I have the days where it just gets to be too much. How bratty, how selfish, how ungrateful am I to even silently feel as though I just need to get away from this bounty. I know there are countless people in this world who would read this little pity-party rant and legitimately say, “Boy, I sure wish that’s all I had to worry about.” I know. But still I feel like this. Sometimes.
Sometimes it’s just too darn much for me. Too much doing the same thing over and over and over and over, and rarely – if ever – accomplishing anything. To never have a change in the outcome, and rarely even a completion or a moment where I can sigh, look around, dust off my hands and think, “well, that’s done.” Because while I’m spending time on one thing, another thing is rapidly unraveling right behind my back, with a third and fourth just waiting in the wings. (In taking the time to compose this blog post, the girls have emptied a box of cereal, ripped up a floor vent, emptied out the living room toy box, strewn the library books around the room, spilled syrup on my cookbook, scattered Kool Aid packets all over the kitchen floor, and knocked over all the brooms – just as an example.) Perhaps it’s just a result of my personality. Perhaps someone so controlling, so averse to chaos shouldn’t be a stay-at-home-mom. Because that’s all I have around me. I seem to have missed out on that gene that enables me to maintain a clean home, cook wholesome homemade meals, spend quality time with my children, maintain the finances and other miscellania of the household, take care of the kids’ school stuff, find ways to live within our means, and be a good wife and mother – simultaneously. Oh, yeah, and me. Drummed into women these days is the fact that we’re supposed to “take care of me” somewhere in this. Sure, I’ll get right on that. I’d love to take a dance class, or a cooking class, or a photography class, or work out in the basement – oh, wait, every spare moment and dollar is already earmarked for everyone else’s activities. (I’ve had Spa Finder gift cards for the past 4 years that I haven’t used – I need to research the available spas to find which will give me the best services for the lowest price, so I’m not wasting my $. Then I have to find an available time to reserve. Then I have to hope desperately that something doesn’t come up, necessitating that I (horrors!) have to reschedule.)
Perhaps I’ve a bit of ADD in me after all. Because I just can’t seem to effectively manage more than one of the many things I need to in my life. And it’s getting harder to hide. It seems to me that it must be shining like a glorious neon sign above me, alternating in technicolor, “Wreck!” “Disaster!” “Failure!”
But even thinking these thoughts in my mind scares me. I feel like I’m inviting someone to take it all away from me, to show me what it’s like to really suffer. To say, “You don’t want this? Fine, I’ll give you something to truly cry about.”
So I rarely say it – I hardly allow myself to think it. Because I know that the hard times will pass, sooner than I can even imagine the kids will be grown and gone, and (so I’m told) I’ll look back and miss these days.
And while tomorrow will likely be more of the same, hopefully I won’t feel so pissy about it. That’s all I can hope for.