Day 1, Take 2
Why did you have to go on vacation RIGHT NOW when I really need you to tell me that I can do it? Why did you have to go somewhere where I can’t even email you? Why did you HAVE to do something for yourself for a change? Oh right, because taking care of you is so crucial to being a good mom. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. When I do things for me – things that make me happy, make me feel good about myself, then I glow, inside out. And it’s contagious. But right now, on more days than not, the only thing I’m spreading is the Crotchety-Tired-Mommy virus. And when I am inflicted with that virus, I have the tendency to yell more than I wish….So could you please cut your vacation short and give me a strong dose of you can do it?
The Orange Rhino
I haven’t done anything for myself in probably 15 months, realistically a lot more than that. I’m tired and unraveling. I’m tired of trying to seem pulled together – trying to prove to people that I wasn’t crazy for having 4 kids in 5 years, that I love it and it’s the greatest thing ever. I’m tired of wanting to be a better mom, of feeling like I should be doing more art projects with the kids, playing more games with them, reading more books to them. I’m tired of people asking if I wish I had a girl. (I love my boys but of course I wish I had a girl too. And yes I’m jealous of that adorable dress you got to put your daughter in today because I had to pick out another boring striped shirt).
I’m tired of my husband working so much and being home mostly on weekends and worrying that with all the stress of his job and having four children that we won’t make it.I’m tired of feeling frustrated and sad as I struggle to help my 5 year old overcome some challenges and at the same time figure out why my 2 year old is always feeling cruddy. I’m tired of worrying about why my 3 year old can’t seem to get a clue how to interact socially.
And I’m tired because, well, duh, Parenting is EXHAUSTING especially when your 6 month old still doesn’t sleep through the night consistently.
And yet here I am.
Totally wacked out thinking that I have the energy and vigor to forge ahead and take on this ridiculous challenge and simultaneously launch a blog that I hope becomes a real community oh, and did I mention I just started Weight Watchers too? What am I thinking????
I’m thinking that this little project could change my life forever, for the better. That not yelling at my kids will have a trickledown effect in the household.
We need it. I need it. I need the house to be quieter- it’s not just my yelling that’s a problem, it’s the boys. They have started yelling at each other in the same mean tone I do. I mean really, is that really what I want my kids to take away from me? Of all I have to offer, I want them to learn to yell? Um, yeah, no. I want to raise respectful loving little guys. Pretty sure yelling at people in a demeaning tone that scares and shames is not the way to do that.
And I don’t mean to. I really honestly don’t. My parents didn’t yell. My husband doesn’t. But I do. There I said it.
I AM A YELLER. I YELL AT MY KIDS. I YELL AT MY HUSBAND (oh and I YELL at the people who don’t know how to drive as well as us Massholes!)
I yell much more than I would like. I know it hurts my boys’ feelings, makes them sad, and scared too sometimes I feel sad and scared too sometimes and I definitely always feel dreadful when I yell. I never feel better, just embarrassed, disappointed and angry that I lost control and most likely made them cry, especially since it never solves anything.
Now to be fair, I give myself a B+. I probably yell less than others but certainly more than some. But sometimes, I just snap. I try so hard to keep pulled together that when wrong button is pushed and the stars are aligned in a certain way (yes, I’m blaming the stars), watch out, MASSIVE VOLCANIC ERUPTION. And it keeps it going. Once it starts, it is SO HARD to stop it. SO HARD. And I hate that.
And I hate that #1 has the same struggle.
In a beautiful twist of fate, in my helping #1 reign in his volcanic eruptions (we call them that because he loves volcanoes), he’s helping me. We read a child’s book together that taught him to say “1,2,3, I’m taking care of me” or to give himself a squeeze when he’s feeling overwhelmed or angry.
So lately, BEFORE the Orange Rhino Challenge even started, when I would start erupting #1 would immediately run over, squeeze me and say 1,2,3 I’m taking care of me. And you know what? Just like that – my sweet 5 year snapped me BACK into place. Kids are amazing that way – when we let them. My son taught me, that I CAN CONTROL MYSELF. I CAN CHOOSE to NOT YELL. (He also every so not- nonchalantly pointed out to me that my behavior was teaching him his…hmmm)
As I sit here feeling overwhelmed, down and tired and wishing that the excitement and adrenaline I once felt for this project would return in full force, I think to myself…I CAN DO THIS. Maybe I just need to get in bed at 9pm with no to-do lists running through my head and then sleep until whenever the heck I want to wake up, not when the alarm or the kids want me up. Nah, that’s not gonna happen.
What I really need? I need the non-existent Orange Rhino community that I hope is going to emerge. A community where my honesty is accepted and not judged and as such I gain the much needed support, strength and energy needed to survive this challenge…and all the other challenges of parenthood. I need the support to get through days like today. I need to know that I am not alone in this thing called Parenthood.
And mom, when you read this, know that I miss you and love you. I never tell you that enough. Maybe as I stop yelling, I will start loving more…wouldn’t that be a great payoff? And please don’t call and get all mushy on me. Then I’ll just have to yell at you to stop!