And It (she?) Finally Broke.

18 days of loving more in year 2, 447 days total!

February 6th ish I came into my house to a rancid smell. It literally smelled like an animal had died and was hiding underneath the family room. Awful doesn’t even begin to describe it. I immediately called my handyman who came right over. I had to leave the house to get one child to a speech therapy appointment but I knew he would resolve the matter.

Not ten minutes after I leave, I get a phone call. I didn’t even have to answer it to know it was bad as it wasn’t my handyman; it was his boss.

“Um, hi Mrs. Orange Rhino.”
“Let me interrupt you. How bad is the problem? It’s not a dead raccoon is it?”
“No, no it is not an animal. You have a leak, a really, really, really bad leak. You have black mold under your floors, under your bookshelf and in the entire crawl space, air ducts, insulation, studs, everything. It’s pretty bad. When can you get home?”

Um, not soon enough? About forty minutes later I walked into the house.  It was so bad that both the handyman and bossman had waited for me.

“Well, we think it could be a crack in the foundation or maybe the heater under the bookshelf.”

“Hmmm. So about two months ago I noticed that the heater was making a lot of noise. I figured I was just super irritable that day and laughed it off. A few days later I thought it smelled funny; that the family room smelled like a steam shower. Again, I laughed it off. I can’t help but think the heater is the problem.”

My gut knew it was the problem. I had been telling myself for two months to look into it. But I kept saying “it wasn’t important” and “I’ll get to it when I get to it” and “I’m too busy.” The truth? I never prioritized it.

The men grabbed tools and started ripping out the bookcase. Well all be. Guess what? The heater? Oh yes, it had been leaking for ages. AGES. There was water everywhere. In fact, it was so bad that the iron pipe had turned green. And it get this. It was STILL spraying water.

It is three months later and I am still fixing the problem and still dealing with insurance.

I learned that day, and have remembered every day since that ignoring a small problem can often grow into a large problem and explode in your face, literally.

I learned this same lesson when the marriage boulder crashed in my path. We had acknowledged the small rocks for a while but rationalized that we would get to them, some day. And then bam, well, you know how that story goes (read here)

I learned this same lesson when my oldest was three ish and I started to yell a little more and a little more. I kept saying “oh, it’s just the sleep deprivation, you’ll chill out soon.” And then ahhhhhh, well, my yelling had become a huge problem and here I am, The Orange Rhino, a mom who wants to parent with warmth and determination, without all the yelling.

It is hard to take care of the small problems. They are so, well, small. At the time they don’t seem like they need attention, like they don’t warrant it. And let’s be real. I barely have time to tackle big problems, let alone medium ones and shoot, never small ones. But oh, oh has that come to bite me in the arse one too many times. Sure, there are ones that you ignore and it works out, but more often than not, at least for me, if it is a problem, it doesn’t just disappear.

I re-learned this lesson again today. UGH. The day the plumber came to fix the big, black mold he noticed a piece on the boiler needed updating.

“Is it mandatory I asked? Can I wait a while, until I fix this other big headache of a problem?”

“Sure, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You never know when it will go.”

It’s been on my list to do since February 6th.

Guess what piece broke today? Guess who found a basement filled with rotten water and a soaking went basement rug. Yup, that’s right me. Guess who honest to gosh almost lost it in the ugliest way ever? Yup, me. Because the kids were being bad? No, because I was just done.

Because I have lots of small “to-do’s” that I am ignoring and as a result, my ability to stay chill is pretty much nonexistent and is turning into a big, almost explosive problem. Today, it all boiled up and exploded internally. Did I yell? No. But I feel grouchy beyond words. I feel more impatient that ever. I feel full of yucky rage inside. I kept it contained today, but barely and again, not so prettily. I apologized to everyone for mommy’s uber crankiness and promised to do better tomorrow. That was the least I can do, but hey, I think that counts for a lot.

Now I need to forgive myself. And that will be the hardest part. Because right now I am sitting here thinking “Darnit, Orange Rhino. You KNOW better. You know that if you don’t get sleep, exercise, and eat healthy that you eventually get to a breaking point and it ain’t pretty.” I saw today coming. I felt it yesterday when my eyelids were literally half closed from 1 o’clock onwards and I felt like a zombie. I felt it this morning when my hands started sweating and my heart started beating faster when the boys were a little louder than I could handle. I felt it at 1 o’clock today when I rushed through nap time books because I just wanted alone time.

Yes, I felt the breaking point coming and I didn’t try to stop it.

The last month I have been pushing myself too hard. I have written about taking care of me but again, I have failed to do so. It is evident in my smile, or lack there of. It is evident in my tone. It is evident in the increasing guilt of not being happy with how cranky I am. And for this, because I know that I want to be doing better, I feel crappy and disappointed in myself.

I am okay with pushing myself. With telling myself that “I can do it” and “just one more day of craziness, then I will rest.” But only until a point. Because eventually, it becomes too much. Just like the pipe that leaked and leaked until it wreaked havoc, I know that left uncared for, my little stress, my ignoring the little things I need to get the stress at bay, will grow and grow until it wreaks havoc. Unfortunately for my boys, the wreaked havoc is usually in their direction.

I write this post tonight to remind myself to take care of me.

I write this post tonight to remind myself to acknowledge my warning signs that it is time for a break.

I write this post tonight to remind myself to find grace, to forgive myself for the rough day, to acknowledge that I hey at least, I did take a break at 1 (even if I should have taken it yesterday) and that hey, I am only human. I am doing my best. And that matters a lot.

Let it go Orange Rhino, let go. And for goodness sake, go take a hot bath, ignore your work, and get to bed!!

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15 thoughts on “And It (she?) Finally Broke.

  1. Oh Orange Rhino, I don’t know how I found you, but I am oh-so-very-glad that I did. You have arrived at the perfect time. Welcome.

  2. Being mad at yourself is the worst. The worst. I have been caught in the trap of procrastination as well and it is very difficult. You sound just completely overwhelmed right now and I hurt for you. If we were closer I would give you a hug and help you mop. Wishing you a better day tomorrow.

  3. I first came across this blog by a friend and I have been reading along and enjoying it. This post today hit home in more ways then one, I am not a huge yeller but I do and having been really trying not to but today i lost it at my daughter over something so stupid to the point I made her cry because I got so mad. I never felt more like the worst mom ever because I knew how I reacted solved nothing and made no feel better. So thank you for this post, for making me realize I have been letting those little things go and it finally blew up in my face.

  4. We are SO similar that it’s eerie! I also have 4 boys – only slightly older than yours! And I also yell and “lose it” more than I want to admit. Thank you for being so transparent! And thank you for blogging your journey! This change that I need to have happen, CAN be done! Thank you for that!

  5. “I write this post tonight to remind myself to take care of me. I write this post tonight to remind myself to acknowledge my warning signs that it is time for a break.” I feel for you. Sunday I broke. I literally fell to pieces in front of my daughter & her friend. Sobbing, I answered the phone to hear a friend on the other end ask if I was ok. Usually I say “yeah, just a little rough today” but today I was honest. I WASN’T OK. I needed a break & I needed it now. She took the girls & I sat down with a book. To be honest, I don’t think I read. By the time my husband got home from work, I was calmer. I had realized that the root of my frustration & anger was not my daughter but something that is a little “bent” between us. It’s not unfixable but it does need US to work on it. We talked for hours & I realized that a little “me time” can go a long way. I’m proud to say that although I failed 4 hours into my 1st day of the challenge on Sunday, today I’m ONE DAY STRONG. It feels wonderful & I can’t thank you enough for having the courage to put it all out there, the good, bad & ugly to help the rest of us know that WE ARE NOT ALONE in this wonderfully scary thing called parenting. God bless you.

  6. Orange Rhino, Go take your bath and add some bubbles for good measure. Bubble beards are highly relaxing. I am so glad I found you and although I fail the challenge on a regular basis, I know I yell less and play more. I hope Your most recent explosions clear up soon. Here is to assessing and repairing the small stuff before the job is too big to handle. 🙂
    You are an amazing person and everyone on here and in your life can see that. Do for yourself what you do for others everyday. 😀

  7. First, thank you. I stumbled here through a friend and am so glad I did. You are inspiring. Second, make another challenge to take care of yourself, everyday. Not the just days you’re feeling bad, but everyday. What does that look like? Start with one small thing you do for yourself. I suggest five minutes of meditation either first thing in the morning or the last thing you do before you go to sleep. Or simply warm some oil and massage your feet before you go to bed. What ever you do, take five minutes when it is quiet and you will be uninterrupted. I know that can be hard, I have three kids of my own. Set a timer and breathe. I have found (because I have had to learn to take care of myself too) that when I take care of myself everyday, it’s easier for me to take care of others.

  8. Reading your posts are so helpful Orange Rhino. It reminds that I’m not the only one who has problems, who procrastinates, who feels discouraged, who handles things in a manner I don’t really want to sometimes, etc.

    Can someone please tell me the etiquette of this blog? I don’t know the etiquette of blogging in general. If I have a story of parenting woes to share, should I do it in response to someone else’s story, or in a separate post? I have a pretty long account of what happened with my son Saturday, but don’t know where to share it. The last time I shared some stuff, I didn’t get any replies (or at least I don’t think I did). I thought maybe I was so “off the wall,” that even on here, no one wanted to respond to me. lol

  9. Great post today as always. I totally feel the same way about letting stuff go and go and go. Also, about “it’s not you, it’s me”. Most times I am yelling because I am tired, stressed from work or something like that not really my poor kids. I totally appreciate your thoughts being so transparent and like my own and being such a support. This year has been so rough and never have I felt like I wanted to be a mom until sometimes now. I know I would never give up or leave, but sometimes I just want to run away from it all. I always thought it would get better as they got older, but sometimes it is only worse. I appreciate all you do and say. Hang in there. Take a break and don’t feel guilty if you do. I ready a lot mostly just because that is the only way I can disconnect my brain from the world and step into another world even if for a few minutes. Don’t worry about tomorrow because there is enough for today! Thanks also for the baby steps blog. It was such a great way of looking at it.

  10. I loved this, Orange Rhino!! I shared it on my Facebook blog page for Two Cannoli. (www.facebook.com/twocannoli) So true. If you don’t take care of the little things, they add up quickly.

  11. You realness is healing, comforting, and empowering. You are not alone. And thanks to you, I am not alone. We all struggle. But we all try to do better. Today is a new day, let us begin again. Thank you for sharing your heart so courageously.

  12. I am reading your post, crying, and miserable because I am letting the world sit on my shoulders day in and day out. My kids were extra noisy today, climbing all over me, the couch, the dining room table, and all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch, put earplugs in, and read. The dishes are piled up, popcorn is all over the floor, dinner from last night is stuck to the dining room floor and all my 2 year old is doing is whining and crying about EVERYTHING.

    I am about to explode. How do I go a week with keeping myself together and then BAM! I’m loosing my cool and yelling at my babe.

    I’m sorry for all the things piling up on your plate, I’m sorry for all your black mold, and all the rocks and boulders in your life! I’m NOT sorry for finding you and reading your words and finding encouragement on these types of days. Thanks for being true and honest even on some of your worst days. It gives me hope I can pull myself out of this wreck.

  13. i just wrote a long post and it got rejected. the jist of it was:
    1. you are awesome
    2. thanks for tor
    3. self care–it’s where it’s at and it feels like part of my calling to help others to find ways to do it
    4. my own oxygen mask is barely hanging on
    5. 4 is thanks to you and all the tors.
    so thanks!

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