124 days down, 241 to go!
Dear Vacation sans kids,
You were great. I miss you. But I missed my boys more. And I am glad to be home. Even if re-entry into Mommyland was brutal (ie, so challenging that I almost kissed 123 days bye-bye.) Who knew that 4 boys could make 3 days of feeling calm disappear so quickly?
See you soon I hope,
The Orange Rhino
I was gone from my darling four boys for 64 hours.
It took about 12 hours for me to feel relaxed, to feel like I was on vacation, to not look at my watch to see if it was someone’s nap time or if it was time to get ready for dinner.
It took a mere 5 hours of the boys being awake the morning after my late night return for all the stress and exhaustion that had seeped away to re-enter my body. At FULL force.
Welcome home mommy! Mommy I need you to wipe my butt. Mommy I need water. Mommy he touched my face. Mommy I don’t know what I want so I am going to whine. Mommy my teeth are coming in so I am going to cry. A lot. Mommy, mommy, mommy!!!
Where were the I love you’s? The I miss you’s? The hugs and kisses? Oh I got them. Big time. And that was the greatest moment EVER.
But it only lasted for minutes. Minutes I say. And than BAM. It was time to be mommy again. No more kicking my feet up having deep conversations with my hubby over a strawberry daiquiri. No more taking a two hour nap. No more sleeping in, until, get this 6:30 am. GASP. Nope. It was time to be Mommy again. I was back in Mommyland where one doesn’t just love their kids but has to also care for them, a wonderful yet hard at times, task.
Don’t get me wrong. I was THRILLED to be home. I AM thrilled to be home. Gosh, I missed my boys so much. Every time I called and spoke to them I wanted to go home to hear their laugh, to watch them make silly faces, to get their hugs. But being away was good for ALL of us. It was good for my boys and me – we never get a real break, I think this made us appreciate each other more. It was good for my husband and me – we needed some connecting time, big time. All in all it was a great escape, hard to be away, but worthwhile. I truly chilled out for the first time in oh, 24 months or so?
As I re-entered Mommyland I promised myself that I would keep my “vacation” mindset on. That I would not let the stress of parenting suck me in right away. That I would at least wait a day, hopefully more before I became a twit about clutter, things to do for the kids, things to do for me, doctors appointments to make.
Wishful thinking. 1 day? As if.
I don’t know what put me over the edge. What made my “vacation self” disappear. All I know is that one moment I was calm and next minute, Holy Sh*t!! I wanted to scream at everyone! At everything that moved. Everyone wanted me. Everyone was yelling. I was tired and to make matters “worse,” darnit, I couldn’t yell and that one piece was kicking my a*s.
And that is when I remembered how I felt when I started The Orange Rhino Challenge. OVERWHELMED. Exhausted. Infuriated. It. Is. HARD. Hard. Hard not to yell. Just being away for three days of peace and quiet made my home life feel like someonewas taking a hammer to my head. All the chaos. All the yelling. All the needs pounding me left and right. It is A LOT to take in. And not being able to yell to stop the pounding? It is blooming hard work. And so is parenting. I guess I had kind of forgotten that while I was away. And coming back to it all made me want to scream “JUST BACK OFF! Give mommy one second to breathe. PLEASE!”
But I didn’t.
Instead all day long I had silent conversations with myself.
“Don’t yell, you don’t want to yell.”
“Don’t yell, you aren’t mad at the kids, you are just tired.”
“Don’t yell, you are just stressed because of the laundry that awaits and the bag to unpack.”
“Don’t yell, it is just cookie crumbs.”
The list could go on and on. Every second, okay maybe not every second, but maybe every 10 minutes? I was telling myself another reason not to yell. Between the literal noise outside my head, and the constant racket inside my head, I was ready to explode.
I got very close. Numerous times. And when that happened I just used my new catch phrase “Mommy is very frustrated. I do not want to yell. I do not want to start again. Please help me.” I am not sure it helped changed their behavior at the moment (I was TOO tired from sleeping on the couch to notice a thing!) but I do know it kept my behavior in line. Phew.
When I zonked into bed that night, more liked passed out, I was really perturbed. How could I miss these kids so much, how can I love them so much, and then within hours of being home I want to yell at them? Didn’t I become a more loving, peaceful, and empathetic person these last 120 days plus? What happened? Did the new me just vanish after 3 days of a break? Will it come back? WTF?
Thankfully, oh so thankfully, the answer is YES. The new me did NOT disappear. All my hard work was not lost. I have changed habits (I think) and this change will not go away. I just had a challenging day. IT HAPPENS. But after a good night’s sleep in my own bed, and a mental pep talk that I knew that the first day back would be brutal, I started Sunday on a much better note. How do I know? Well when I stepped out of bed onto a huge pile of Legos that someone had left behind at 5 am? I didn’t yell.