I think my stress level would be a lot lower in the mornings if I would just accept that the entire breakfast event will last around two hours. This is mainly because my 2yo, Mark, doesn’t want to eat much when he first gets up, but then about an hour into his day he wants to eat, but only CERTAIN things. So then I’m racing around, trying to get various things done (like phone calls, housework, and so on) while also preparing food for him and putting it in front of him, hoping against hope that he doesn’t decide to throw it across the room.
Feeling a little SAHM Burnout October 26, 2010
Well, it’s been an interesting week or two around here. Over the weekend, my husband’s father and step-mother visited. It was low-stress and enjoyable for everyone, I think. They decided to visit the weekend after Mark’s second birthday party in order to enjoy a slower pace, and I’m glad things worked out that way.
On a personal level, I have been doing a good job of getting to the gym regularly, but eating well has been another story. It’s the same old struggle where I default to using junk food as a way to de-stress and avoid dealing with things that I don’t want to deal with, which lately seems like just about everything. I wonder if the change of seasons is messing with my mood and energy level. I hate to sound negative, but today is another day where I can hardly bear to clean the kitchen yet one more time, struggle to get my 2-year-old dressed yet one more time, and so on.
On a positive note, Mark has started sleeping later, so we don’t hear from him until between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. It is so, so, so nice to not deal with fatigue day after day, like I did when he was getting up between 4:30-5:30 every morning.
All in all, it is good to know that I’m not the only SAHM who feels burnt out sometimes, or even a lot of the time. It’s a tough job!
Getting to know myself. I am who I am! October 22, 2010
It’s 7 o’clock on a Thursday evening, and I am at a coffee shop nibbling on treats, messing around on my laptop, and generally enjoying myself. This seems like something of a miracle to me, for several reasons.
First, the kids are not in bed yet, but I am not at home and not wrestling small children through their evening routine. That alone is reason to celebrate, because while I love my children with all of my heart, I need just about every break I can get.
Also, tonight I was originally going to go “out” with some girlfriends for our monthly Ladies Night. Sounds great, right? Well, it is great in its way, but I am not super close with these gals (used to be pretty close with one of them, but that’s a different story) and I am not a drinker at all. Many (all?) of these gals are drinkers, and I am tired of trying to fit in with them.
A few weeks ago, these gals had a big night out planned, and with the encouragement of Hubby, I accompanied them. To make a long story short, I did enjoy some aspects of that evening, but in the end I felt more depressed and left out afterwards than I had felt in a long time. It turns out that there was a key text message that I didn’t receive until much too late; if I had gotten this message in a timely manner, the evening might have turned out in some way that did not involve me crying on the drive home.
But looking back, I believe everything happened for a reason. Hubby and I had some very good conversations about some very important topics, key among them: Wifey being who Wifey is, and not feeling obligated to fit in with others, and (this is crucial) Hubby not pressuring Wifey to fit in.
It was really important to me that Hubby admitted that he had been pressuring me, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly, to go with the crowd for certain things.
Also, I shared with him (and he understood and accepted) that a “night out” for me to get rejuvenated might not look the way he or someone else would expect it to look. I am introverted, so for me to recharge, I need to spend time alone or possibly with one or two close friends. That’s not to say that I can’t or won’t go out with the drinkers now and then (sipping my one beer for the evening), but from now on I will be more assertive about planning “Me time” that I really want to do.
And that leads me to this coffee shop on a Thursday evening. I love it! Especially since I enjoyed a few hours with a friend today while our children played together (such a beautiful thing). It’s hard to imagine a better day.
Down in the dumps and off-track lately October 19, 2010
The last 1-2 weeks have been unusually busy (out-of-town doctor appointment; MIL visiting; son Mark’s birthday party) and I have been way off-track with eating, exercising, and housekeeping.
In general, I’ve been feeling more like taking a break (giving myself a vacation?) than dealing with real life. And while it is important to take breaks, I also find that if I spend too much time off duty, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle where the house gets messier and messier, and I feel less and less like dealing with it. The cupboards get more and more bare, and I feel discouraged about meal-planning, so I put off going to the grocery store. Etc. etc.
On the GTD end of things, I have been letting “stuff” accumulate in my inboxes, while also ignorning my whiteboard and GTD coordinator (where my lists live). As a result, I dread the process of catching up, and I put off the processing of everything. Another self-perpetuating cycle.
Eating right and exercising also become part of a negative cycle. And with all kinds of candy and sweets in the house … yikes.
So yes, I have been way off track and down in the dumps lately. Today I am making a very good effort to stop these negative cycles and get back on the right track, while also keeping in mind the need to take breaks and take care of myself.
Quick update – MIL Visit, Son “holding and wetting” October 12, 2010
I say “friends” because I feel a certain kinship with you, my readers. So many people come here looking for information about “SAHM Burnout,” “SAHM Depression,” and so on. I really empathize with your struggles, every single one of you. Being a mom brings with it some very tough days, weeks, months, even years! I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I want you to know that you are not alone, and if you are tired of feeling like the “only one” who’s not sailing through this mom/SAHM thing, then you’ve come to the right place.
This week we are approaching my younger son Mark’s second birthday. This is an exciting and happy time for me, and I’m looking forward to having friends and family over for birthday cake on Saturday. However, this is also a stressful time because my MIL, who moved halfway across the country a few months ago, is coming to visit [NOT stay with us].
The last few years of our relationship with her have been volatile and full of change. To make a long story short, over the last 1-2 years, Hubby and I decided that despite all of MIL’s wonderful qualities, we needed to create some more boundaries between her and our family. (We have gotten help from a family therapist in navigating this trickiness, thank God.) MIL interpreted our actions and decisions as hurtful and as “pushing her away,” and she decided to move to a different state.
She told Hubby that her reason for the move was – me! Yours truly. I guess this Honest Mommy was a little too honest for MIL’s liking.
Over the last year, MIL has done some quite hurtful and passive-aggressive things, such as sending a change-of-address card to every member of our family except me. Such as neglecting to send a card for our 10-year wedding anniversary, though she did wish Hubby a happy anniversary on the phone. So classy.
I don’t think I feel too hurt by these sorts of things, BUT…. now that MIL is coming to town for a visit, I feel a little lost about how to interact with her. She will probably see the children’s artwork collecting on our walls and wonder why we (I) haven’t sent her more pieces for her artwork frame that we got her a few Christmases ago. But, why would I bother to do that sort of thing for her very often, when she so clearly dislikes me?
In any case, I have been doing a few things to prepare the house for her eyes. I took down some quotes that I had posted above the kitchen sink; it feels too personal to let her see those. I tucked away my journal so no one is likely to just “come across it.” I edited our framed photos to prevent her from gaining ammunition about how we favor certain parts of the family. And so on.
After she moved away a few months ago, it was a relief to me to let my home be as I wished it to be. I am thankful that I need to MIL-proof my home only a few times per year now. It’s not that she is snoopy (that I know of), but it’s that there are certain expressions of who I am that I do not feel comfortable sharing with her.
Another interesting issue will be the disciplinary process which we are taking Jakob through right now. We have a system where, if he wets his pants at home, preschool, church, etc., then he loses most of his privileges until he keeps himself dry for ten days in a row. The wetting is due to his reluctance (or whatever) to use the toilet when he would rather “hold it,” and we believe that he is very aware of what he is doing and what the result will be.
(For a while, he would secretly [so he thought] “hold it” while he was at home, to the point of wetting himself before he finally darted to the bathroom, then later he would hide his wet underwear under his dresser and put on clean underwear. This kid is smart, and getting more sneaky by the day. I just can’t accept that a kid who can pull of this kind of plan doesn’t “get” that he needs to go potty.)
So anyway, John Rosemond calls this approach “kicking out of the Garden of Eden” and it is designed to a get a child’s attention by removing many of the things that a child enjoys on a daily basis. We remove pretty much everything of interest from Adam’s bedroom so he is left with furniture, bedding, and so on; anything that’s left he is not allowed to play with (for example, the board games that are high up on shelves).
Adam attends preschool, church, errands, and some other necessary activities. He eats meals and snacks with the family. And obviously, he bathes and uses the toilet as usual. Other than that, he is expected to stay in his room and, while he’s there, to conduct himself in a manner that is not overly disruptive to the rest of the family. All the while, whether at home or away, he is expected to take responsibility for going to the toilet in a timely fashion, and we check periodically to make sure he is dry.
At the end of each day, if he has stayed dry, he puts a smiley face on the calendar. Ten smiley faces in a row earns him his privileges back. If he has eight dry days and then slips up, the ten days start over again.
Hubby and I *hate* that we have to do this, but darling Adam is so stubborn and has wet himself so many times (for no good reason) that we see no other options. At this time, we are willing to go through the inconvenience and heartache of kicking Adam “out of the garden” with the hope that he will learn valuable lessons about personal responsibility.
We see this issue not as a potty training issue or even a toileting issue, but rather as an issue of stubbornness and defiance. We have even done a hands-on demonstration using water, cups,bowls, and so on, to try to help him understand that his bladder can only hold so much and that it’s always getting filled up, little by little, by his body, therefore “waiting too long” can only have one result — wet underwear.
So anyway, when MIL comes to our house, she is going to see that Adam’s room is pretty bare, and she will figure out what is going on, either by asking or figuring it out on her own (she is aware that we have used this disciplinary technique). And I am pretty sure that she will flip out, even if she tries to hide that fact. One time, she told Hubby that she thought that Child Services would be “interested” to hear about some of the things we do. Really!
It goes without saying that Hubby and I completely disagree, but that doesn’t change her opinion on the matter. She also has a hard time seeing all aspects of Adam’s personality. Everything that’s wonderful is, well, wonderful, and everything else either doesn’t exist (in her eyes) or has a good excuse behind it, or is simply Mom and Dad’s fault. As a result, I doubt she would ever truly grasp the situation with Adam’s “holding and wetting,” and she certainly wouldn’t understand why we kick Adam out of the garden.
This week looks like it will be interesting. I will keep you updated!
Just another manic Monday October 4, 2010
This morning was my morning to get up with the kids. Mark (23 months) woke up for the day at 5:05 a.m. and was not a happy camper, in part due to his cold, which is currently somewhere between “awful” and “not too bad.” I fetched him and came downstairs, stopping at the fridge to get his sippy cup of milk on the way to the basement.
In the basement we have a play room of sorts, and I like to keep Mark down there in the early morning so that Adam, whose room is on the main floor, is less likely to get woken up. When winter arrives, it will be cold as all get out in our basement, but this time of year it is just fine, and I’d like to enjoy it while we can.
This morning, though, Mark did *not* want to go to the basement, and he very loudly told me so. *Sigh* what could I do? In those early morning hours, Mark pretty well holds Hubby and me hostage because the number one priority is to Keep Things Quiet so Adam Can Sleep.
We stayed in the kitchen, and Mark was fairly quiet and content. Such a blessing and a relief; there are mornings, especially when he’s not feeling well, when he fusses constantly for the first 15 minutes of the day, and then off and on (mostly on) after that. It is very stressful and exhausting to deal with his fussiness at that hour, especially since it’s not practical to let him stew in his own juices.
By 6 a.m. Adam had gotten up as well, and I was feeling frustrated and sad that I was so tired, and yet the day had barely begun. The truth is that it really wears on me to be on the job for two hours before Hubby even gets up (around 7 a.m.) to go to work. (At this point I need to make it clear that Hubby and I take turns getting up with the kids, so it’s not as if I go through this every morning.)
I look around, and all I see are dirty dishes, dog hair, dirt, laundry, clutter …. you get the idea. I look ahead at the day and know that Hubby won’t be up for awhile yet, and after he gets up, showers, and leaves for work, it’s me and the kids all day long. It is difficult to not let that get me down sometimes! There is so much to be thankful for, definitely, but at the same time, this SAHM gig challenges me in ways that I never saw coming.
Hubby and I are now each owners of the Kindle 3. They arrived last week, and I was pretty excited to get mine out of the box and into my hot little hands.
When Hubby started talking about the Kindle 3 a few months ago, initially I wasn’t all that interested. I shared with him that when I read a book, usually it is nonfiction and usually it is a book that I own, therefore I do a lot of underlining and some amount of notes in the margins. Then he told me that the Kindle allows you to highlight text and then those portions of text can be “shared” (using things like Twitter) or otherwise stored as one or another kind of text file. Kindle books also allow you to add notes “in the margin,” as it were, using the built-in QWERTY keyboard.
This definitely got my attention. I imagined that the text of my books would no longer be “trapped” inside the book covers, but could be transferred to just about anything, such as an electronic journal (Google docs or otherwise) where I could keep my favorite excerpts, journal about them, and so on.
Hubby also told me that if we each had a Kindle and put the Kindles on the same Amazon account, then any book we purchased could be read on either or both Kindles. This got my attention as well, because if we decided to read a book together, there would be no issue of whether to buy one or two copies of a book.
Another “score one for the Kindle” moment came after Hubby had decided that he definitely would save up and buy one. We ended up going through dozens, maybe even a hundred or more, books, and getting rid of at least half of them. In the process, he made lists of books he definitely wanted to purchase for the Kindle in the future, books he may want to Kindle-ize, and so on. Since I have a keen interest in decluttering, due in part to our small-ish home, this also got my attention!
The fact is that Hubby and I both love books, but it is not always practical to hold on to the books we love, books we haven’t read yet but intend to…. you get the idea.
I started doing a bit of my own research and found that the Kindle, while not perfect, is considered by many to be the top e-reader on the market.
And so, I decided that I, too, would save up for a Kindle. My life as a SAHM can be pretty dull sometimes, and I imagined that having a nifty little device that is full of books, and that can access the Internet (Wi-Fi and/or 3G if you spring for the $189 version), would be a very good thing for me. So far, it has been. More on that in a future post!