On January 8th I narrowly avoided a total nervous breakdown.
I had been gradually tiptoeing my way to one for over a year.
What finally caused me to snap was a little thing.
It was one of the kids walking upstairs with sneakers on.
That is one of my rules.
And I really don’t have that many of them.
But when you come inside, take your shoes off.
It’s not that much to ask.
It’s impossible to keep this house clean as it is.
I don’t need everyone adding to the mess when they can simply walk in the door and take of their shoes.
So I saw the sneakers going up the stairs, and I lost it.
Mostly on my husband.
Who basically was like,
Um… so he walked upstairs with sneakers on… I think you are overreacting.
When you have seven kids to take care of, when you are completely sleep deprived and exhausted, when you’ve had major financial difficulties going on two years now, when you have figured out a way to actually make some money but you just can’t get to it because there’s not enough time in the day, when your two and three-year-old are constantly on a mission to destroy the house, when you are saying the same thing about the fucking sneakers to your kids over and over again and you are being completely ignored,
it can be that proverbial straw.
Which broke my back on January 7th.
So anyway, since then, I have prioritized.
Getting some sleep has been Number 1.
And then, I’ve asked for my husband to help out more on the weekends.
And don’t get me wrong. It’s not that he hasn’t helped in the past…
When you are a teacher, and you take a personal day, there is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into having that day off.
Making sure that everything is set.
Making sure you have covered all possible problems and questions.
Even with all that preparation though, the day after your personal day totally sucks.
There is a mountain of stuff on your desk to wade through.
It takes a day or two to play catch up.
And you wonder if it was worth it to take the day off in the first place.
And that has been one of my frustrations at home.
If you are gone from the house or you relieve yourself of your regular mom duties for most of the day, yes, you catch a little break.
But you come home to a total disaster.
And so you spend the next day making up for not being there.
Which pretty much makes it not worth being gone.
So this weekend, my husband was on kid duty pretty much the whole time.
Without any help.
He was home all day, and it was really cold out, so he was cooped up inside all day with the kids.
He was great about handling everything.
That morning, after I made it crystal clear that coming home to a total disaster was not going to really ease my burden that much, I headed to the Y.
I was there for a few hours.
When I came home, the kitchen was nice and clean.
I made myself some lunch.
The dishwasher was pretty full, so I threw a few more things into it and turned it on.
As I was doing that, my husband walked into the kitchen.
That’s the third time that’s been done today, he said to me.
He needed me to know how hard he had been working.
Ahhh. I thought to myself. Now he’s really getting it.
After I ate some lunch, I asked my husband what he wanted to do that afternoon.
I asked him if he wanted to have the next four hours to do whatever he wanted.
He said no. He said that he’s put the kids in for their naps. That I could have the time to work on my book. That he would get what he needed to get done while the little guys were sleeping.
I didn’t argue.
I went upstairs and worked on my book.
When I had finished what I wanted to get done, I went downstairs and took a nap.
I slept for about an hour.
I was woken up by the kids bursting into the room and jumping on the bed, all of them wearing goggles.
It was about 4:30.
I went into the kitchen to start making dinner.
And that’s when my husband walked into the kitchen again.
And he looked at me and said,
We need to get you some help.
He got it.
He’s understood how hard it is in the past. Mostly.
Now he really, really got it.
Staying home all day with all the kids and trying to get anything else done is virtually impossible.
Yes, the kids are a lot to handle.
But the kids, in combination with the maintenance of all the other stuff is the killer.
The frustration of not being able to get to the things you want, or need to do, is what drives can drive a mom to the edge.
And that’s when something as seemingly little as a pair of sneakers can be enough to just send her plunging right down to the bottom.
But now we’ve all totally seen the light.
And it’s time for me to find my Alice.
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Love Love love this!!! I love it when the men in our lives finally realize how difficult it is being a mom. Whether a mother of 1 or 7. Perfect!!
I have been trying to say this for a while now! It is hard to justify being gone when you have to play catch up when you return! ugh!! I have been trying to get some “extra” stuff done and what do you let go of to get the other stuff done?? I am so frustrated! Thanks for your posts, they truly make me feel that I am not alone.
sandy peters says
We have 8 kids at home still (eleven total–only 4 biological) and my only savior is having a housecleaner come once a week ($80). It’s a huge luxury, since I’m a stay at home mom, that I keep trying to cut from the budget, but every time I fire my housecleaner I beg her to come back a few months later. My once a week clean house keeps me sane.
Hooray! I hope this gives you not only the extra time you need for your creativity, but the energy it takes to be enthusiastic about motherhood, writing, and the bajillion other things you have to manage.
I wanted to tell you I referred a friend to your blog. She asked me about blogging through difficult times, what it’s like to pour out your soul to complete strangers, whether it leaves you vulnerable, and how to cope. I haven’t been through many of the struggles she has. Neither have you, but with everything you’ve been going through this past month or more, and sharing with such grace, I thought it would be helpful for her to see, and provide inspiration for what can be a very therapeutic activity, even and especially in the face of chaos.
Thank you for giving me a resource to share with her, and for letting us all know we’re not alone.
Oh, and PS, my silicone cupcake liners came in the mail last week and I love them. My kids were not as crazy about the quinoa muffins as yours were, but they’re the perfect after-run snack for my husband and me. Yum.
I wish I could find my Alice too!! 2 jobs, 2 kids, 3 cats and a husband!! Who couldn’t use an Alice?!?!? I think mom’s have that breaking point and our husband looks at us like we are crazy. But hey…I love that you always look at life with such a great sense of humor. Thanks for helping to keep things in perspective.