Tough Right Now

Life is really tough right now.

I knew it would be, but this doesn’t make it any easier.

People ask how I am doing, and what am I supposed to say?  I tell them the truth – that it’s hard and that I am doing the best that I can – but if I truly stop and express to them just how hard and just how much I struggle, then I fear I’ll just fall apart.

I need more human contact.  My son needs more human contact.  It’s good for us.  But getting there, getting OUT, is SO. FREAKING. HARD.

Today we got up and tried to get to playgroup.  I got up around 7:45.  The playgroup started at 10:30.  By 11:45 I was still feeding my youngest a bottle.  I texted to cancel.  We ended up taking a walk, by ourselves, in the freezing cold because it was the easiest and quickest way to get outside.  Yes, it was better than nothing, but man, it sucked.

And that’s the thing – I don’t expect perfection, but I feel like I am trying my hardest and that I’m still failing.  At some point in the day, I’m always failing SOMEbody.  Sometimes it’s me (because I can’t make social contact with friends), or the baby (because she’s screaming hungry and has to wait), or my toddler (because he’s screaming that he wants to go outside but has to wait), or my husband (because he listens to me complain and cry and fall apart).

I usually start the day off trying my best to cope, like today.  But the time ticks by and more and more gets in the way of reaching our meager goals (getting to playgroup), when it finally comes crashing down because my toddler kicks me in the jaw and I burst into tears, or my baby won’t nurse even though I know she’s hungry and I burst into tears.  These days, it’s rare to get through the day without feeling like the walls are crashing down on me.

I have glimpses of hope and reminders that life gets better.  I try and hold onto those.  But living in the moment requires breaking down, because the here and now is often unbearable.  That’s why I am always on my damn phone – if I can just check out for a minute, maybe I can regroup and reenter my life.  Or just pass the time; maybe when I lift my head, things will be different.  Better.

So I’m coping.  At least I am getting more sleep these days, but I am still choosing sleep over most other things.  I choose sleep over chores, over human interaction, over getting out of the house.  Because if I am not moderately rested, nothing else matters.  That may sound dramatic, but it’s true.  Here’s the catch, though: if I’m not a zombie physically (sleep deprived), then I’m a zombie emotionally (isolated).  It’s like I can’t win.

Not to mention that this winter, everyone and their mom is sick.  Everyone in my family was sick a month ago, including my newborn, and that was pure hell.  Less sleep and meeting with other people all mean a higher chance of getting sick again…so perhaps hunkering down is what we just need to do right now, even though I don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter at the moment.  I suppose all these circumstances just mean I super prioritize what get togethers we try and attend.

Lest I begin rambling, I will simply repeat my point in closing.

Life is really tough right now.

The Day After

My parents just left after a week-long visit and I’m sad.

The day after kind, helpful company leaves is always tough, for many reasons.  One, I’ve just lost a huge help in terms of cleaning and food prep and all the energy it takes to give attention to Dylan.  Two, Dylan gets very used to all the constant, undivided attention during the visit and he’s usually more needy and whiny than usual after they leave, and I’m left to deal with that.  Three, I’ve just lost rational, adult humans to talk to and eat with every day.  It highlights just how isolated and alone I often feel on a daily basis, despite my growing efforts to reach out and meet new people with whom I can meaningfully connect (which is a struggle and a whole other post of its own).

Plus, fourth, the leaving highlights just how far away from family we are and how much that sucks.  We’re coming up on second baby’s birthing time, and I’ve had to arrange a phone tree of sorts of local friends who can keep my son alive while we wait for family to hop on a plane and get here once I go into labor.  I suppose it’s time to find some babysitters in the area we can call and *gulp* actually pay to watch my spawn from time to time, but that’s just not the same as having grandma and grandpa just across town.

Not long after Bamma and Pa-pa left, I looked at the forecast on my phone.  Readers, fellow Psychos, you all know how much the weather affects my mood.  The last two days have been mercifully sunny and delightfully warmish for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and I did my best to enjoy them.  We got outside and went to parks, synthesized some vitamin D and some sanity.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, in a few short hours the skies are going to open up again with a series of storms with no end in sight, says my irrational sad brain.  Ah, symbolism.  You stormy bitch.

So, visits are hard.  They are fun and exciting and something to break up the often horribly mind-numbing sameness of my days…but once they are over, the sameness I return to seems to become even more mind-numbing.

 

 

Down with the Sickness

The hubs and I are sick.

And, man, it sucks.

Being sick on a regular day sucks, but it sucks harder when you’re a parent.  And even harder when both parents are sick at the same time.  It’s the suckiest.

Both of us have been coughing and sneezing and hacking and gagging that my toddler thinks this is a new game.  Even though he’s still healthy (I have no idea how he hasn’t gotten our viral plague as of yet), he’s started fake coughing because he thinks it’s now the cool thing to do.  If this goes on much longer, we’ll have given our son some sort of complex.

We’ve been cooped up for several days now, and I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out.  Our produce is almost gone, we’ve dipped into my NyQuil reserves (this is not a joke), and we might be sick of each other.

As a SAHM and an introvert who is prone to self-isolation, the social commitments I make for my son and I each week are crucial to my sanity, and when one of us is sick, we can’t go talk to the other humans.  And that makes mommy something-something.  So the only silver lining is that, this week, my husband is home sick too.  WOO!  PLAGUE PARTY!!  We can sneeze the Overture of 1812 better than Ferris Bueller’s keyboard.  Seriously, it has been nice to have him home with us, because at least I don’t have to sick-parent a well-kid all by me onesie.

However, this situation has also given way to arguments over who is sicker, and thus who gets a free pass from parenting the not-sick, full-energy child.  My partner may or may not have said that he’s so sick that he’s not at work and deserves a break.  And I may or may not have said that I AM STILL AT WORK EVEN THOUGH I AM SICK AND I DESERVE TO POOP ALONE.  And then we agreed to disagree after the argument devolved into a mutual coughing fit.

In related illness news: I discovered that I can now hit Adele’s sexy, sexy low notes. I’d better get this down in the studio before my immune system decides to wake the fuck up.  Also, after visually confirming that my voice wasn’t coming from a would-be creepy male kidnapper, the hubs told me that I should start a late night sexy-talk line (that’s what they’re called, right?) and use the alias Bernice in order to earn a little extra cash.  You know, for our kid’s college fund.  Or so I can buy some more NyQuil.

What My Christmas List Says About Me

This year, I had trouble coming up with things to put on my Christmas list.  This is because I have a one-year-old and I live in a new house that is largely empty, which means I either want crap for my kid that I am too cheap to buy myself, or I want big-ticket items like sofas and wall-to-wall trampolines.

So what did I end up asking for?  I can’t believe I am about to tell you.

  1. Money for a mattress

Yup, I have become that person.  The one who asks for money.  It’s just that we’re trying to save up to furnish our home and saving is hard.  And our current mattress is decidedly not.  I’m tired of waking up with a hurtee back.

What this says about me:  I’m old and cranky.

2. A dustbuster

Oh dear.  I actually cringed when I saw my fingers typing the letters that make up that word.  But…I need something smaller than my hugeass vacuum to suck up the 763728294 messes that my kid and cat and husband make everyday.  I can’t drag out my vacuum because my back hurts from our damn old mattress and I’m lazy.

What this says about me:  I have become my mother.

3. Infinity scarf with pocket

So, I saw these on The View (maybe I should stop typing right there) and I thought they looked cute and practical!

What this says about me:  I am the caricature of a SAHM.

4. An electric toothbrush

I have been meaning to get one of these for myself, because I do the Type A thing where I brush super hard and I need to not do that.  But then I looked, and these things are fucking expensive.  And Christmas is right around the corner!  On the list it goes.

(Fun fact: My family exchanged lists, and I saw that my dad had the exact same item on his list.  And then I swear I could hear my brother roll his eyes all the way in California.)

What this says about me:  I am cheap.  I have also become my father, apparently.


 

And this, my Psychos, is why alcohol flows freely during the most wonderful time of the year, to cover up the shame.

What embarrassing things do you have on your list?!

The Moral Support Brigade

My two kids kinda hate each other.

Well, the younger one ADORES the older one, and he follows her around, chases her, wants to play with her…..and she’ll have nothing to do with him.  She even hides from him.

I guess it makes more sense that my oldest is a six year old cat who was an only child for the first 5 years of her life.

She’s been careful to give Dylan a developmentally appropriate-wide birth.  For example, when he was just a poopy blob, she would venture a sniff to the head.  But now that he’s starting to WALK, ladies and gentlemen, not only will she not touch him with a ten foot pole (if she had opposable thumbs), but she displays a look of pure panic at this recent development (which I translate to: holy shitfuck!) and runs like I do when I’m running from zombies.  Which is probably a good thing, because her hanging tummy waddle could use a little slimming.  Mine could, too, now that I think about it.

My cat’s also not too bright.  To her credit, she has identified areas of the house where Dylan can’t go and she’s learned that those places are sweet, sweet havens of peace (notice I didn’t say “and quiet”).  Two such places are the staircase (where she sits and waits in an attempt to trip us, ideally making us fall to our deaths) and the downstairs bathroom.

See, we keep the cat’s poo box in the bathroom, and so we had to figure out a way to let the cat into the bathroom, but keep the boychild out.  Child gate! You say.  Yup, that’s what we thought, too.  We installed one, and it definitely kept the wee lad out.  Unfortunately, it also kept the feline out as well.  I tried to train her to jump the gate like a normal cat would, but she was uninterested and actually threatened to go poop in an undisclosed location unless the gate came down.

Long story long – I was lamenting about my son who loves to eat cat litter and my cat who can’t jump, and my dad suggested rigging up some sort of string that allowed the bathroom door to open just wide enough for my fatty catty to get through, but not wide enough for the child who ripped through my vag (my words, not my dad’s).  It was brilliant, it was cheap, and it worked.

And that’s how the bathroom became a toddler-free cat haven…until a human has to use the facilities, that is.

So twice now this week when I’ve had to use the potty, I will unlatch the bathroom door and the cat will scamper in.  I don’t know what she’s expecting…a pooping party, perhaps?  Each time I warn the cat in plain English, “You know Dylan will be in here before you know it and you’ll be cornered.  You hate that.”  And each time I waste my breath.

So in comes Dylan, because mom clearly needs moral support to do her business.

And then, in an effort to give mom some privacy from the rest of the house which is now empty (either that, or in an effort to hold us hostage for promises of extra chunks of cheese at lunch), Dylan pushes the door shut, turns toward us, and cackles manically.

This is the cat’s cue to lose her shit.

WE’RE TRAPPED!  WE CAN’T LEAVE!  WHAT DO WE DOOOO?  I’ll go this way- no this way- no, on top of the toilet- nay, behind the toilet!!!!!  AAAGGHHHHH!

Cue boychild to squeal with delight while he bears witness to the cat’s manic panic attack.

And I can’t do anything to let the cat out until my personal business transaction has been completed.

Sometimes I feel like I run a zoo.

…maybe I should start charging admission.

On my back on a park bench

I just needed a break.

I hadn’t been outside all day, so I stomped outside to our tiny sideyard and started blasting the hose watering the garden like I do most evenings.  And then I just started crying.  So I cried, finished watering, and then left.  I just left.

I took a walk not really knowing where I was going (like how I am writing this blog post).  I just needed a change of scenery.

I ended up lying flat on my back on a park bench and watched the fading light reflecting off the clouds for I don’t know how long.

Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed, it helps me to just manically tackle my to-do list so I’ll feel some sense of control and competence as soon as possible.  Other times, I just throw my hands up, say fuck it, and walk out the door.

This was obviously the latter, although it was just a short break from chores that I completed upon my return.

Since having a kid, one of my biggest struggles has been trying to accept that I will rarely get to do things that I want to do when I want to do them.  On the surface, this is easy to accept.  I have a kid and of course his needs usually come first.  Yup, no problem.  But living this every day?  It’s fucking hard.

I’m a reasonable person (don’t ask other people to corroborate this).  I am a planner.  I’ve scaled my daily goals waaaaay back.  Things like: Today I am going to do one load of laundry.  Tomorrow perhaps I will clean the kitchen.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?  Ugh.

Yesterday, I just finished (well, kind of) a project I had been working on for months.  It was a struggle to finish.  I just wanted to FUCKING GET IT DONE.  And I was pushing it to the limit – Dylan needed to go to bed, there were chores to do, there was screaming and poopy diapers and food on the floor (thank goodness it wasn’t poopy diapers on the floor)- but goddamnit, for once I wanted to accomplish something for myself.

And then in my haste to finish, I made mistakes and when it was all said and done, I didn’t even feel any satisfaction.  No pride.  No accomplishment.  Ok, well, maybe a little.  But it was such a s.t.r.u.g.g.l.e and a letdown.

And so I cried and then left.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I wonder how to change my mindset so I don’t continue this struggle that makes me and everyone around me feel like crap.  But I also want a house that feels like a home.  I want to do projects.  I want to feel accomplished.  And I have no problem doing this after I ensure that my kid, myself, my family are safe, fed, and clean.

Well, maybe just safe and fed.