The past two months have been more exhausting than I thought they would be. Patrick has been gone on field work, and I"ve been working to stay on top of Nora's program.
This week it started hitting me-the mental exhaustion....and I found myself getting shorter and grumpier with the kids than normal. Patrick is due home in 3 days, so close yet feels far away.
This morning we got up early, 6:45ish. The kids asked if I would make pancakes, which I agreed to.
Stuey helped me and I was enjoying the time with him. After I ate my pancakes, and the kids had theirs, I went and got ready for work. As I was getting ready, there was intermittent small arguments between the kids that I played referee to.
Then the kids asked if I would help brush their teeth; one asked for me to get their clothes. I looked at the clock and it was 8:00 and I hadn't had a moment to sit down and even drink the coffee that was warm in the carafe. Thats when things started going downhill...
I chugged my coffee (standing up), got the final things into bags for morning camp for the kids and out the door we went. By that point, I wasn't happy. I resented that I hadn't had a chance to sit down to enjoy my coffee...primarily because I was helping brush teeth, get clothes; all things that THEY should be doing. I felt like a servant this morning.
On the way to camp, I told them how bummed I was that they asked me for help for the small morning taskes. Frankly, I was bummed at myself for ever helping them get their clothes, brush teeth because then it sets a standard that mom and dad can always do that. I told them that there would be no more me getting them water, brushing teeth, getting their clothes, etc. Too exhausting. It makes me feel like a chicken with its head cut off!
The icing on the cake was trying to do Nora's program with her this afternoon. So many times she said, "mom, this is hard. I can't do this. I"ll never pass this level". And then once I caught her writing on a sticky note "I'm not good at this", which really bummed me out. I told her, "Nora, don't write words like that. If you tell your brain things like that, then your brain believes you." I emphasized to her that our brains (and muscles) only grow when they are challenged to push harder, out of what is easy.
I told her that when I teach fitness classes, they are NOT easy and its sometimes not fun to push beyond what is easy. She kind of understands that; I can tell.
This afternoon, I was done playing cheerleader. Just fried. If this mornings craziness episode hadn't happened, perhaps my tolerance for the afternoon program would've been better.
(I wanted to quit the program. Todays session AND altogether. Its crossed my mind several times this past week. Fortunately today I got an e-mail from Nora's teacher letting me know that we'll be done in mid September. Perfect-I can do it. I needed to hear that there was an END date to it all, and that it would be shortly after the start of school. Her teacher is beyond positive, encouraging and supportive, which really helps me power through.)
Nora insisted and wanted to finish her program today. I had already turned the lights off, locked up my office. Nora stayed on the floor in the fitness room, going through the motions of one of the exercises she knew was on the program for today. Yes, it was touching that she was so committed, but I was emotionally fried. Very ready to have my husband home after so long in the field.
So with Nora's incredible insistence, we finished her program today. She didn't do any eye rolling or any more saying that it was too hard. She powered through. We walked down the hill home. She picked me some orange hawkweed flowers (a local invasive species...orange flowers) and said, "here mom. These are for you." It was so thoughtful of her.
As we walked I told her more about how hard it is to learn new things and do new things. But that is when we grow. When we do things that aren't easy. I'm glad for us to have a chance for these conversations at least.
As we turned up Cliffside road, Nora said, "Mom, I think walking and talking made us both feel better." She was right. I smiled and told her I agreed. My walls of disappointment/anger/etc... came tumbling down some. And I knew we would get through it.
This evening my friend Julie called and I started crying. Felt badly because I haven't talked to her in months and I completely unloaded about trying to stay on top of it all, etc. She is a doctor and has kids and understands the complexities of making personal time, family time, work, etc. It felt really good to just let it all come out and express how hard its been.
So, no, these aren't the most upbeat posts. But they are the reality of family life, parenting, etc. I think the reflection and honesty is so important. Its when growth happens. And frankly, they're the most interesting ones for me to read later on. The REAL descriptions of life. Sure the posts where everything is A-ok are fine, but the ones where times are harder are just as much a part of life...and tend to be quite humorous later. Its always good to be able to look back and laugh! And realize how far you've come....