Monday, April 26, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I owe those who read this blog an apology. I never should have made an off the cuff joke about Zoloft. I have this tendency to make jokes that are meant to lighten the situation or deflect attention form myself and sometimes they blow up in my face.

It's a defense mechanism, leftover from a childhood of making many mistakes. If I turn it into a joke and laugh at it, people might not make fun of me. This habit really bothered my father (the biggest joker of all). He could never understand why I was so negative about myself.

Most of my life I have dealt with panic attacks. They got really bad right before my father died and right after. I knew that I wasn't functioning well and that is when I went to my doctor and he suggested that I try Zoloft. It helped my body get back on track while I learned to deal with my panic. I didn't tell many people except really close friends and Rob. I didn't even tell my family. I thought that it was a character flaw or a weakness. I was wrong.

A common theme amongst so many mom bloggers seems to be this idea of needing to be perfect without ever needing help. I really want to remove this stigma. There is nothing wrong with taking medication to help with a chemical imbalance. Judging someone or feeling ashamed about it makes as much sense as apologizing for wearing glasses.

Modern mothers seem to feel this need for ultimate perfection. We keep adding more and more things to our plate without ever taking anything off. If we can't do it all, we feel we've failed. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? The main reason that I write this blog is to share the realities of my motherhood journey, warts and all. Please keep in mind so much of this is tongue in cheek or off the cuff (Lily gets punished often for being so saucy, I really rarely drink wine, my house is not in utter shambles). I just know how hard it is to admit to the realities of life face to face. Maybe it will be easier across the world wide web. I happen to also think it is easier while being a wise guy.

I love my life, every part of it. I will always be dealing with anxiety. The last few weeks were particularly brutal. I had to take a math placement test (that will get it own blog) and was under a great deal of stress. The thing is now I know when a panic attack is starting and how to deal with it. When I start getting annoyed at very small things like loud chewing or make really off the wall jokes (like the last blog), I am having a hard time. Lesson learned: Do Not Blog When Under Stress! By the way, I am also adding, do not blog when sick. How many blogs have I started "I have a cold..."

Thank you for reading and hopefully no one was offended.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere and All of It Is Pee

I did it again. I just survived another week of over scheduled hell:

Friday: Pick up Lily and her friend from school. Drop friend off at house (his mother was in the hospital for surgery) Caroline's birthday, the big twelve. Out to dinner with the family and her BFF. Car started acting up again. Rob po'd, my head pounding. Caroline spills coke in my shoes. Try not to blow my top.

Saturday: Go with girl scout troop Frederick for an underground railroad tour/workshop. Luckily, found another parent to drive in my place, so car could stay home. On way, called dealership to politely insist upon free car rental while car is being repaired on Monday. Request accepted. Come home wash laundry, clean bathrooms.

Sunday: Birthday dinner for my mom and Caroline at my Mom's house. Lurched all the way there (1 1/2 hours). Come home fold laundry, make dinner, plan lessons for week. Head pounding, unable to sleep, up until 1:00.

Monday: Wake up, wash dishes, pack lunches. Drop off car, pic up rental. Nervous about driving car that is not mine. Drove like a nervous 16 year old all the way to school. After school, called dealer ship, car will not be ready until Thursday. Pick up Lily and friend, drop off friend. Make dinner, grade papers. Unable to sleep again, up until 1:00.

Tuesday: After work, pick up Lily and friend, drop off friend. Come home to pick up Caroline and her two friends (their mom was out and I offered to let them stay with us). Check on sick Rob, left Lily with him and took the three other kids to my school to volunteer at Literacy Night. Kids and I served pizza and helped children make bookmarks from 5:30-8:00. Took the kids home. Graded papers. Went up to bed, checked on Lily. She was in our bed, her light was on. Went to turn off light, saw dog had peed on the floor. Curse myself for ignoring the dog, scrub floor. Collapse in bed, fall into deep blissful sleep. Awake at 5:00 to hear Rob ask Lily if she wet the bed. Sheets soaked, mattress soaked, Rob soaked, Lily soaked, Me? soaked and pissed. Luckily, had stuff to clean upstairs from carpet. Change and wash sheet and nightclothes, clean mattress, cover with towels. Unable to return to lovely sleep.

Wednesday: Wake up, wash dishes, dry sheets, pack lunches.... After school rush to preschool to get Lily, rush home to get Caroline. Take her to Girl Scout Service Unit to present her flyer for her service award. Go home, try to grade papers, fall asleep in chair, go up to bed, take towels off bed, Lysol bed, put on new sheets. Blissful, dry sleep.

Thursday: Wake up, wash dishes, pack lunch..... After school dealership calls, car ready. Pick car up, car still lurches, my stomach lurches, Stuck in horrible traffic, miss Caroline's drum lessons. Try not to cry. Rob calls, offers to take over with Lily on Sat so I can go to yoga. Offer accepted. Check info from dealership re: car. Car needs time to adjust to new part. I need patience. Grade paers, up too late.

Friday: Wake up, wash dishes, pack lunches.... Allergies stink, head hurts. Stay late at school to clean room and gather materials for plans. Arrive home, collapse in chair. Wonderful husband orders Chinese food. Spend evening arguing with Caroline about what she should wear to volunteer at band event. Jeans and tee loose, khaki's win. Don't think this is the lasy of this argument.

Saturday: Take Caroline to all day band event at 8:00, pick up at 4:00. Go to Target, get birthday present for Lily's friend. Take Lily to swimming, leave swimming to go to yoga:) while Rob takes her to a party. Go home, clean house. Rob and lily home, go to grocery store (milk's been gone since Thursday am).

Sunday: Go with scouts (on a bus) to a river clean up.

Holy canolli, no wonder I am tired. Of course, I have ended this week exhausted and with the overwhelming feeling that I am doing lots of things, but none of them right.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break Part 3: Now Where Did I leave My Hipwaders?

I spent the drive home pretty annoyed about having to spend my last day of break in the car shop, but really had no choice. I woke up early the next morning and took the car in. Luckily, the dealership has a shuttle service, so I was able to wait at home. I had spent the day before cleaning the house, so I was pretty adamant about keeping it that way. One, well two small problems with that idea: Caroline and Lily. As fast as I picked up, they took apart. I spent the day doing my best drill sargent impression (in between folding many baskets of laundry).

At one point, I sent them outside and Lily came running back in convinced the Easter Bunny had trashed her bike (I think she's confusing him with a leprechaun). I called Rob and confirmed my suspensions, Lily had left her bike behind his car and he backed over it. I am seriously starting to wonder if my kids will be able to grow up to be functioning adults who are able to find things and finish projects.

That night I started dinner and sat down to finish my lesson plans while it was cooking. I had the nagging feeling that I heard water running, but brushed it off as noise from the fan. The running water got louder and I went to look at the guest bathroom. Lily had put the stopper in the sink and keep the taps on! What a mess! I burst into the bathroom to be greeted by a tidal wave from the sink. It had run down through the wall and flooded Stacey's room and closet. I sent Lily up to her room for punishment and to save herself. Caroline jumped into action fetching towels and mopping up pools of water. i can't help, but think she got a kick out of not being the one in trouble.

Rob came home and heard Lily screaming from her room. By the time he made it down to the basement, Lily had tearfully filled him in she'd "flooded the house and wuined Miss Stacey's woom." Caroline and I were ready for fireworks. Rob simply shook his head and dryly commented "When you girls are finished ruining the house let me know and I'll move back in." Humor is the best tension reliever.

I really don't know what it is about Lily and bathrooms. She got bit by a dog on the way to the bathroom, split open her chin in a bathroom, flooded the same bathroom toilet with paper last year, and let's not forget "Lipstick Massacre 2007." Is it because she's a water sign? Is it the fact that bathrooms have water to play in, nice smelling soaps, cute towels, and other colorful things to explore? I don't know, I'm just sick of cleaning them up (add to this fact that she still has bathroom accidents at times and sometimes has a hard time wiping). Just call me the keeper of the commode. I need a vacation to get over this vacation.

Spring Break Part 2: Rolling and Lurching Right Along

I proceeded to spend the rest of the week cleaning up the house and sorting through summer clothes. When I wasn't playing housemaid, I was taxi driver. By Friday, I was pretty worn out. We got up early to head to West Virginia to see Rob's parents. Look back at my blog our summer trip and you'll recall thatwe don't have the best luck with travel. We were on the road for no less than an hour, when the car started lurching. It seemed to be having trouble switching between higher gears. Remeber, my car is less than one year old. We spent the rest of the drive lurching up every hill (West Virginia has lots of hills). My stomach lurched right along with it. By thetime we arrived (4 bathroom stops and multiple threats to "leave your sister alone" later), my head was pounding. The last thing I want to be around Rob's family is grouchy, so I sucked it up.

They live a beautiful property in West Virginia and the girls had a blast. I love that they get the chance to live a little bit of country life. I grew up in the counrty and vowed to raise my family in the suburbs. I don't regret it for a minute, I don't miss finding copperheads in the washing machine or driving 45 minutes to see a movie. I do however wish the girls had more of a chance to live closer to nature, to learn the value of hard work.

The girls got to go four wheeling, fishing, and creeking. They were filthy and exhausted by the time we left. We had a great time joking around with Rob's parents and listening to their plans for thier house. I also learned that Rob's family reads my blog. I knew his dad did, but not the rest. Hopefully, I haven't insulted anyone.

The next night we lurched our way back home. And I got ready for Part 3.

Spring Break: A Tale in Three Parts Part 1: Getcha Head in the Game

The Friday before spring break began, I rushed through the regular clean up of my room, frantically grabbed a pile of stuff to plan with and bolted out the door. Caroline's play was that night and I didn't want to be late. I was running later than I'd planned, so I'd decided to get flowers on the way to the play. As I pulled into the driveway with Lily, I saw Caroline slamming the basketball into the net. After a gentle and slightly excited hello, I was hit with "I'm not going to the stupid play!" Awesome, just what I need. I asked if something was bothering her and she snarled "Nothing, I'm fine!" I calmly reminded her that her grandparents were coming from 1 1/2 hours away. She agreed to do it for them and stomped into the house. By the way, I haven't written much about this side of Caroline, but trust me, rapid mood change is not unusual lately.

I rushed Lily inside and tried to put something together for dinner. As I was flying around the kitchen, Caroline came down to tell me she left her costume at school. At that moment, I was at a crossroads, I could scream every foul word going through my head or I could be the calm and rational adult. I chose adult (I later asked my step mother what she would have done and she agreed with me). I took a breathe and suggested she put something else together. Luckily the costumes were street clothes that match your character. I went upstairs and helped her find argyle socks, white walking shorts and a red tee shirt. Viola! Brainiac!

I went downstairs and gave Lily shrimp and rice (I'd worry about veggies later). As I was trying to find something for myself, Lily looks up from her plate and inquires "Does our family eat snake?" WTH? "No, Lily, we don't eat snake." "Well, why not?" "Oh good grief! I don't know. We just don't." "Hmm?"

Then the phone rings. My parents are almost at the school (an hour early) and need better directions. Boy, I would love to be early for just one thing. I explain where to go and look at the clock. Crap, no time for flowers now. Caroline runs down stairs and I suggest braiding her hair. You'd have thought I suggested using her hair as a noose. Next I suggest a perky ponytail. She begrudgingly agrees and I fix it. She looks in the mirror and declares "Thanks a lot Mom." (no sarcasm!)

We make it to the school with moments to spare. As we are waiting for the cast to get ready, I fill my mom in on the evening. She laughs and says that I was like that too. I vehemently disagree and explain that I was terrified of defying her (seriously, ask my high school friends). She says she can't think of a reason why I would have been.

My friend Stacey joins us and then I remember how I should be feeling about this evening. Every harried mother needs a twenty something idealist in her life. Stacey whispers that she is just so nervous for them. Her eyes tear up and I see everything through her eyes. The kids come out and give a good amature preteen performance (lots of preteen nerves and teen jackassery). After each song, Stacey smiled and cheered, my mom beamed and I felt immense pride. My baby was up there singing and dancing. I owe my mom thanks for reminding me that this stage is fleeting and Stacey for reminding me to relish it. Sometimes I need to look up from the trenches of motherhood and gain wisdom from experienced motherhood and motherhood yet to be.