Monday, November 23, 2015

With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart

I guess the title of this post is somewhat ironic, since I'm going to be writing about how hard it is for me to be thankful this time of year.  This year, in particular, it's rough.  But it seems like the holidays bring a heaping dose of bullshit pretty much every single year.  There's always turmoil somewhere, whether it's in my family or my husband's family, but it's always somewhere.  There's always a blow up with someone.  Some war or feud going on.  Something that makes you wish that you lived on the side of a mountain and could ignore everyone.  My husband's uncle actually did that, incidentally, and sometimes I wonder if there was a wisdom in that decision that I had yet to consider.

The sad thing about this is that I love the holidays.  Truly.  I love the music and the decorations and the opportunity to see people you don't see often.  I love the generosity that comes out of people.  I like gift shopping.  I like going to the mall with crowds of people and finding gifts.  I like all of those things that other people hate.  And somehow, despite all of the turmoil that goes on just outside my door or on the other end of my phone, I manage to love the holiday more and more every year.  I dread the onslaught of BS that comes with it, but I love this season.

That said, I have a hard time being thankful at Thanksgiving.  Most of the time I just look at the life I lead and think "Other people don't deal with these things...." and it makes me feel frustrated.  It makes me feel like everything crazy happens to me because I somehow deserve it.  Or it's my fault.  Intellectually you can know it isn't your fault, but it's hard to keep that feeling from gnawing at you every time something ridiculous happens.  Where my friends will be going to lovely holiday dinners with their families and everyone will chat and get along and probably watch some tv together, I'll be bounced from house to house, trying to manage the rounds and trying to minimize damage as groups of people collide with the force of an A-Bomb in my life.  Love is hard sometimes, and lately I find myself having a hard time finding a whole lot of it to spare for some people.

The nice thing is that when I close my door and don't answer my phone, I have this lovely nuclear family that is all happy and healthy and safe this season.  I have traditions that kick off this Friday and carry through the weekend.  I have love and joy that radiates through my house during this time of year.  I have a beautiful little girl to start sharing these traditions with, and the most beautiful thing about all of this is that while I stand at the front line of the nonsense, I can shield her.  Her life will not look like mine.  Her world will not look like my world.  She will grow up with only a vague awareness of what goes on in the world I grew up in.  She will know love, and happiness.  She will know stability and understanding.  She will grow up in a life that sometimes I wish I had gotten myself, but that I'm lucky enough to provide for her.

So I guess that's enough to leave me with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.

Well....if I prayed.  But the heart part is accurate.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Balance - Is there such a thing?

Lately I've been struggling with balance.  I have these weird hangups about things.  Like, I love my daughter and I want to spend time with her, but I also am faced with a million other things that need to be done all the time.  I'm not one of those mom's who is like "Oh, the house is a mess but that's just how it is, I'm a mom".  Lately, it's been a lot of "The house is a mess because I just don't have time to get to everything" and that makes me crazy.  But, more than that, it means I spend a lot of time in the evenings trying to make any sort of headway.  That means less time spent with my daughter during her awake hours after work.  That feels crummy.  Leaving dishes dirty, or carpets unvacuumed, or clutter everywhere also feels crummy.  So, I don't know how to balance it.  And as much as I want to play with my daughter while she's awake and then work on things after she goes to bed, I find I have a finite amount of energy and I am just tired.  At some point it just becomes too much.

The tired is another issue that needs dealt with.  I'm starting to worry that it's related to something medical and not just chasing a 10 month old, because no matter how long I sleep, I always wake up feeling like it wasn't enough.  I wear down easily.  I am back to getting semi-regular headaches that last for days.  There are some other things going on as well, so that's going to be addressed in the near future with a doctor, but still....I don't think I'll ever just not be tired.  I feel like I've been tired my whole adult life.

So, I find myself trying to balance chores with baby time.  Saturday mornings are ours.  I wake up with her at 6:30 and I don't do any chores until she goes down for her nap.  She gets her bottle, we play on the floor, we eat some snacks or some breakfast and then she goes down for her nap.  The tv doesn't get turned on.  I try to leave my phone on the counter so it's just me and her, and I hope that makes up for the lack of time during the week.  Thursday nights are also ours.  My husband has class so I don't work on dinner until after she goes to bed because he's not home until late.  So, I feed her something quick and easy for dinner and then do a quick pick up of the house and vacuum really fast, then the rest of the night is with her.  It's very nice, actually.  Sometimes I wish I could spend all nights just hanging out with her and eating dinner really late, but that's not the reality of things.  But, it's at least two nights that she gets some solid mommy time.

I have an issue balancing my needs with her needs, though.  I still haven't figured that one out.  When we're not working, my husband and I have her pretty much 100% of the time.  I take her grocery shopping, or out to run errands.  If I need to run errands that would be faster and easier without her, I wait until she goes down for her nap and leave her sleeping while my husband works on homework.  That's about the only "me time" I get.  A stolen hour here or there.  Sometimes I do just want to have an afternoon to go to a movie or to get lunch without having to tote a baby along.  But the thing is, I don't feel like I have a right to get that.  I feel like I can't complain that I don't get enough time with her during the week and then dump her with a sitter on weekends.  That seems wrong.  The one time we've gone out to a friend's house lately without her, we put her to bed before we left so someone just had to sit at the house and make sure it didn't burn down.  I feel like not spending time with her when I have the opportunity would make me some sort of hypocrite.  Sometimes I wouldn't mind the break, though.  Sometimes it would be nice to just have quiet, and to not worry about whether I brought enough snacks to keep her happy etc.

And maybe that's part of this constant tired feeling.  Maybe I just don't pull myself away enough.  I know it's not a "fun" thing, but my husband gets several hours every Thursday night when he's in class that he doesn't have to think about her or chase her.  He just gets to handle himself and this one thing he has to focus on, and sometimes I wonder if that's a little bit nice.  That even though it's work, it might still feel like a break.  I don't know.

Yesterday I cried, because I feel like the last couple of weeks I've been having a really hard time.  I feel too tired, everything seems like too much work, I can't force myself to really care about anything I should be caring about, and it's just such an out of character way for me to feel.  It's not me.  And I worry that I'm losing some sense of me.  But, I cried.  After bottling everything up for weeks, I broke down and cried to my husband and then apologized for crying because I don't feel like I have a right to be having a hard time.  I feel like it makes me selfish.

So, here I am, wondering if balance is really a thing people achieve, or just some sort of unattainable mystery we all delude ourselves into thinking exists.