Friday, October 20, 2017

Fried

Things feel tough right now. Not cosmic-level tough, just frazzle-making, quick-tempered, cranky tough. Tim is busy at work, Margaret is surviving the hell that is JUNIOR YEAR, and I'm deep into toddler-land with a sick and stuffed-up Andrew. My 12 hours a week of freedom while he's at Mother's Day Out have yet to exceed 8 and it's nearly November. Tim and I have done some really fun things lately, but not as a couple or as a family.

We are all tired.

Tim and Margaret work late into each night after putting in full days. I follow Andrew around, yet I'm not always fully engaged. We rely on our phones, computers, and tv too much, which cuts down on productivity and eliminates family time. "Communication" is by text, if at all. Because we are tired, we become less generous and grace-filled. In fact, we are grace-emptied. We start to think, "But what about MY NEEDS?" When we hit smallish bumps in the road, we catastrophize about the future, telling ourselves, "It will ALWAYS be this tough."

A few mornings ago, we were deep in the morning rush. It was clear Margaret would be late for school as she tried to finish up an assignment. Tim, her driver, felt angry and manipulated. I felt resentful of getting up before the sun with a toddler. In the midst of all of this, knocks started coming on the door.

Poor communication meant I had no idea Tim had hired landscapers to do some work for us that morning. The dogs barked, Andrew cried, Tim sighed, I groaned. More knocks came. Oh, yeah, our cleaning lady and her sister were here for our twice monthly cleaning.

Knock Knock.

Are those the garage door people? Darn. I'd assumed everyone would be out of the house before they got here. Even in the chaos of that moment, I realized how fortunate we are to have a house, and to be able to have help to keep it running smoothly.

But nothing felt smooth.

It's one thing to have a rough morning family-wise; it's another to do it with 7 extra people as witnesses to your disfunction. Tim and Margaret eventually huffed and puffed out of the house, I parked Andrew in front of Little Einsteins (again), and I got to discuss garage door motors in my pj's.

I know better days are ahead-- they always are-- but boy would it be nice to feel well-rested, more connected, and optimistic here at Team Donaldson. I've found what sometimes helps us is getting OUT of the house together for something low-key such as lunch at a Mexican restaurant or a mandatory walk on a local trail. If we can't get out, then eating a meal together or watching a show we all like helps.

What about you? How do you knit things together when it feels like you are unraveling?







14 comments:

Liz said...

I make myself wait until I can sit down and read your blogs and focus. I love you! You make me laugh, cry, nod in agreement, and I'm sure we would be friends IRL. That's all :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I feel for you and I agree with the fact that things will always be rough. Sending ((Hugs)) to you and hope things calm down a little bit. I have nothing to complain about compared to you and yet this year has just broken me into pieces and I just can't seem to put myself back together again. However I am excited for our son Adams wedding to Gabby in Cancun in November. It might just be exactly what I need and a great way to end the year!!

Susan said...

Hang in there. I'm a few years past the hell of junior year for a daughter. We made it through but it wasn't easy. I think that was the year that I had to pick her up from post-prom at 12:30 am and just drove with her for over an hour trying to ease the wracking sobs into something manageable. I never understood why a family would consider an early-access college program until I experienced junior year and then I thought college time couldn't come soon enough.

Karen L. said...

We had days upon days like that especially when we had kids in the house---back in the day. :) I think the ways you listed as slow-down times is the secret, along with a sense of humor, like you have already. But tiring days are tiring, they build up and then everyone feels it. Call a time-out, everyone go to their corners (haha) and come together for some simple meal time, listen to a funny old comedian on a CD and yuck it up together.

Anonymous said...

Remind yourself that the pressures of modern life are genuinely hard. Even a privileged one -- while not nearly as hard as an impoverished/ unsupported one -- is still hard. Because we have wildly weird and unreasonable expectations placed on us (and which we then place on ourselves despite the fact that we can reject them if we choose). These are expectations -- programs for happiness -- that are absolutely doomed to fail. Even when we "win." I mean the pressures of high school on teenagers? Ridiculous? The pressures of corporate work? Inhuman! The pressures of motherhood in the era "perfect mommy" and fractured support networks? Crazy.

We all live like crazy people. Myself included (mine might be a little above average-crazy). Why do we do it?

It's like war. If everyone just sat down on the ground and ate ice cream, the war would stop. "Oh, it's not that simple!" Yes and no. In some ways, it really is that simple. But we don't do it.

It's just hard. It's all very hard. Best thing to do let go a bit. I wish my parents had told me, "it's OK if you get a C or a D (or worse!) in that class. It doesn't mean you're a bad person or you won't succeed." I wish I had the ability to hear it. God doesn't care about any of it, obviously. God doesn't care if you run through the street naked and or abandon your car one day, never to deal with ever again. It's only kindness that matters in the end. That's it. Kindness and the community it requires to express it. I think you have both of those in spades. Lucky girl.

booksandcandy said...

I’m not holding anything together lately. I thought trying to plan everything out from meals to outfits for the week would help but I’m pretty sure it made me more stressed.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy these real moments post. Life is messy. Our house is a DYI construction zone. Lots of mess everywhere. I really just can't keep up. Not possible. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to think of everything I've been able to get done up to that point, rather than what still remains to do.

Meg Riemer said...

I feel like we are in a constant state of chaos around here too and completely disconnected most of the time. I will never stop reading your blog! Thanks for reminding us we're not the only ones. I hope things get better soon for you and your family and for all of us who nod in agreement! Prayers.

blog said...

Today was a rough day for me and my family, too. I have four kids age 5 and under, and my baby has been up since 2:30 in the morning. It's been like this for over a week. Today I just cried! That helps sometimes :) But what really carries me through these rough days are the small daily and weekly rituals we have as a family that I know binds us in unity and love. Every night we pray together before bed as a family. And Monday night is family night- without exception. Nothing else we can do Monday nights is more important than the strength of our family.

Thrift Store Mama said...

My husband and I are finding that almost weekly therapy sessions are essential for us. Not just to unpack some of the tension and stress that we carry so often, but to also give us time and space to be together and talk through the things we need to talk through. I imagine that our sessions must be super boring for our therapist, but it's what works for us.

Beyond that, with the kids (10 and 12) I do some sort of self-deprecating humor - pretend to trip and almost fall, pretend to almost wet my pants, share a silly story of something that happened to me. Or find some surprise chocolate chips.

Anonymous said...

One word: Gratitude. Gratitude for a healthy son and daughter. Gratitude for a husband who can drive your child to school even if he doesn't want to do it. Gratitude for housekeepers who clean your home. Gratitude for landscapers who maintain your lawn. Gratitude for a garage that provides security and shelter for your cars. Gratitude for your cars. Gratitude for the ability to type and post on a computer. I could go on, but I've made the point. Whenever I start whining to myself, I say thank you to God for what He has given me. I've found myself thinking, "I don't feel like a tennis lesson today; I'm tired; I can't find my favorite tennis outfit"....then I realize how ridiculous those thoughts are. Thank you, God, that I don't have to worry about money; my husband takes care of my family and me with love and a joyful spirit; I can afford club memberships, all kinds of sports and other leisure activities without thinking about it, and when my children's college tuition is due, we just write the checks. Loans, what loans? No mortgage, no car payments, no worrying about a job or a paycheck. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God. When I'm busy saying "thank you" there's not much time for griping. Also, sharing what you have is a tremendously uplifting thing to do -- even if you're not feeling "fried" -- donate your housekeeper's services to someone who can't afford it, same with your landscaper. The best Christmas my family ever had was when we bought our housekeeper a new house and a new car. We just gave each other little things and it was wonderful. I'm sorry if this comment sounds preachy and there's no need to share it, just wanted to give a little advice. I think many people reading your post would feel that you were griping about some things that would be life-changing for them. Hope you find some calm soon in your busy year!

Anonymous said...

AMEN anonymous! You said it so much better then I ever could have. I am one that would be on the life- changing side.

kristine said...

Thank you for this. I am really struggling right now. My mom recently started hospice care and with a fulltime teaching job and two kids in sports and activities, it is hard. I feel exhausted after the weekend is over instead of refreshed. I agree that gratitude is key. It is easier said than done though watching your mom struggle to come to terms with her terminal illness. Also feeling helpless and the unfairness of it all. I find that doing small acts of kindness for others does help.

Anonymous said...

AMEN anonymous. Right ON! A housekeeper? A landscaper? I am not so fortunate. I can also add a chronic disease into my equation. If it gets done around my house it’s by me, whether I am feeling up to it or not. It has to be done anyway. It doesn’t matter how “fried” or sick I am feeling. To have someone offer help just once? I can’t imagine. I am still grateful. Grateful for my health, although it is a daily struggle. Grateful for my husband who works very hard with a bad back for very little pay, grateful for my children and grandchildren. Thank you Lord. Maybe the struggle is worth it after all.