Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Gets You Through

Today one of the teachers at the kids' daycare made a comment that struck me as odd. She said something about me looking professional hopping out of the van and coming to pick up my children. I am not sure what that means - I don't wear a suit to work and I don't think of a minivan as a vehicle that screams "professional!" And certainly, if she could have seen me sobbing in the kitchen half an hour later, she would have chosen a different adjective.

My day at work wasn't bad, at all, but after the kids and I got home is just became one of those days. And it isn't just the working, I have had plenty of days like this when I was home all day, and it was no picnic then either. The counter so covered in dirty dishes there is no room to make dinner. The kids not even pretending to play, just crying and screaming at each other in the family room. The zillion loads of laundry mocking me, knowing that I'll be lucky to stay awake long enough to get even one load dry and folded. The weeds that are swallowing the flowers in the front yard... it all just felt so impossible for a moment (or thirty, whatever).

So what do you do when you have days like that? (We all have them sometimes, right?) Sometimes I just need a good cry. Other things that work: music I like, calling a friend, chocolate, just going to bed already (laundry be damned), taking off my shoes and putting on slippers... Something to offer a little beacon of comfort in an uncomfortable day.

Today it was crying, They Might Be Giants, and singing with Harper at bedtime. I feel a little better. And Matt came home from practice and is folding a load of laundry. Which, to be fair, he will often do even if he doesn't walk in from work to find me crying in the kitchen.

Those of you who read often may have noticed a suspicious lack of commentary about my transition from being a mostly stay-at-home mom to being a full time working outside of the home mom. This is partly because I am pretty conflicted about the whole situation, partly because I'm too tired to write about it with even an ounce of intelligence, and partly because I'm afraid I won't be able to write anything about it without offending folks on both sides of that particular debate.

I'm veering a bit from my intended topic here... for those of you reading this one, what gets you through when you're having one of those days?


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Val said...

Well, sometimes what gets me through is a four letter word. Sometimes it's telling the kids that they can sit and scream until they are finished, and going on with my business like I don't hear it. Sometimes I have to put them in timeout. Sometimes I have to put ME in timeout. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am allowed to be annoyed with the kids. With the job. With my husband. Etc. It doesn't mean I don't love them. It doesn't mean I'm not thankful. It's okay for me to be pissy and cranky and overwhelmed. Of course remembering that in the moment is tough...but...it's another piece in a large arsenal bag. :)

Tomorrow is a new day - for both of us - and therein is the hope that gets me through 'til bedtime. ;-)

bluedaisy said...

While I am definitely not glad that you had one of those days, the selfish part of me takes comfort in knowing that it isn't just me who is running to stand still- or running to avoid falling down altogether! You are totally right when you say that no matter what your situation, these days come. I thought I was short on patience when I worked full time but now I feel like it is worse. And I felt conflicted about my kids being in daycare full time but now that they are home, I worry that they are bored! It's tough either way and if blogging will help you sort out the feelings, I say go for it (I certainly did). And anyone who reads here should know well enough by now that your words would not be meant to offend. We are all just trying to make it work, right? Music is always good therapy for me & if I can check just one small task off my list, that helps too. Here's to tomorrow being better all around! Sorry for the short story here in your comment section ;)

Marie Green said...

For days when my house seems to be crumbling down around me, cleaning up the kitchen is the fastest way I feel better. It seems like once my kitchen is a DISASTER ZONE, that the whole world is. So, I usually start there. Besides, washing dishes is calming to me, and I can easily tune out the world (aka: whiny children) while doing them.

Another thing that helps is exercise- getting out of the house, getting fresh air, and best-scenario yet- walking with a friend... I come back a whole new person. (Unforch for me, this doesn't work so well if the weather is crappy.)

Hope you feel better!

Pamela said...

I have days like that and I end up feeling like a terrible parent because I've shouted and threatened physical violence and just been at the end of my tether all day. And the housework - UGH. I agree with a previous post in that I start with the kitchen - that makes me feel a bit better.
To calm me down: peace, even for just a few moments. I just have to have peace and quiet for 5 mins. Then I'm okay, recharged and singing with the perpetrator at bedtime!
The good thing is, you are absolutely not on your own in this - every parent feels the same I think.

Jill said...

The only thing that actually gets me through right now is that I get to go to sleep, eventually. We're a mess over here, so I rarely have time to blog, but we're hanging in. You do the same.

CARRIE said...

Taking a walk with the kids---just getting outside, letting them get out.

And I would like to hear about your thoughts on making the transition. You would just be expressing your feelings and experiences...not making a judgment call.

Anonymous said...

No words of advice here, unfortunately. These days I have the feeling of "big fat failure" in all areas of my life as I try to keep up with the activity level of the 5 active males in this house plus attempt to keep my kindergarten classroom running. It is SO! HARD! I long to "do it all" successfully but sadly am not sure I can say that I'm even "doing it all". Please know that you can always email me if you'd like - I'm not on facebook, twitter, etc for the very fact that someone mentioned above (the time-suck factor of it.)
I hope you were able to get a good night's rest.
~Beth Anne

Anonymous said...

By the way, I thought I should add that tonight at the dinner table? I lost it. It started with me saying that I couldn't listen to one more knock knock joke and ended with me sobbing at the table, to the wide-eyed bewilderment of my husband and 4 boys. So as I said, no words of advice here.
~Beth Anne

Emily said...

Yes, definitely have those days. I'm not a big crier but there have been many days when Brian walks in the door and I shout: "I'm DONE!" and I go up to my room for a few minutes for a private sob fest. That usually helps a little, or putting the kids to bed as early as possible, curling up in front of the TV with some dessert and talking to Brian about why everything sucks. (it doesn't, I'm just sayin')

Also, I'd really love to hear your perspective about working full time, because I think you have a unique opportunity to do a true compare and contrast after having been home for so long. I promise not to get offended, and I think you have a way of saying things so that people know you don't mean anything negative. Also, I'm curious if this is the plan for next school year, too?

Hillary or Ryan said...

Here are a few of my thoughts: Being a mother (whether you stay at home with your kids or work outside the home) is really difficult. There's so many things to take care of in a given day: caring for children, meals, laundry, housework, work outside the home, nurturing your relationship with your spouse, and it goes on and on.

There's so much to do that many of us feel like failures b/c it is impossible to "do it all." Instead of feeling like a failure, what if we focused on the positive aspects (even if they're small) every single day. For instance, this morning I unloaded the dishwasher before school, got the laundry collected and ready to wash, got out the door on time, kissed my son and made him giggle while he was getting ready, talked to students here at school and made them feel important. Focus on all of the wonderful things we do everyday.

And regarding the stay at home vs. working outside the home. I don't think we should take sides. It's really freaking difficult to do both. I'm a teacher, so I work outside the house most of the year. But when I stay home during the summer and breaks, I'm physically and emotionally drained and exhausted at the end of the day. Let's acknowledge that both roles are difficult and respect each other for it.

Kelsey, you are an amazing woman! Look up and laugh and love and lift...

Erin said...

You are doing awesome. Really. Trust me. You trust me, right?

Am I the only one ready to admit that what gets me through sometimes is... um... a glass of wine? Or a cold beer? Because that's what gets me through sometimes.

tracy said...

Hi Kels,
I am totally with Emily, in that I try to get the kids to bed as early as possible in order to free up a few extra minutes for myself. And I allow myself to not feel bad if I don't accomplish anything else that evening other tha sitting on the couch with some ice cream and bad reality television.

And, as Erin said, an occasional beer here and there definitely doesn't hurt! (clearly I am not engaging in that NOW ... but I may or may not be counting down the days!)

I love you, sorry it was a rough day

Mommy Daisy said...

We all have those days. It's not fun, is it? For me just getting out of the house for a bit by myself usually does the trick. Even if it's just a quick errand to the store, doing it alone is great. Listening to my music in the car for a bit or maybe buying some nice chocolate while I'm out. But that time along is what I need.

Astarte said...

I am so scared about exactly what you're going through. Once fall comes, and I'm in practicum all day and doing schoolwork and kid stuff all night, I don't know how I'm going to manage.

When I get overwhelmed, it usually helps me to be active, so I pick one thing, one corner, to work on, usually the kitchen counter, and deal with it. That one little shining spot usually gives me the wherewithall to deal with other stuff, or at least the satisfaction that I've accomplished something before I crash.