Notes to Self

July 23, 2014

Trying to cope

After nearly a year, my husband recently became employed. Hip-hip hooray, right?

No good deed goes unpunished (I really am trying to work on my optimism here)….his employment has left me alone with both kids for 4 out of 7 nights (for bed time) and one full weekend day. Not my idea of ideal.

Initially it was REALLY tough to juggle the two kids and I had a lot of self-induced pressure and I failed miserably at keeping my cool. Tears were rampant.

Then we sort of figured it out and now it’s anybody’s guess as to how the evening will go. Regardless if there are tears or smiles, I am not coping well.

 

Here’s an example:

I am still breastfeeding and the baby nurses to sleep. He’s at the age where he’s easily distracted and his sister is the highlight of his life (ergo when she makes noise he pays attention). Last night I nursed him four times and he still didn’t fall asleep. This took 1.5+hours. I was spent. I was done. I didn’t want to nurse ANYMORE. On top of it, my 3 yr old was tired of being quiet (or relatively) and alone and it was getting way past her bedtime so I just became more and more enraged. I was fully aware that there was some vague, instinctual, negative message that I was telling myself but I couldn’t quite hear it and I couldn’t get past it. I just worked myself into tears and a fit of rage (which I could only partially hide). Finally the three of us laid in the bed and soon the baby stopped crying and fell asleep. Meanwhile I was stuck on my back with a kid laying on both arms and a full bladder. I just laid there thinking how poorly I had done that evening (let’s not even go into the park visit we did early that evening) and how I had to stop and the more I thought about it the more guilt I felt, the more I beat myself up and the more angry I became. Just beside myself with frustration and anxiety. So I decided it was time to make time for therapy.

That being said there have been a few (maybe 3?) nights where the baby falls asleep no problem and I get to read a few books to my daughter before she goes to bed at a decent time.

I am still not in contact with my family (although they still send emails every now and again, but nothing of note). I continue to uncover fundamental problems in my life that all go back to them (I am past blame, just amazed at how simple the cause and effect is when the consequences have become so difficult to tease apart). I see how my daughter is becoming as easily frustrated as I am and I cannot handle that I have taught her that. I have failed her; and that’s the truth. I don’t know if I can undo it but this will first require that I fix myself.

 

I remember having several conversations about parenting and folks saying that you just had to be good enough. I think about that and wonder if the good outweighs the bad. Does my daughter feel loved more than she feels hurt? Does she laugh more than she cries? I don’t know. I feel like she is sad and feels unloved and I hurt because of this. And I have no objective way to evaluate her emotional health.

 

I feel like I am not bonding well with either of my children. I feel sad and lonely. I feel hopeless and helpless (and did I mention that I hate my job due to recent changes in org structure, etc?). I struggle to smile and find a happy thought. I’d rather sit in silence in the car than try to make my child smile. I am worried I’ll just make her cry.

 

I feel like all I do is tell her no or not now. “Mommy do you want to paint with me?” ; “Mommy do you want to make a craft with me?”; Mommy do you want to play with me?” and all I can say is I do but right now I have to…..(pack their bottles/lunch….nurse the baby…get dinner together….play with the baby and walk him around….whatever). It really hurts me. It really makes me sad and then it makes me angry because all I can think is that this child is sad and lonely and feels unloved.

 

So I feel like a constant failure. Like nothing I do works. And I am not capable of making it work. I don’t care that taking care of two kids at once is difficult – that means nothing to each individual child who is left without quality time.

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May 9, 2014

It just has to stop

I hate that phrase…with a Passion.

 

My mother always said that. As if saying it would magically make it happen and as if it was never her fault or her responsibility to change it. I recall watching her go through her tantrums and realizing one day that I  had stopped caring. I think it was somewhere around the time she said “I don’t get paid to be a mother”.

My father is a hoarder. It took us (me and my siblings) quite a while (into adulthood) to realize it. My mother is one but to a lesser extent. I think she just liked stuff and never had anywhere to put it because my father took up all the free space. But growing up our house always had stuff around. You could never find a pen, there was never counter or table space and we never learned the value or importance of keeping things tidy. My mom used to threaten to throw our stuff away if we didn’t clean up our room.

So of course we all developed anxiety over clutter. I can’t handle chaotic places either. Once I went to a mall near Christmas time and almost exploded. For years I would get upset and cry over my unorganized nature but only recently realized the etiology. My life is cluttered, disorganized and chaotic, as evidenced by my messy home, car and head (yes, my psyche is included in this list) because (as my mother used to say) I am a horrible, rotten, disgusting person who is lazy and ungrateful.

I can see the scowl on her face and hear my mother’s voice as I write these words: Rotten Children. My sisters told me that once my mother threatened to drive us all off of a cliff. Yes; she had trouble dealing with stress. I guess she suffers from similar pathologies as I do. But that’s why I cut them out of my life – so I could heal and so that they wouldn’t teach the same to my children. Legacy broken folks.

 

HOWEVER, lately the stress has just been so great that I find myself in bouts of tears and anxiety (frustration) and muttering these words: it just has to stop. As I trip over crap on the floor (if you have two children you know what I am talking about!), as I struggle to find counter space to make my son’s bottles and as I just sit and look around at all the chaos. I shake my head, fight back tears and think “it just has to stop”.
This morning as I pondered this in the shower (one of my only times to think clearly as I find some relaxation in hot showers) I also thought that I have been dealing with stress, much like a line backer, and waiting for something to give (related to yesterday’s post). I am fully expecting something to change and all the pieces hanging above my head will fall perfectly back into place. No harm, no foul. I feel like I am in a dream and waiting to wake up. And this is a problem because there is no dream (or nightmare!) and nothing will put it all peacefully back together. We are screwed and I have to face it.

I guess I need to find a way to take responsibility and control and realize that the “it” is me. Lemons out of lemonade simply means not dwelling in the negativity and sadness. Finding someway to make it work regardless, and in spite of.

No magic will happen here and this is a life lesson I need to execute. It just has to stop being the same way it has been for years – I have to change the way I respond and stop reacting.

So, take a deep breath, count and remember what’s important.

February 25, 2014

It’s begun again

I am starting to (again) get angry at myself for making what I always deem as wrong choices (e.g., taking a different route to work and not sure it was any faster and maybe even longer….by 2 minutes).

I feel like I’ve taken a giant leap backwards in the progress I made over the last year+.

I feel like everything is always a fight or a hassle or a negative. I rush rush from this task or event to that one. If I spend time on one thing I feel like anxious about the other things I didn’t work on (like right now- wanting to get this off my chest and write in this blog but really I have so many other things I need to be doing; and the anxiety is just building). I constantly forget to do things and I seem to always have to pee!

Life shouldn’t be this kind of constant battle. I know I have my issues/pathologies and I am far from perfect, but why do I feel so alone; like no one has my back? And on top of it, I don’t feel like I deserve to ask for help.

It will be almost a year since I last spoke to my family members. I still don’t regret my decision, but I sometimes feel like I lost all my roots. Well, I guess I did! Ha! But how do I replace that or what do I build in its place? Who’s looking out for me?

I feel like if I don’t reach out to people I wouldn’t have any friends or communication with them. I struggle with always thinking people don’t really like me. I struggle with trying to figure out what “normal” is. How does a normal person react, respond or act in any given situation. I always feel like my thought and action is pathological. Everything I am and everything I do is pathological. I don’t know how to cope with that.

So the recent email from my husband, albeit riddled with whatever he brings to the table, has left me feeling like there is no possible resolution. If I am always to blame, if I am always wrong and always the problem…and if I can’t “fix” myself….

Each day I do the best I can for my family. I work hard to make sure I always have a job (my husband has basically been unemployed for three years). For my children I am always trying to make sure that the tone in my voice and the words I use are loving, supportive and in their best interest (ok, I do lose my temper sometimes, get stern and threaten to take away her toys…). I try to make sure my daughter has activities to encourage growth in all aspects of development. It’s about what they need to grow up feeling unconditionally loved and with the self-esteem needed to be un-pathological (whatever – make up your own words and you’ll see how much fun it is!).

I am exhausted. I don’t have any outlet for stress and no time or mechanism for exercise. I am lonely. I don’t sleep well, I cry and lately all I do is eat (so not psyched about my fat). I guess I am depressed.

And no time for therapy. I think I am screwed. Worst part (ha!) is, I can’t even drink because I am breastfeeding.

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