Monday, July 27, 2009

Questioning Sanity

Either I have way more stuff to accomplish than most people, or my mental faculties are way below average, or everyone else is as miserable and crazy as I am. I'm here to ask for an evaluation from my friends, and for your sakes, I hope it's not the third thing.

I'm just wondering if anyone else struggles like this. I'm wondering aloud.....because in times like these a girl needs to hear other people's lives are as crazy as hers is, in hopes that she's not either fit for the psych ward, or just plain SLOW IN THE HEAD.

So, I feel like I have a lot to do......but when I tried to list the things I was so busy with this week to a friend the other day, I could only come up with about 4 things I did all week. Let me try to accurately describe our summer activities. We're doing some planning (cross-country move, Deployment, 2-week vacation) and some packing, and just everyday life. Every day I make a list of several things from the Pack, Move, & Vacation list, but it's gotten so bad that I feel pretty good if I get just ONE thing done.

I tried to take a closer look at my day-to-day life to see what was holding me up from just "getting stuff done" by the end of the week. Today, Monday, seemed like a great day to start!

Here's how my day was planned: Arise, breakfast, gymnastics, lunch, leisurely afternoon to accomplish some PM& V stuff. Instead, it went like this: I woke up too early, felt terrible. I told Violet to play in her room for 40 minutes to catch a few more winks. Too hot. We both got up by 7:30. Hello, arthiritic hands. Hello, messy, messy Violet's room. Good morning to Ben, for whom I made coffee and sliced fruit. Check email. Find a threatening letter from a horrible eBayer I've been dealing with for 2 weeks, which makes me furious, so I immediately respond. I kiss Ben goodbye, fearing I've put our account in grave danger. Now, with the accusations of being a liar and a thief ringing in my head, I search HIGH and LOW for the leotard to dress Violet for gymnastics. It's not where it should's in the depths of the van where it was tossed last Monday during our emergency pee-in-the-bushes incident during negotiation with a person who rear-ended us. Whole Other Story. I finally find it, and we dash off LATE, with an extra errand (mail a package) thanks to the Horrible EBay Person to do before gymnastics. We arrive late to gymnastics, and it's HOTTTT. There's no a/c in this state, not even in a gymnasium. I realize my phone is malfunctioning, and I've missed a call from Ben 2 hours ago, needing some info from home....which I don't have.....and I call him back to tell him that and then dash back to the Mommy and Me class.

We finish up class with a meltdown from Violet. She falls on her wrist, hurts herself, and screams all the way out to the car. (This, after I've assured the teacher she's ready for the 3-year-old class). All the way home, it's, "Mooommy?" "Mooooomy!" from the back.....and this continues all afternoon. I think she gets this way when I get stressed. She's just wanting affirmation from me.......but it actually makes everything worse. She doesn't care if I answer or not. In fact, whenever I say, "What?" or "Violet..." she just continues with, "Moooomy? Moooooomeee!" So I try to ignore it.

On the way home, we get stopped at the Main Post Gate for a random vehicle check. Random. Huh. I have to declare the presence of Ben's gun, and make sure all that's on the "up-and-up." I think it surprised the guards that it was actually stored properly. Still, I was trembling....we had a shooting at the PX last week, and the MP's are pretty cranky. 5 of them stood around me talking about whether it was legit. I called Ben to let him know we'd miss him for lunch, which I'd planned would be yummy roast beef sandwiches, and basically hung up on him, because I was getting questioned by the guards.

When I got home, he crankily admitted to me he'd locked himself out of the house. I let him in, and he flew to collect his gear, and I stuffed a PB&J in his mouth as he ran out the door to his motorcycle safety class. Family Lunchtime=Failure.

I decide it's a good time to cool off, being that it's past 90 I go into the back yard to fill up the pool. Did it rain? Why is the porch all wet? Oh. It's because I left the hose on all night. The yard is like a sponge......a wet one..... Moving on from thoughts of the massive electric/water bill this month.....I plop Violet in the pool and hope for respite to gather my thoughts about what to get done this afternoon. I am interrupted by "Moooomy! Hafta go pooootty!" We go....and I swallow a huge lump in my throat as I see freshly-cut grass stuck to wet feet scatter as she runs across the carpet to the bathroom. *Ching* "Vacuum carpet" is added to the list alongside "clean up Violet's room," and "fix dinner," and "laundry." This happens again 5 minutes later. "Mooooomy, Hafta go potty!!" We troop across the carpet again, scattering more grass ......again I swallow, trying not to imagine my afternoon getting swept up into the Black Hole of Housework.

*SIGH* Why is it so hard? I can manage a list....I CAN just "get stuff done." It's the 99 other interminable things like bottom-wiping, sheet-changing, grass-vacuuming, mess-cleaning, tear-dabbing, story-reading, husband's-shoes-picking-up, meal-cooking, kitchen-cleaning, and clothes-putting-away that I can't seem to get the hang of. It's like I'm 2 people, living 2 simultaneous lives. I'm the maid, picking up, cleaning up, fixing, cooking, and wiping.....and I'm the Wife and Mom, loving, nurturing, teaching, being the companion, planning, and accomplishing helpful things for Ben. Golly, that almost sounds like THREE people!!!

The other day Ben took Violet from me for about 40 minutes to go on an errand. While he was gone, I 1. whipped up a dessert 2. cleaned up the kitchen 3. made dinner 4. emptied the dishwasher 5. picked up the whole downstairs 6. started a load of laundry 7. folded what was in the dryer 8. was leisurely browsing the internet when he got home with her.

So I've still GOT IT! I just can't tap into that Super Woman within me when my daughter and husband are around. Great.


Matt and Laurie Beardsley said...

LOL - Susi, thanks for sharing! It's nice to know that you're not perfect otherwise all of us other women/wives/mommies would feel terrible that we can't keep up with our errands/husbands/children/houses, etc.

You've definitely still got it! Here's a little suggestion.... (I had to figure this one out to keep myself under control and attempt to help Matt keep up with stuff) You could make some hard and fast rules for yourself like.... Can't take Violet out of her room unless we both clean it up first, or can't eat breakfast until dishwasher is unloaded (that's my favorite!). Maybe don't leave the kitchen until it is clean, or if there is laundry to be done always have a load in the washing machine when you go to bed (that way it's easy to throw it in the dryer first thing in the morning).

Ok, those are just some ideas. I definitely share the same frustration most of the time though. Especially now! Good luck!

Hosanna said...

Oh Susi, I know how that is; even without a child. Sometimes, I wonder out loud "why does the simplest thing have to be so difficult?!!!!"
Sometimes I just let some things slide just to take the pressure off of.
I think it is good to get some alone time, too. Just for an hour or so.... it does wonders for you sanity.
I recall something you wrote to me in a card once..... "Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves, for they will never cease to be amused."

Herb of Grace said...

Love the quote, Hos!

Sue, you've just described the life of every mommy in this country! It's totally normal, and although this probably won't help (I know, 'cause I tell it to myself all the time, and it only helps about 50% of the time), you will MISS these days in 30 years when the house is empty of kids and you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with.

I actually have some opposite advice from Laurie (well, sort of). I have to constantly re-prioritize my tasks. So, which is more important; clean carpet, or relaxed dinner together? If I spend 30 minutes outside in the wading pool with Judah instead of rushing around with household tasks, he's more likely to feel relaxed and settled and be able to play by himself while I cook dinner. So, we have a cluttery house, but i got to make dinner in peace! Priorities!

And relax about "themaid, picking up, cleaning up, fixing, cooking, and wiping"--- in fifty years the only thing that any one will remember fondly about you is "the Wife and Mom, loving, nurturing, teaching"

And one more thing to (hopefully) encourage you-- when the second one comes, things get easier. Honestly! They entertain each other and depend somewhat on each other for comfort and reassurance.

Jenny said...

Sweetheart, you are in EXCELLENT company:)
We all have days, weeks, months, years like that! And the vicious cycle of stress about not getting stuff done leading to more stress and not getting more stuff done just makes everything SO much worse! And it's really not a discipline issue (though I think it's easy to target it as such!). I think a lot of it comes down to enslavement...that's a word I've been dwelling on a lot lately. If you become enslaved to your schedule, life becomes less joyful and more opressive. If you become enslaved to your mess, life becomes less productive and more depressive. There is a balance we all have to find. Some days, you just resign yourself to not getting much (or anything) done -- so that on other days, you can be amazing:) Some days, the child needs attention alllllll daaaaayyyy. Others, she's fine playing by herself. You're the mom, so you recognize her needs and do your best to meet them. I have days where I hear myself getting crazy (talking not-so-nice and yelling) -- then I know I have to take a time-out WITH Evie and sit and read a book or just rock and hug... usually that solves a LOT:) Hugs tend to do that! Sending you one now!!!

Joy said...

Sorry you had such an awful day, awful time lately!! Isn't life a doozy? You can be sure I'll say a prayer for you today. I have the same days...where nothing goes right. Either that, or I'm simply a total grump and can't fix my attitude. You are not alone!! Here's to looking UP :D If you'd like we can meet up in Tacoma sometime again. I know you're busy prepping though...I'm pretending you're not actually leaving soon...:)

Denise said...

I had so much to say... I just emailed. But I love what Lisi shared, about deciding what is a priority and what isn't. I have had to employ that one when it comes to having dinner amidst tons of toys lying around... and then being joyful enough to cheerfully clean up dinner's mess AND that one and give J some post-work chill time. :)

Susannah Forshey said...

I really appreciate the different takes on time management/sanity. Laurie, in response to your advice, I realized I don't have *any* time standards when it comes to housework, and I know I need to work on that. I saw how the dishwasher first thing in the morning worked for your household, and I'm going to institute that in mine, even if it means washing a half-full dishwasher at to draw some lines somewhere.

Lisi, I know I have a tendency to OVER prioritize, or constantly re-prioritize based on whatever's happening so that I break away from tasks and end up in the middle of 5 with none of them done, because this was more important than that, and the other was more important than this. Just yesterday, Ben walked in the minute I turned on the vacuum. I realized what was about to happen: I was going to quit vacuuming, because HE was more important than clean floors, but then leave it out so I'd do it "later." Then, the entire time I spent with him would be nagged by the thought of an un-vacuumed living room full of grass clippings. So, instead, I said hello, and just took 2 minutes to finish up. It wasn't as long as I thought it would be, and I was happy about the clean carpet. I sat down carefree, and enjoyed the afternoon with him home!

I know that just becoming more steady and working on focusing on one task at a time will help me through the day.

I asked Ben how he felt about making some "house rules", too, to help eliminate some of the unnecessary tasks, like picking up shoes (him) and toys (Violet). He graciously agreed. Lovely man. :)