Time for an honest, down and dirty, grouchy post. I am trying to be thankful for my life. I have so many blessings - family, health, jobs, friends, but sometimes, the little irritating things in life seem to drown out the beautiful, lovely parts. I know that there are perfectly good explanations for all of my gripes that I am about to put out here, but I don't want to think about being reasonable, or patient, or gracious. I just need to vent.
First off, since going back to work - my house has been a total wreck. I can't stay on top of the laundry, our house is always covered in a fine white film known as Henry's hair, Betty seems to prefer peeing on the carpet, there are a gazillion toys all over our house, the dishes seem to sit in our sink for days, and our flower beds are more like weed beds with a smidgeon of flowers. I try not to let it bother me, but I am one of those people that can't really rest and enjoy if things aren't just "so." We already have someone come clean once every two weeks, but I'm thinking that isn't enough anymore. Our family has doubled since we started using a maid, so maybe in all fairness, it is time for the cleaning to be doubled up too. I met with a lady (i.e., an angel) this weekend who is going to come to our house to fold, iron, and put away our laundry and straighten up our house on the weeks that the maid doesn't come, so hopefully that will help. I just feel like our house will never be tidy again. I even skipped church this weekend, did laundry ALL day, and still went to bed with more laundry to put away/hang/iron. SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING!!! Also, did I mention that our dishwasher has died? And our bathroom is STILL not done? Yeah - that's not helping.
(pay no attention to the PILES of laundry behind this little architect)
Secondly, on the weekends, the Knight works from 5:30 a.m. to around 2:30 p.m. Then he comes home, crashes, needs to work out, or mows the lawn. That means I am by myself with both girls all weekend. I understand that stay-at-home moms do this every day, and I must say, I don't know how they do it. I think they keep those kids busy, busy, busy, and then hurry to do the housework while those babies are sleeping. The problem is that all my friends with kids have husbands who are not working on the weekend, so there really isn't anyone that I can meet up with for playdates or trips to the zoo on the weekends. Everyone is having their "family time" when me and girls are raring to go play. I try to take them places by myself, but V is still so little and C is still pretty clingy that it is difficult to do much of anything outside of our backyard. Since I am working full-time, I have that built-in working mom guilt of missing those little moments that only their daycare providers get to experience every day. When I am home with my girls, those hours are precious. I want to spend those moments with them, not just around them. I want to color with sidewalk chalk on the patio with Caroline, not fold laundry while she colors outside. I want to snuggle with V, not let her lay on her activity mat while I try to tidy up the house. I understand that is not entirely realistic, and my complaints are probably familiar to every other mom, but still - it is hard. All of it.
(a precious and rare family trip to Jones Orchard for strawberry picking!)
Third, the Knight and I are just so tired. And pretty depressed. And there is no way for me to get "me" time anymore. I'm nursing V, and she's still eating 1-2x a night. C has started waking up at the crack of dawn, and isn't quite old enough yet to be entertained for a meaningful amount of time by the TV. Also, she doesn't like to snuggle in bed much, so guess who is also waking up at the crack of dawn? Me, the Knight, and V. Then, we all trudge around the house harumphing and grouchy because no one is getting enough sleep. At night, when the babies are fed, bathed, and finally (and so blessedly) asleep, we just sit on our laundry-piled couch...numb, silent, a little lost, but thankful to have each other. We have both had rocky times in the past, but never at the same time. The one thing that I am thankful for is that we are talking about it...with each other...and that helps keep us both accountable.
With the Knight's schedule being the complete opposite of mine, there is just hardly any time for me to do something without babies. And babysitters are SO expensive, that I hate to use one for something unimportant, like running to Pier 1 or catching a movie with a friend. I know that this phase will pass all too soon, and I will one day look at my hormonal adolescent daughters and wonder where those sweet bitty babies went, but right now, it is so hard for me to stay positive. Sometimes, I just want to leave it all behind, drive to the nearest hotel and sleep for weeks. Sometimes, when I pull in our driveway - I think about the dirty house, the toys, the barking dogs, the tantrums...I just want to pull right back out and go somewhere else. Anywhere else.
(they are so much alike in so many ways - demeanor, eating and sleeping preferences, and especially appearances! C is on the left at 5 months. V is on the right at 3)
(picnic on the patio - yes, it was a pretty day, but mostly I could not stand the face our dirty kitchen.)
Fourth, apparently I am just a terrible dieter. I have been counting my calories pretty well for the past month or two. Since going back to work, I have hardly worked out at all, so I figured calorie counting would be a good way to try to lose that baby weight. While I have lost the baby weight, I was overweight before I got pregnant with C. Also, how is it possible that my arms actually fatter now than when I preggers with V??? I really need to lose about 10-15 more lbs to get to a size that I am happy with, and fit into the clothes that I really love. I currently weigh 30 more pounds than I did in high school, and about 15 more than law school. Cripes. Anyway, the calorie counting was going well, but then all of a sudden my weight loss just stopped. I am trying to maintain the balance between keeping up my milk supply and not overeating, but sometimes it is just hard. When I watch my calories like a hawk, what I pump at work drops significantly. When I let myself go a little bit, my milk supply ramps back up and the pounds happily come back too. Seriously, I think that pounds jump on me like fleas on a dog. I am going to have to wean V at 6 months, so maybe things will improve then, but the Knight and I are going on a cruise when V is 7 months, so I would really like to look presentable in a bathing suit by that time. One can dream, right?
Finally (and most importantly), my sister's battle with drugs and rebellion have taken another turn...right now for the worse. She has been in and out of rehab and recently made it clear to everyone that she would rather live in a homeless shelter than live sober at my parents' house. Writing those words is surreal - homeless shelter, drugs, rehab? Never were those words supposed to be a part of my family's life. She doesn't have a phone, but called my parents this weekend to check-in, and she seems to be floating from shelter to friend's house nightly. She has no job, no money...I just shiver with fear when I think about the kind of choices she is making and the consequences that have already occurred and will continue to follow. I really fear for her life. My heart aches for my parents. They have so many emotions when dealing with her - guilt, anger, frustration, profound sadness, fear. I look into C's big blue trusting eyes and I wonder to myself - "how can I keep her from getting into a similar mess?" The thing is...I don't think that I can. I can do my best to give my daughters a firm foundation, but she and V will ultimately be the decision makers when it comes to their paths. I think my parents did a good, no, great job. I hope I can be 1/2 the parent that they have been to my siblings and me. Why one child seems so damaged and the other three aren't is so puzzling. If you are the praying type, I'll hope you will pray for her, for my family, and for the AFS household.
How am I coping with these problems, big and small? Prayers, precious snuggles with my babies, cookies, wine, and retail therapy. Mostly the retail therapy. Then prayers and snuggles. Cookies and wine aren't quite as prevalent since I am calorie-counting, but they still make an appearance from time to time. :)
Doughnuts and debit cards,