The past few months have been so damned hard. There are days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m spread too thin. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel like I have the world on my shoulders sometimes…
Tonight, I got really angry with my daughter. I exploded. I yelled and screamed and said I hated my life…that I would be glad if the world ended on 12-21-2012.
I won’t even expound on how wrong that is. All I can say is this has been building for a while…
So, my husband has been out of town for a week but honestly…I don’t mind single parenting.
I even like it sometimes because there is one less person around to consider or worry about. I make all the decisions and even if there is more responsibility involved, it’s okay. I get my kids to help out more and to do more for themselves, which is never a bad thing. And really, I run like a well-oiled machine when it’s just the three of us; I’m less lazy because I know there’s nobody else to pick up the slack and I feel good about myself for being able to do it all.
I think I kind of take it as a personal challenge to see how much I can take on; how much I can do and do well, without cracking.
Well, tonight I kind of cracked…not because I had too much to do, per se, but because lately, I feel like my daughter doesn’t seem to care how much she asks of me.
The requests never end…sleepovers, playdates, more computer time, junk food or treats from a drive-thru, extra time at bedtime to read when she’s had all day to read etc. It’s like they’re played on an infinite loop…over and over…day after day after day.
When I say no, she persists until I either give in, which I try not to do, or until I have to get firm with her and then I’m the bad guy. I really resent being put in that position over and over and honestly, I can see how people become the kind of parents who give into their kids all the time. Being the “NO” parent is exhausting. And it’s not that I say no all the time. I say yes plenty but no matter how many times I say yes, there’s always something more in the next minute, hour or day.
I just cannot stand that when I refuse the first time, it doesn’t mean anything; that she doesn’t respect that my answer is my answer and how I feel is how I feel.
And you know, being the “YES” mom is exhausting, too, because it always involves more time, more money, more driving or more work for me.
Sometimes I have a good reason for refusing a request, and sometimes? I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE DEALING WITH IT…which should be a good enough reason.
I take good care of my kids. They never want for love, care, support or the necessities of life but it’s never enough. There’s always something else.
And I know someone’s knee-jerk response will probably be something along of the lines of “You’re the parent. Don’t be afraid to say no. You have all the power. Don’t let your kids run the show!”
And my response, in anticipation of that kind of commentary is “I KNOW THAT! I already run the show and I’m definitely not afraid to say no”
It’s all the nonsense that comes along with being the boss and running the show and saying no that is wearing on me.
Sometimes I just want to say no and not have to say it ten more times, or explain myself or listen to a bunch of begging or wheedling or negotiating or God forbid, whining. I CANNOT stand whining.
Tonight my daughter put me in a very awkward position with some other parents around and though they were just trying to help, they ended up enabling her when I would have preferred they stay out of it and let me stand by my decision.
I ended up caving on something that I didn’t want to give in on and by the time we got home, I was pretty upset about it. Add to that all the other pressures I’ve been under lately and the fact that because of school/end of year events, my ENTIRE day was devoted to my children from the time I got up until we got home, late, from a school function and an unanticipated trip to the mall. I won’t bore you with the details.
Suffice it to say, by the time we walked in the front door, already 45 minutes past their bedtime with them still needing to be fed DINNER, I was fuming.
I let it all out and ended my diatribe by telling my daughter that I do and have done enough for her and that’s she’s not having the big birthday party this summer that she’s been nagging me about and that she is not allowed to ask me for ANYTHING.
It was ugly.
Then, I accidentally fumbled one of the three little Boboli pizzas I’d made for us and it landed face down on the bottom of the oven. Smoke filled my kitchen and I just wanted to cry.
And cry I did.
And then I said that I hated my life.
And sometimes, I probably really do.
Every day is the same. I work my ass off doing my job. Then I work my ass off for my kids and taking care of family business like grocery shopping, laundry, dinner and a million other things. Then I try to spend time with my husband, who invariably falls asleep on the couch so I get up and start working again. Then it’s making lunches, laying out clothes for the next day, signing the kids’ planners, loading the dishwasher and getting myself ready for bed so I can do it all over again the next day.
I get tired just thinking about it…
Regardless, I shouldn’t have said that in front of my kids.
I put them to bed shortly after that and said goodnight to my daughter without all the usual niceties. Just ‘goodnight’.
I feel bad about that, too.
I feel bad about the whole thing.
But I can’t deny that I meant all the things I said when I said them; that I’m sick of the infinite loop of requests, that I’m sick of being endlessly nagged about stuff, that she is selfish and doesn’t care about anyone but herself, that I’m exhausted by her.
And for once, something I said must have resonated because she apologized over and over. And I didn’t really respond. I just went about my business of making and ruining a pizza and losing my shit over it.
Because I am an asshole.
Then my husband called and I gave him a brief overview of what was going on and I’m sure he was sorry he called because who wants to hear all that when they’re off having fun in California?
Also? I had the house somewhat orderly and clean up until about 3-4 days ago, when things got really busy and crazy.
Normally, this wouldn’t bother me so much but whenever I go out of town, I come home and the house is really clean and it’s just so nice. But he’s going to come home and probably wish he’d missed his flight.
And I wouldn’t blame him.
But the fact that this is the stuff I’m thinking about is testament to how pathetic my life is.
If my house wasn’t such a cluttery mess to begin with, cleaning it up wouldn’t be such a big deal.
And this is where “Part II” begins…
I’m overextended in every conceivable way.
I have too much work to do and too many volunteer things for the kids. And of course, the obvious solution would be to cut back…but one, I like volunteering because then i know what’s going on with their activities. I want my kids’ school and extracurricular experiences to be good and they won’t be without volunteers so…I do it.
I am, it seems, a textbook martyr.
Who the f*ck has time to clean when they have martyrdom to pursue?
And then there’s the guilt with my son.
We’re reached a point in our family dynamic where my daughter’s life is front and center. Between scouts, tumbling (in preparation for cheer in July) and her whirlwind social life, almost every day is about her and not him.
Granted he is 6 and someday it will be all about him, too, but right now the guilt is gnawing at me like some kind of flesh-eating virus of the soul.
He gets dragged all over creation but it’s never for him. It’s always about her.
We also spend way too much time talking about HER life, which has been in a state of flux lately, duein large part to her age (lots of girl drama). The poor boy’s existence is completely eclipsed by his big sister and I hate myself for it.
I feel like I don’t get enough time with him and when I do spend time with him, it’s usually to do homework (always an unpleasant experience), to watch a TV show or when I put him to bed.
That’s not enough.
No wonder he prefers hanging out with his dad. And I’m not jealous. I’m glad they are bonded like they are. But I feel like I’m missing out on my baby’s life and one day, he’s going to be this big boy that I don’t even recognize and who will merely grunt at me before he disappears into his room for hours at a time.
I keep trying to find ways for us to spend time together but seriously, the minute we sit down to watch something together, I have to fight to stay awake. Children’s fare always has a sedating effect on me.
But if I try to take him to a movie or to do something fun without his sister, she gets upset that she’s not included, which is, admittedly, a perfectly normal reaction.
He always wants to have a friend over or have a playdate but most of his friends live far away (he attends a magnet school) or go to an after school program so it’s a lot harder to organize these things. He sees his sister always having friends over or going to their houses and he wants to do the same but it’s just not possible and I feel so f*cking bad about it.
And this ushers in Part III: The Peanut Incident & Dealing with the School
I’ll save that for next time because if you think THIS was long, Part III will seem like War and Peace.
Or maybe mostly just war.
And now it’s time to pack the lunches, lay out the clothes and a million other little things so I can get up and go back to school to help set up for a big party.
*head meets desk*