Saturday, December 27, 2008

Self indulgent to be sure

I need to blog. Need. Sure, I have a million things I need to document – Ray’s verbal explosion, Noah’s memorization of the colors of his bathtub alphabet, questioning of the world and it’s workings, and preschool enrollment for the Fall, and of course all the Christmas shenanigans and hullabaloo. But the reason I’m here blogging is because of an overwhelming need I have to unload, to reveal, to share – about me.

I’ve been having a really hard time for a couple of weeks now. Or longer. I’m not exactly sure when it started. And I can’t pin it to one thing. It’s a bunch of things.

Winter depresses me these days. The season of sickness and entombment. The cold, the colds and the seclusion. It’s harder to get out of the house because it’s uncomfortable to just merely be outside. My skin is dry and itchy and my body cries out for just a little bit of sun.

Christmas makes me a bit blue. The constant struggle between the practicalities of Christmas – all that needs to be planned and bought and done – and what I feel like it should really should be – the selfless giving, thoughtfulness and mere enjoyment of each others company.

My Janette is moving away. My best friend from college, my bridesmaid, my guardian angel. To me she’s always been this incredibly positive force – this generous, loving, peaceful person with nary a mean bone in her body who inspires me to be less cynical. And we share a bond now that I share with noone else – she is my only pre-child friend (so she knows me for things other than being a Mom, understands me and still likes me) who is also home with her children. She knows exactly what I’m going through. I can tell her things about my daily struggles and know that she will instantly understand, sympathize and not pass judgment. And she’s moving to Maine. It really is heartbreaking. Yes, there is email, and twitter, and there will be vacations. But that really isn’t the same. Not nearly.

And of course that is the heart of the matter. Or the what’s the matter. My daily struggles. I AM BURNT OUT. I am overextended. I am not at my best. And I need to fix it. Fast. But I haven’t a clue as to how to do it without compromising my values.

I have made a commitment to myself, to my husband, to my kids – to make sacrifices. To put what I might want aside for the greater good – for the good of my children. And I am happy to do that. Proud to do that. It’s important to me. To us. But just making a decision to sacrifice doesn’t necessarily make every moment easy. It can still weigh you down, especially over time. I haven’t done much of anything for myself in over four years. And it’s taken a toll. Have I taken it too far? Yes. Obviously. Because I’m constantly snapping. Not so much at the kids, because I try really hard to keep that in check, but sometimes even that fails. But I am snapping at everyone else. My husband chief among them. He’s often just trying to help me and I end up biting his head off. I yell at him because I can’t yell at the kids. Because I’m boiling over and strung out.

I need to do something for myself. And I need to figure out how to manage doing it. And in my mind I need to figure out the bare minimum of what I need so as not to upset our life too much or be too self indulgent. Maybe it’s as small as actually sticking to getting out of the house for two hours a week to take a yoga class – but even that proved so difficult a couple of months ago.

Of course the big follow-up question is WHY on earth in the midst of this am I still trying to get pregnant and have a third? It took two years between the time we started trying to conceive a second and the day Ray was born – and there are many ups and downs in two years so I don’t think my current low point says much of anything about what things will look like a year or two from now. And though I totally realize that having three small children will be stressful, more stressful than having two, and require at least the same amount of sacrifice if not more, I know that in the long run I want a larger family and I am willing to pay the piper upfront. I try to think of my life looking forward and keep in mind what I want the end result to be and not to get too mired down in the now when making the big decisions.

But of course in this now I need help. Help from myself. I need to find a balance between the kind of attachment parenting I do naturally and what I need to do to keep some semblance of a ME. I need a calm center, a place to breathe. And once I find that place again hopefully it will be all that much easier to hold on to, or get back to. No matter how many kids I have.

I want to be a happier person. A less grumpy person. A less stressed out to the gills biting the heads off of the people she loves person.

And there you have it. End system dump.


MC said...

I have also been on that side of the fence...with the winter blues and the crankiness and the yelling-at-the-husband, and I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you. You are doing the hardest job in the world, being a SAHM, and you are doing a great job...the proof is in your awesome kids! But you do definitely need some time for yourself as well...I hope you find the answer!

Reading your blog and tweets and FB updates, though, I am in awe of you. You do so much and do it so well! Hope this is just a bump in the road!

Kathryn said...

I SO understand. My release now is when Ellis is at pre-school and I have those six hours a week where I self impose doing nothing for anyone else. No exceptions.

Of course with two, it isn't that simple.

Before pre-school my life saver was the YMCA drop in child care. It's inexpensive and always there. Even though I was forced to exercise during that break, it was much needed, and could be as long or as short as I wanted.

I think you're doing an amazing, amazing job as a mom and wife. And I hope you can find a way to nourish yourself as well as you nourish your boys because you truly deserve it as much as they do.


Wendy Hitch said...

That is pretty funny that we both blogged about the same thing, although you are so much more eloquent than I am. I am sure that what we are going through is perfectly normal and that as long as we follow up on trying to carve out some time for ourselves, things will start looking up.
All the same, it is comforting to know that I am not alone. We can help each other through this.

lonna said...

Oh Nicole, I don't know what to say, but I want you to know that I hear you. Everything that I want to tell you, you already know. The problem is getting it done. I was going through this last year and I am not a SAHM. I felt that "me" had disappeared. I have no hobbies, and I do nothing other than work and spend time with family at home. I hate to admit this, but exercise has really helped. I go to the basement every morning before the boys wake up and I have 45 minutes of pure me time. Exercise is also the best de-stresser out there. It really helps even out my moods throughout the day. When I don't do it, I can tell. I know that I don't need to say this, but you're a better mother when you're happier in your own skin. You also need to let Mark take over some so you can refuel. That's so much easier said than done, and I know that he's committed to helping you out if you took advantage of that. I work one night a week, and Dermot and Ethan have a whole night by themselves. They have created a whole special routine that they do each night. It might be helpful to think of it from that point of view too. Good luck, and remember to blog/vent whenever you need to.

Stine said...

I think it was very brave to post this, and I commend you for it.

I think Christmas can have that effect on many people, so know you are not alone.

Your honesty and intention to move into the future no matter what inspires me.