Some people have yo-yo dieting, yo-yo weight loss. We're used to those terms. I have yo-yo coping. Anybody else out there know what I'm talking about. Give me a holla! Ugh. Today was one of those days. How did it even get started? I woke up pumped to have another day before school started because I needed it. The house is trashed, I feel out of control. Instead of starting with the main level of the house that I ALWAYS START WITH, I decided I needed to tackle our bathroom. I will embarass my husband if I say anything more than it has been a while since it was properly cleaned and we needed it. I just wanted to make it sparkle. It's a very big, nice bathroom actually. But it's also the most used bathroom in the house most of the time and when it gets buried like that, it's hard to remember it's a nice bathroom.
Everyone else in the house was goofing off on their day off. But I knew that if i spent all my time in this secluded bathroom, by the time I went back downstairs it was going to kill me. Because when I say our house is trashed, I really do mean it. And it was in such a state that just thinking about it was stressing me out. So I went downstairs to tell the kids they were in charge of picking up the main level. But the boys had just started a board game. I definitely didn't want to make them put it all away since they had just set it up ten minutes ago. So I told them they had until a certain time and then they needed to get started with some jobs. They were appropriately grateful. Some other people started right away on jobs, other people procrastinated.
Meanwhile, the whole entire time that I was cleaning in my bathroom, I am getting interrupted by little girls screaming and crying and fighting with each other and tattling. I gave them jobs to do to keep them busy and they fought about that, too. I was losing patience. Nevertheless i was so caught up in scrubbing the bathroom that I lost track of time. When I came back downstairs everything was just as trashed as ever. The boys were still playing their game even though it was well past the time I had given them. Still, they were so close to being done at that point that I told them to go ahead and finish.
By now it was lunch time and I had an appointment at 1pm. I knew everyone was hungry. The little kids had been whining about food for several hours already. But there was no way I could face feeding that many people. I couldn't face even walking into the kitchen. So I ditched. I totally bailed. I made sure everyone knew their assignment and then I left for my appointment early. Just to get the heck out of there because I couldn't stand one more minute of it.
When I came back, slow progress had been made. But Pink and Wink were still fighting. Someone had spilled milk on the carpet. Pinkleberry had broken the molding on our built-in entertainment center from yesterday's fun time of fort building. Kelvinator was doing his best in the kitchen. But I knew he was going to need help. I mean, if the job made a 40 year old woman weak in the knees what was she expecting from her 10 year old?
So I walked in and started to help him. But I felt it happening. I felt myself sinking into that not coping state. I felt the turbulent emotions inside. I heard the nasty thoughts about myself. I started choking up at the sink thinking about the two homes we had been in this weekend. Both homes had 8 children. In the first home, their kids are younger than us. They are where we were about 4 years ago. And their home was neat and tidy, welcoming and comforting, peaceful and quiet. It was relaxing to be there. I looked at all their family photos on the walls and cute little crafts that made things feel homey and cozy. In the second home, their youngest kids are teenagers. So that's where we'll be in another 8 years. We came a little earlier than expected and were invited in as their family was just getting ready to have a family prayer. Again, the house was neat and clean and warm and comfortable. There were about 7 or 8 of them home and we came in and knelt down in prayer with them before our meeting started. When we left, the mom gave us a plate of mint brownies.
So I'm sitting there washing dishes with a huge lump in my throat thinking about that, you know? Anytime we know people are coming over, it requires a day or two of constant cleaning to be ready to receive people. Which is why we don't ever invite people over. And if someone did come by to our door early, they wouldn't find our family relaxed in the living room just enjoying each other's company. They would find us stressed out and frantically trying to make our home look habitable And I just hated it. I hate looking around my house and feeling stressed out and overwhelmed and like I just want to get out. I hate going to other people's home and feeling a level of relaxation and comfort and peace that does not exist in the place where I spend my days.
And then Kelvinator didn't know where to put the dishes and was asking me questions and everybody still wanted to be fed and even after I showed Kelvinator where something went he told me there wasn't enough room for it there and for PETE'S SAKE can people just get things done? Can someone just see what needs doing and DO IT without asking me a million questions??? So I took all those things and threw them where they went and made them fit, slamming cupboards the entire time.
And other kids would probably have just ignored me, but I saw the look on my sensitive Kelvinator's face. I saw the surprise and then how tentative and helpful he was trying to be and how he kept thanking me and basically walking on egg shells around me. I tried to settle down as I am still standing there washing a million gajillion dishes. How did we go through that many dishes in just 2.5 days? And why won't our dishwasher work? I mean, technically it runs. And it's a great dishwasher. It just doesn't get dishes clean. And Baboo looks down on me because I'm not the type of woman who pre-washes dishes. All the good families do it the right way by rinsing their dishes and putting them in the dishwasher right away. She thinks less of me because I don't do that. I would love to do that. Honestly, I can't guarantee the dishwasher is going to be empty at any given time. I don't like it when she looks at me like I'm a loser.
Pinkleberry and Winkleberry are still fighting and yelling at each other and tattling. Then they made a huge mess in a room that a big kid just cleaned. They wouldn't clean it up. So I have to stop what I'm doing and ask them to clean it up. Pinkleberry throws a fit saying she didn't make the mess. And I don't care who made the mess, just clean it up. But she just keeps saying that she didn't make the mess. So I told her she wasn't welcome to live in our house if she wasn't willing to help out. And I put her outside. It might be 25 degrees right now. But I threw her out. Because apparently that's what you do when you're not coping. I washed a few more dishes before I went out there and told her she could come back in when she was willing to help. She wasn't willing so I threw her her coat. I'm sure that that's not really going to be helpful for all the other issues we've been having with her. I mean, how far of a setback did I just create? But I am so fatigued from having to be 100% on every single time I interact with her. It's been so hard and required so much energy.
By now people are being really solicitous. I had already yelled at Mack not to talk to me about food anymore because I was still washing all the dishes from all the food they had already eaten and if he had any questions he better go ask one of the teens. I couldn't even stand to hear the word "mom". Hearing it just made me suck in my breath and tense up. Mom. All it means is that some other human being needs you to do something for them. Probably right now. Regardless of whether they could do it for themselves or not. And whatever it is, it's going to be disgusting, hard or endlessly time consuming. And if it's not one of those things, then that means that you'll hear the word "mom" at least 17 times in the next 3 minutes.
But everybody is being really nice now. Do you want me to sweep? Do you want me to mop? And all I can think is why do you have to wait until I have completely lost my mind for this? Instead of waiting until I am acting like a demon from the underworld, if people were this nice and helpful two hours ago or two days ago, maybe we could have prevented my entire melt down!
So I'm trying to be nice. Still have that lump in my throat. Still feel like a loser. Because really. Why can't I have a household run like these other two great families with 8 kids? What is wrong with me? I have no leadership skills whatsoever. Seriously when it's time to clean up, I dig in myself. But it's usually the Hubba or one of the teenagers who gets the little kids going and moving. I just stand there doing dishes.
I get so burned out that I can never quite catch up. I mean, I work and work and work and work and work my butt off so that by the time I'm ALMOST to that point where it will be easier to maintain with less effort, I can't keep it up. I have to catch my breath, take a break. And when that happens, you lose control. I can't keep up that level of effort. So I don't. So we just live like this. Until mom freaks out.
I can't tell you how much I want a break. I want a getaway vacation. I want to laze around and not think about food or meals or homework or making sure laundry is done so people can get dressed. I don't want to worry about transportation or scheduling or who needs the car when. I don't want to see this house and all the repairs it needs. I want to just sit on the beach with a nice drink and a book and somebody else bringing me food. Except I can't actually imagine that that would help anything. Not like I'd have a few days of that and then feel the itch to get back and start serving people for the whole rest of my life 24/7.
Anyway, I pretty much ensured that today was the worst holiday possible for my kids. That's just the kind of mom I am. The kind of mom who couldn't stand to see her kids dirtying more dishes from lunch and so finally gave into the pity party and decided to blog.