When You Realize You’re In A Rut

I guess it takes getting outside of the rut to realize you were in one.  The problem is when you realize that you inevitably have to go back into the rut.  Once you’re back in… how do you cope?  How do you deal with the memories outside the rut and how much better you felt?  Here, let me explain…

This past weekend I went away with a couple of my lady friends.  We spent a great weekend in the city doing fun, geeky things.  We went a Comic Con type event, we ate great food, we relaxed, we had alcohol, and we danced, and we sang.  It felt great.  I even wore makeup every day and fixed my hair, and wore grown up clothes.

Now I’m back to being mommy.  I answer to the call of the wild humans who control my every moment of daylight.  I do not eat hot food, I do not change out of my pajamas, and I do not rest.  I am back in my rut.  It feels awful to say, but I am.  Even though I’m feeling better emotionally lately (less depression and anxiety), I still feel trapped.  Trapped by the mundane, trapped by the eating schedule, the sleep schedule, the constant neediness that is children.  It’s not their fault they are like this, it’s just how they are, but once you’ve tasted the freedom of the past…. it feels like you’re having to go back to wearing chains.

I’ve even begun to wonder if maybe my husband is bored with me.  Does he hate the mundane life that has been created here too?  Is that why he is always up for guys nights and golf weekends and basketball?  I have always understood, but I guess I really get it now.  The problem with this is that I’m never unsatisfied with my time with my husband. He is my source of calm, of normalcy, of peace.  I’d have the same night with him a million times, then a million more after that, and never get bored.  But my husband is a different person than I am.  He enjoys me (I hope), and he loves the time we spend together (I think), but I know he needs more.  That’s why he  plays around with developing apps, and plays video games after I crash for the night.

I have other things I like to do too, of course.  I crochet and I write, but by the time I’m done spending my quality time with my husband, I’m exhausted.  I guess I could blame life in general for this (kids are crazy exhausting), but I think it’s more my thyroid disorder than anything.  So my day is spent with the kids for 14 hours, then 1.5 hours with my husband, then I sleep.  There is no time to crochet or write… there is nothing left of me.  I’m a mommy and i’m a wife, and nothing else.  I guess this is why I find myself constantly on my phone during the day looking at Pinterest and Instagram.  My way of gazing out the window of my phone into other peoples lives.  People who have time to create, to write, to imagine.

I know one day things will be different.  The kids will be older and in school, then eventually they won’t want anything to do with me…. but that’s not what I want either.  It’s like I somehow want to live in this rut, but be able to fully enjoy it.  To make the rut comfy and happy and new, but I just can’t figure out how to do it.  Maybe venturing outside the rut a little more often can give me the necessary daylight and air to replenish my spirit and give me the strength to fill my rut with love… then, maybe, it just won’t be a rut anymore, but more of just a divot in the road.  A small little something that once tripped me up on my way through life.

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Can You “Do It All?”

I don’t want to know if it’s possible to “have it all.”  That honestly sounds pretty silly to me.  First of all, who wants that much shit?  Second of all, there is a never ending line of things being made, invented, and dreamed up every second of every day.  So, what does “having it all” really mean?  No, my question is something different entirely.  Can you actually do it all?

Can you actually have time to take care of kids, spend time with your husband, clean the house (dishes, toys, vacuum), do the laundry, go to the grocery store, make all of the meals, shower, bathe the kids, change diapers, take the kid to preschool, pick the kid up from preschool, play with the kids, do something you love (crafting, painting, reading), sleep, and still be a happy person?  If so, how?

I feel like a good first step for me is to sit back and really consider being a minimalist. Now, I already consider myself to be a semi-minimalist.  I don’t buy anything extra, but I have relatives who believe that if they don’t buy me and the kids things, all the time, that it means they don’t love us.  I’m not sure where this type of thinking comes into play.  I like giving gifts so very much, but even I don’t think you need ten gifts for every special occasion, and two on Tuesdays.

My mother in law is the worst.  It’s actually an addiction for her.  She’s completely addicted to shopping.  She will spend $400 on clothes for the kids a month, and the same amount on toys.  I’ve begged her to stop.  My husband has begged her.  My father in law has given her an endless amount of crap for it, but yet she persists.  She will visit, randomly, on a Friday and bring my daughter three new toys and my son one.  Even though our house is overflowing with things they don’t play with.  You cannot walk two inches without stepping on a toy.  Yet my kids are bored, or over stimulated, or something.  They hate it as much as I do, but I keep putting things out.  Why?  So I don’t offend her.  She shows her love through giving…. but what the kids really need her to give it time.

The biggest problem I’ve had since moving into the neighborhood with my in-laws is that their relationship with my kids is not the same relationship I had with my grandparents.  I was always with my grandparents (my grandmother mostly), or they were always with me.  They wanted to spend time with us, and even though my grandmother is a world class shopper, she almost never bought us toys.  She’d buy us clothes (ugh, boooring), and then send us outside to climb trees or play basketball, then we’d come in for dinner.  She was always there for us, and we’d spend hours everyday sitting on the porch, talking and swinging in the big porch swing.  These are my fondest memories.  I can name one thing she bought for me when I was younger, and that’s because it’s sitting in my bedroom right now, 25 years later.  It’s a wooden trunk, and it now holds books for my kids.  That’s it.

This is the kind of relationship I want my kids to have with their grandparents.  I want them to remember wagon rides around the neighborhood, and playing softball in the back yard.  I want them to remember dinners, and snuggles, and laughing.  I don’t want them to think of their grandparents as the gift givers.   Although my daughter now says “I’m going to ask grandma to get that for me” every time she sees a commercial for a new toy.  And you know what… if grandma is around when she sees that commercial, she will have that toy within the next two days.

So, what do I do?  How do I unburden myself from this weight?  How do I take the biggest problem, the biggest collection of junk strewn about my house, and make it disappear?  How do I get this one thing off of my plate so that I can take clean up time and put it towards family time?  What can I do besides offend someone who thinks this is how you show love?  Is there a fix for this that won’t hurt her feelings?  Or hurt our relationship?  Something has to give, and it has to be soon.

Oh, To Be A Mother…

When I was growing up, I knew I didn’t want to have kids.  I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.  I didn’t enjoy having to take care of someone else, as I learned when I would have to watch my sister.  I didn’t like playing make believe for ten hours, as I learned when my cousin was growing up.  I didn’t like the responsibility of taking care of a living being.  I didn’t even like having a pet dog, which my parents always decided was a good idea, but left me to take care of.

I dated in high school and college, a little. Nothing more than a couple weeks.  Nothing serious.  No thoughts of babies.  I knew I wanted to be married someday though.  That I knew for sure, but no kids.  I met my husband, and fell instantly in love.  I am not exaggerating.  I knew the instant I saw him.  Within a few weeks, or months, we talked to each other about our hopes for the future.  Not involving each other, per say, but just our general hopes.  Did I want kids? No.  Did he?  Yes.  How many?  Two.  Crap, well, now I want to have this mans babies.  Crap.

So, along we went. Dating for three years, marriage, infertility.  Suddenly, after IVF, a baby!  A beautiful baby girl.  I was happy, for a while. Until I wasn’t.  She required so much from me.  I felt drained, I felt like I would never have any part of myself back.  I was just a mom now, with a little wife on the side.  But me?  I was gone.

The depression started when my daughter was about 14 months old.  This is when I knew for sure that there would not be anymore babies.  My husband agreed.  Our daughter was perfect, but more babies wasn’t the right move for us.  Although there was one month when I was in, what I suppose would be referred to as a “manic episode” when we decided to go talk to the RE about doing an FET.  I was ready.  Until a few days later, when i realized I absolutely was not ready.  Never would be.  What was I thinking?  Had I completely lost my mind?

That was April.  July 16th I learned I was pregnant.  I was devastated.  I wanted to be happy, I really did, but I wasn’t.  I was scared.  I was so unhappy all the time. The depression had been so critical that I had to have my in-laws take care of my daughter on multiple occasions because I just couldn’t do it.  I’d sit in my bed and cry about how much I hated my life, how horrible of a mother I was, how I was letting my husband down.  Now we were going to have another one?  How?  Why?

A long time has passed since then.  My son is now 11 months old.  I love him, more than I can possibly say, but to say that I’m happy would be wrong.  I am constantly battling these inner demons that seem to be whispering “you’ll never do anything ever again except take care of kids and clean.” That’s it.  That’s my life.  I spend my days waiting for nap time.  Then i hold my breath until my son is asleep.  My daughter will read books for two hours if she doesn’t sleep, so she’s no problem at all.  If he doesn’t nap, I lose it.  All the sudden the walls close in on me, and I feel like I’m going to drown. I just need that time to decompress.  To sit in quiet.  To stare at the wall.  Not to hear someone yelling or crying.  I don’t want to have to pick up more toys, fetch more snack, change more diapers, watch more cartoons.

I know it will get easier.  This baby stage is so hard, so constant.  He needs me, and I understand that.  I’m glad to be there for him, most of the time, but there comes a point in every day where I just can’t muster up the desire to be a mom anymore.  When I wish I was anywhere else at that moment.  When I wish with all my heart that my husband was home with me, that we could parent together, so that I wouldn’t feel trapped and outnumbered.

It will get easier.  It will get easier.  It will get easier.

Maybe tomorrow I will do better.  Maybe tomorrow I will love harder.  Maybe tomorrow I won’t cry.  Maybe tomorrow it will get easier.