Insanity

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat at this computer writing to anyone who will read. Partially because we really DON’T live a very interesting life, and I run out of things to say, but also because this life is crazy.

Having a “crazy” life in parenting terms doesn’t really mean the same as having a crazy life pre-kids. Not by a long shot. It’s just that crazy is the only descriptor that works for it. Isn’t there a quote floating around, *supposedly* by Albert Einstein that says something like “‘crazy’ is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results”? It’s so, so apt for parenting, even if old Bert didn’t say it.

I get up in the morning, usually after being up FAR too late with my children, or sometimes to escape my children, and I say the same thing: “today is a new day”. But that’s where my particular brand of crazy begins. Because while it may be a new day, I’ll be doing basically the exact same things I do every day, and hoping against hope that today will be less hectic.

For example, every meal that I feed my children goes exactly the same way. Because I feed them. And because they seem to think that’s something I do for funsies, and not because they need the sustenance they’re both oh-so-sneakily handing off to whichever 4-legged friend will participate in the game. But I keep feeding them the same way, mostly because that’s not really optional, but I keep hoping against hope that today will be the day they calm the eff down. If we could survive with zero food, I’m guessing half of the moms in the world would just be like “eh. We’ll skip food for this ridiculous stage and pick this back up when they’re 11 or 12, when they’re ready to develop an unhealthy relationship with comfort food, like I have.” In fact, I’m sure of it. But here I am, gearing up to ask these heathens what they want for lunch.

I also do the dishes, like some of you out there. Occasionally. And every time, I’m like, this is it! My house will stay clean for forever because I did one load of dishes. I consider buying a cape for the occasion, because doing a load of dishes with small “helpers” in the house seems super human. Then breakfast, lunch,  dinner, snacks, other various dish-related nonsense happens. And since I’m too busy wrestling food from an animal or scrubbing a child that felt like food was actually finger paint, the dishes remain unwashed. Then, night rolls around and I stare around my house, wondering how this could’ve happened. Where did all these dishes come from?  How could I have let the house implode in just a day? Oh, wait.

You see, I really am an intelligent person (most days), but parenting and existing are things that don’t intermingle that well in my mind. I can’t seem to figure out how to do this parenting thing without losing my crap completely. I look at people with older children and I don’t understand how they made it that far without being locked in a padded cell for a bit, you know, just a little respite.

Just admit it, it doesn’t sound that bad to you, does it?

All these mistakes I’ve made…

Let’s just face it. As parents, we fail. We fail, and fail, and fail. We succeed, too, but sometimes our triumphs are marred by all these other mistakes we make. I’m not talking about like… Your kid going to Harvard vs going to prison kind of triumphs and pitfalls. I’m talking about all this day to day nonsense that just keeps coming, like an endless, angry train, threatening to collide straight into any sense of normalcy you might’ve once had.

To make you feel better, I’ve decided to share what will certainly be the downfall of my sanity. So, without further ado, my most upsetting mistakes as a parent:

  1. Handing my one year old a muffin. This may seem innocent enough, but the repercussions of this mistake will be felt for years to come. When we move, many moons from now, this mistake will be felt in the stares of volunteers/loved ones, come to uproot our old life with us. They’ll stare because it will be found in our couch, in the corners of every room, and smeared somewhere that shouldn’t have been accessible to her, at a mere 30 inches tall. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have cleaned many times since this incident, but it won’t matter. The joy of moving will have been ruined in one fell swoop. A crumby (get it?) end to an era.
  2. “We probably won’t need it”. This is one mistake I make over and over and over again. You see, I’m an overpacker. And my tendency to bring everything but the kitchen sink with me means I’m also habitually ditching said stuff to be left in the car because it’s just too much to deal with. This backfires on me exactly 100% of the time. Because I do this, roughly 85% of our outings end in me losing my patience & us leaving before we should. Or end with me covered in poop. Either way, I don’t know why I keep making my own life so hellish.
  3. Having a late dinner. Why, why, why? Why anyone thinks this is a good idea with children is beyond me. It starts so seemlessly. Engrossed in something else, the children will be little angels. For a time. Inevitably, when we decide it’s time to eat, our children will commence in what is likely similar to summoning demons. “Witching hour” does not do justice to the chaos & disaster that unfolds the moment a pan hits the stove. For the remainder of our cooking and eating experience, our house becomes a free-for-all, where my children turn into miniature versions of Mike Tyson circa 1997, complete with ear-biting. It’s like their one mission in life is to see if they can break their parents before they’re served what is clearly prison mush in their eyes. It will be an utter failure, and everyone will eat canned soup.
  4. Taking children to my doctor’s appointment. The last time I made this mistake, I took both of my children, then 9 months (R) and 2.75 years (L), to the eye doctor with me to get contacts. Frankly, the memory has me cringing. When L wasn’t slamming into the eye checker machine thing (we’ll pretend that’s what it’s called), R was screaming. Aggressively. L became convinced that the doctor was attempting to murder me, via eyeball. R started throwing things. And in a spectacular ending to the hour that went on for years, L decided that she needed to pee, and without any sort of warning, dropped trou in the middle of the office, for everyone to see, while I only had one contact in my eye. Neat. By the time we left, I was certain I was 2 minutes from a breakdown.

 

 

The list of mistakes is long, but I have to say, these are my most painful. They may seem small, but I will carry the sorrow and regret from these experiences with me until I die.

Dear Childless Friends of my Past.

To all my childless friends from my pre-baby days:

First and foremost, I’m sorry. Very sorry.

I’m sorry if it seems purposeful that I’ve fallen out of your lives. Trust me, it wasn’t. You see, 3 years ago, I took on this grueling job. A job that I mistakenly thought would allow me more free time than I am actually afforded. In short, working overtime is a joke in comparison to the hours I’m actually spending putting real effort into these little people who rely on me. I have so little free time, that I frequently go days without having even the smallest window in which to take a 5 minute shower, let alone to socialize with adults that aren’t directly in the area of my home.

I’m sorry that my sleep deprivation and literal constant effort toward the smallest things in my life has made it difficult for me to remember to reach out when I should, or to keep up on the comings and goings of your lives. I am very rarely coherent enough to even have a real conversation with my husband, let alone remember how normal people socialize without making it super awkward.

I’m sorry that the parenting path I’ve chosen means that I don’t send my kids to a babysitter or family member to spend time out of the house. It’s not that I look down on anyone who does, but I have literal panic attacks for every moment that I’m away from them, and R is a very difficult child who endlessly cries around others, something that makes watching her a very unpleasant task that I’m loath to throw upon anyone who values sanity.

 

Second of all, I really miss you all.

It may seem silly to say, as it probably seems like I’m doing nothing, and therefore have plenty of time to see anyone. But it’s hard. It’s hard to reach out when all I have to offer to a conversation is a story about children you don’t really know. It’s hard to reach out when I know that you all have other things going on, and the spare moments I have often coincide with your busiest times. It’s hard to reach out when I’m so emotionally drained that I don’t know how to feel feelings.

But I do miss you. I miss being part of your day to day experiences. I miss being someone you want to share things with. I miss just having people who know that I’m a human outside of being a mother.

 

This isn’t really about me suddenly realizing I haven’t been a part of your lives, but rather by a confrontation I recently had with an old friend who accused me of not being a good friend since I started this journey into motherhood. I’d like you to know, it was never my intention. Truly, I’d love to be a friend that someone can count on to listen, and care, and reach out in hard times.

But right now, all of my energy is going to my kids. They only have one mother, and one small period of time when they need me so much, while you have lots of other friends still capable of being there for you, thankfully. I have a big job to do with them, and I only hope that you will still be there to reconnect when I reach the other side of this endlessly needy stage of their short childhoods. In the meantime, I’ll be wishing you all the happiness in the world and hoping that you’re out there achieving the same joy in your lives as being with my kids brings me.

Planning and crying.

With the coming of Independence Day, comes the realization that I have less than a month before my babies are 1 and 3. Their birthdays are 6 days apart, so we’ll be having a shared party, as much for me as for them. I’m not sure any of us could handle two parties in quick succession. But as I begin finalizing the plans for their party, my joy is shaded with sadness.

R will be our last baby, and though I’m 100% happy with our decision to keep our family the way it is, there is an inevitable grief that comes with the end of baby days. With her first birthday, she’ll be a baby no more, and I’ll have to come to terms with the fact that my girls are growing quicker than I’m ready for.

This past year has been harder than I anticipated. I didn’t slide as gracefully into motherhood of two children as I did with just one. The transition from being equaled by L to being outnumbered all day was hard on me. To top it off, R was a colicky baby, and L was just a bit too young to really understand why we were spending 100% of our days trying to calm down a screaming newborn, when just a month ago, she’d simply had a mom with a huge stomach and all my attention. Together, they were hard to handle. Really hard. Tears on a daily basis kind of hard.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that with both girls, I suffered from postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. I was struggling just to get out of bed, then struggling to keep going, then struggling to sleep. It was 24 hours a day, and seemed endless. B was also working 6 days a week to keep us comfortable, instead of just scraping by. Everything about this first year with R was difficult. And now that I look back, I’m really sad that we didn’t appreciate more of our time with them. But I’m also really excited about the new phase that we’re entering, so that’s making it a bit easier to swallow.

I absolutely ADORE that 18 month age group. It’s by far the best, in my opinion. I can’t wait to watch R’s personality develop, and I can’t wait to see how L accepts R’s ability to keep up with her now.

So with this birthday, I’m going to have to try really hard to keep it together and focus on all the good times that we’re about to have as a family. I can’t wait to watch these little girls grow up, but I wish I could slow down the clock a bit.

I think these next few weeks are going to go way faster than I’m prepared for, and I’m just over here trying not to feel all the feels in the meantime. Wish me luck with that. *insert skeptical side eye*

Hello.

I suck at doing things like promoting myself or telling people about the things I’m doing, so I guess my choice to make a Facebook page for this site was a meager attempt at getting people to share this stuff. Ya know, make you all do the work for me, because I’m awkward and a weirdo. So, if you all are feeling inclined to share my stuff, by all means, do it. Here’s the Facebook page, if you want updates on the blog, and maybe just our life in general.

Click here for the Facebook page.

Anyway, I haven’t really done anything about me, specifically, and I guess I’m thinking it’s time to tell all of you about myself.

 

First of all, I’m 26. I’ve never really had very many friends, and I’ve always been kind of introverted, so the few people I would call my friends aren’t even people I know. They’re women from a few local mom groups who I seem to click with, but never really do anything with. I’m also just about the nerdiest of the nerds. I absolutely love to read. I love historical documentaries. I spend my rare freetime playing games like The Sims (I’m a die hard Sims fan). I’m also weirdly obsessed with both the Holocaust and medieval times. Grim, eh? Before kids, I played tennis and skied on occasion, but I’m a severe homebody, so as I got older, that became pretty infrequent.

I’m also incredibly stubborn. To those who really know me, I’m incredibly argumentative. I’m impatient in a big, bad way, and impulsive. My husband is a very lucky man. I have some pretty heavy social and general anxiety, so I’m a pretty high-strung person in general. I’m also a pessimist and I enjoy being sarcasm more than anything in the world. But I’d say my best trait is my determination. Now that I write all of this out, it feels more like a rap sheet, but I swear, in my eyes, all of these traits are good ones. Except for the anxiety. I could do without that nonsense from time to time.

I had my kids at 23 and 25. My first kid was very, very unexpected. My second was super planned. We’re officially done having kids, and I have not an ounce of baby fever. I always wanted kids, even from a young age, and even though it’s been a lot different than I would have expected, it’s been the best experience of my life. My kids are my happiness. They bring me so much joy, and I live to see the way they maneuver and conquer their world.  I love our family the way it is, and I’m happy that my kids came to me in the ways they did. I couldn’t have written this chapter any better if I tried.

 

As you all know, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and there are times that it feels like that’s all that defines me. But writing this all out, I’m remembering there is a lot more to me. So, thanks for reading. This blog has done good things for my mental health, and I’m grateful each time someone takes the time so read.

Grocery shopping is a nightmare.

I don’t do it often, but on occasional I become so delusional that I believe I can manage grocery shopping with 2 small kids. Grocery shopping with my little heathens is clearly well outside the scope of my parenting abilities. It’s been proven to me every time I attempt it. And for some stupid reason, I keep coming back for more.

My grocery shopping experience has 4 stages:

  • Over-confidence: As we pull up to the store, children smiling, sippy cups in hand, Starbucks in tow, I’m feeling pretty good. This is usually the point where I’m telling myself a number of lies, centered around the fact that past failures were just a fluke. We’re going to be just fine today. -Insert eye roll so heavy I can see my brain- As we enter the store with my list in hand, cart chock-full of small people, and hair quickly reaching homeless-level dishevelment just from the sheer effort of wrestling both kids from a car seat and into a cart, I begin seeing my flaw. This is where step two comes in.
  • Errors have been made: My toddler is tearing up all the things I put in the cart, or handing them up to her baby sister to gnaw violently on, while she lets out her first of many war cries. I soon realize this is not going to work, and that said toddler will need to walk. Remember, it will be FINE. Let’s get her on the floor. “No, wait, don’t slam that man’s cart into his own shin! Please don’t run to the next aisle! Put that back on the shelf! That’s not ours, hand that back to the woman you stole it from, please! Don’t eat that off the floor! Don’t lick the floor, either! You have to go potty again?!” Why didn’t I bring a carrier? Why didn’t I foresee this? How many mistakes must I make? Why does the baby cry at the worst possible time? Great, she pooped her pants.
  • F*!k this: This is about the time that I start making statements like “If you can’t be nice, we can’t get your chocolate almond milk” or “Fine, then we’re putting it all back and leaving with nothing”. This is literally the most stupid thing I’ve ever said, because anyone who knows me (my own kids included) knows I refuse to leave that store until everything I need is in my cart. I’m just not capable of walking away from work I’ve already done. So they call my bluff. Again and again and again. And I make weak threats that no one gives two sh!ts about. And then I rage-weep, and I walk through the aisles, corralling my monsters and ignoring hateful stares while L piles unnecessary crap into the cart, that I’ll eventually need to re-route to return to it’s home.
  • I’m never, ever doing this again: When we get to the cart, no less than 5 hours from the time we arrived, looking broken, feeling pretty butthurt/murderous, I vow, THIS will be the end. THIS was the last straw. THIS is the lesson I needed. Now I just need to get us home in a route that bypasses anything that MIGHT sell chicken nuggets. As I do so, I convince myself that no matter how hungry we are, it can wait the 8 hours of my husband’s work shift. This IS the last time.

 

I’m not a particularly stupid person, so I rarely take my kids to the store with me if I can avoid it. But I might be a little crazy, because I keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I’m at the point where I’m unsure if I’ll ever be able to take them into public places before they reach adulthood. It seems unlikely.

I’ve heard it before, and every time it’s been said to me, I laugh hysterically in my head at it, that if you just keep taking them out, they eventually learn to behave in public. Based on my experiences, my children level up in ridiculousness each time we pull into a Kroger parking lot. So, to those of you who look like hot messes in the grocery store… Solidarity. It’s all I have to offer. And those of you who pretend to have your crap together, please don’t judge the rest of us when we look like fools. Best wishes to my fellow parents trying not to fall apart in a Giant Eagle.

Activities with small children.

We’ve passed around cold after nasty cold this spring, resulting in a ton of time indoors when it would’ve been lovely to get out & see the world. We’re finally on the upswing of a particularly nasty bout of plague, so today, my husband’s day off, we decided to get out & do something fun.

We frequent the zoo (our zoo is one of the best in the country), and we basically live at our local science center, but today called for something new & special. My bright idea was mini golf, and since we have a Games & Golf fun center nearby, we decided that was as good an activity as any. It was a lovely 75 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze, so the perfect day for it.

We loaded up and headed there. We popped the 10 month old in the baby carrier on my back, paid for our golf, grabbed our golf balls and putters, and headed out. Fun hopefully to ensue.

L, at 2.5, has never played mini golf. We have high hopes that she’ll find the idea interesting, and at first, she watches intently, taking our golf balls with her on a journey far past par. She delights in walking up to the hole and plopping her ball in. We think we’re doing okay. Two holes in, a mother and elementary school age kid are behind us, so we decide to let them pass us by. Mistake #1 is made. That’s given L the time to entirely abandon the idea of playing the game. She’s now just running around the greens, standing in the way of our potential holes-in-one. This turns into her spinning in circles, swinging her club around. Thankfully for my shin, it only connected with a plastic toddler club.

When we finally come to the end of our 9-hole game, having long since abandoned the idea of asking her if she’d like to take a turn, we convince L to drop her ball in the final hole. This particularly course has a final hole that feeds your ball into some dark abyss beneath the green, never again to be seen by tiny toddlers. L is not impressed. Luckily, there are arcade games inside to buy us time before we hit our first tantrum. Thankfully, R has ridden happily the entire time on my back, and has barely made a peep, so we have this on our side.

When we’re done with our games, we cash in our tickets for a $.05 fairy wand at the counter. Big win in a toddler day. Not so much for the parents who will be responsible for refereeing the fight to come over who gets to play with said fairy wand…

We had a fun day, if not a bit aimless. But that’s kind of the name of the game when you have small kids. They will inevitably find fun in everything but the intended activity, which is fine, especially when you consider how nice it was to feel some fresh air on our faces, and watch her spinning around in the sunlight, and had zero tantrums the whole time. I’d call that a pretty successful day on the books.