Monday, May 25, 2009

Gimme Sympathy

"I wonder sometimes if I'm cut out for this. "

These were the words I uttered under my breath to my husband as we finally got the kids out the door to enjoy a sunny afternoon in the city.

"Do you mean parenthood?"

"Yeah, that, motherhood, all of this."


We woke up yesterday morning, albeit a little later than usual. We had a potluck party that was a great success the evening before. And what has become a bit of a tradition for us after a party, after we've plunked the kids to bed (or check that they've passed out and transport them to their beds), hubs and I sit back and enjoy a few more drinks and listen to some tunes. Just the two of us. My favourite part of the evening.

The morning was a glorious one. We had a few things we needed to clean up, so we did get a later start on the day. But we really wanted to do something together as a family. I went online to check if there was anything going on in the city. And of course there was. The day was planned.

After I came down out from my shower, I could hear voices, whining, angry tones coming from my 9 year old. Questioning words coming from the 4 year old. And my husband trying to negotiate and convince them that it would be fun. But no, they wanted to go to the park. At the school. Somewhere I go everyday; sometimes twice a day.

So as I popped my head out to ask what the latest plans were, I was told that we were no longer going into the city. I got into the action in a last ditch attempt, telling them that there would be buskers and so many neat things to see in a cool part of the city. Their Dad said that we could do both. But no, the boy hunkered down in his room; the girlie whined about her sand toys. Twenty minutes later we were still at an impasse.

I threw up my hands and just yelled "Fine. Go the park, I'm gonna skip it as I'm there with you everyday. I've got to get the stuff to make the bake sale items anyway."

Call it childish, selfish... but for once I wanted to do something that I wanted to do. I wanted to bring the kids with us, to experience the city with us. To get them out of the house; out of the neighbourhood, out of the burbs. A change of scenery, a respite from the daily treadmill which has become my life.

I lost it. I just started to cry. I felt silly, but it was cathartic as well. I often I feel that I am losing it, have lost it, that fundamental part of the equation: Me.

Everything is always a negotiation. A struggle to convince people to move, to listen. Cajoling, convincing, pleading, lecturing, guiltily "forcing" ... an uphill battle with the growing force of the children, who carry more and more weight as they get older. A battle that becomes more difficult to wage.


Hubs mentioned he'd have to work late again tonight, so I said to him that he HAD to confirm the dates for me to book tickets for our vacation plans. Today. I've been checking the flights, the fares etc. for well over a couple of months now, taking books out of the library, coming up with my own permutations and combinations based on dates that are "thereabouts". Thinking that I'd better book accomodations soon too.

Things are superbusy for the man at work, but every time I had brought up the subject of the flights, he'd say,"yeah, we've got to book it"... and I would wait again for a free moment with him. He's got a lot of travel on his plate, but this time with family is priority for him.

But honestly, I get sick of having to bug him all the time to sit down with me and solidify the dates. I hate sounding like a bitchy whiny hag which I feel is what I have become over the years. Because he doesn't listen to me as carefully as he should, he thinks nothing is ever a problem, laissez-faire is his M.O. Just in time. Everything always works out for him in the long run. And last I checked on Friday, the fares were the lowest I'd seen. But we had a crazy weekend, with ballet recitals, soccer, potluck etc... we had the stuff with the kids, and I mentioned it again, but didn't want to rag on him. Again. So I didn't.

This morning when he was sitting finally, giving the final dates to me, yeah, we should book it. And I popped into the website and lo and behold the price had jumped $$140 a ticket!!! That amounts to almost $500 more than it was the last time I bugged him about it just a couple days ago. It sickened me, it really did.

Here I am doing a happy dance when I save 50 cents on a loaf of bread at WalMart. And here he is saying, oh, don't worry about it, it is what it is, oops. If only he had really listened to me and sat down the previous 20 odd times I mentioned it; if only I had mentioned it yet again and nailed him to the chair and booked it on Friday night.

If only.

So again, I lost it. I went ballistic. I had another moment. When the hell did I become so goddam weepy?

It's not just the money. It's the fact that I'm always having to go after him to make these commitments, make plans, for us, not just for me, for us and two kids who rely on us. I'm tired of it. His work is important, I know, and that's what brings home the major bacon right now. I tread real lightly because of this. But in the whole scenario, my voice comes last. Or at least it seriously feels that way.


I'm afraid of becoming a wailing, nagging, haggy bitch. Or maybe even a whore. pit viper. Which is what I am these days to my kids, my husband.


I hate what I'm becoming. What I've become.

It bothers me, because seriously, I have a great life. I have a wonderful husband, great kids, a lovely, loving home. People who love me. And for the most part, my health. It feels so wrong to feel this way.

Why can't I just let things roll? Why can't I go for the ride, take things as they come, be less stressed about everything? Why can't I stop teaching my kids swear words in the car? Why do I have this honking boil growing in the middle of my forehead? Why does it only take a couple of drinks to give me a hangover these days? Is this what staying up past midnight baking three loaves of banana bread and individually wrapping 36 slices, will do to me?

At this rate, I'm sure I've shaved 10 years off my life.

At least.

(Boy was contrite. Hubs has acknowledged that he needs to listen to me more. He thinks I need to work out again, he sees my head spinning at 100 mph, turning red and emitting steam from the ears. He doesn't fancy that look on me either.)

That's the official video. I think I need to tone it down to this level, though.


Kat said...

Man. I have definitely been there. I think we all have. I hate it when I have the best plans for the family and they just fall to crap. I hate being a nag. I hate coming in last. Or at least feeling that way.
Every once in a while I'll have a complete bitchfest in my journal (a handwritten one that no one else sees) and bitch about everything on earth. Mostly the hubby. And then a week later I'll go back and read it again and think, "what the hell was my problem?" haha! It is all perspective I think. But completely normal too.
Hang in there. It will get better. :)

petite gourmand said...

Oh man- I could have totally written this post myself (except I'm not half as eloquent as you are)
I have been feeling the EXACT same way.
and are you saying it's actually gets more challenging as they get older?!!
anyhow- I hope your weekend got a little better in the end-and know that your are so not alone when it comes to feeling like this.

Beck said...

Have I been there? Yep.
I think a lot of women end up feeling that way at least SOMETIME - everyone wants to have fun but no one is willing to do the work involved or get off their butts or ANYTHING and the next thing you know, you've been cast as Mom The Nagging Draft Mule.

Tara R. said...

We should all start a support group, I have the same nightmare. Whenever I ask what everyone wants to do I get 'I don't care.' If I go ahead and make plans myself, no one is happy. Pisses me off. It's all so frustrating.

Gina said...

None of us are truly cut out for this because it's truly an impossible job. You are not childish, selfish, or a whore pit viper... the fact that you are in this position proves that you are indeed a very caring mom and wife who has perhaps given a bit too much of herself away lately. You just have to do your best and remember that it's ok to draw boundries and demand something that you want every now and again.

jmt said...

This past year, I've felt like the woman whose head spins and spins until it pops off in fury. I haven't been able to control my anger or my weepiness. I DO understand. And like you said...we really should just learn how to enjoy what we have because it's more than what a LOT of other women (and people in general) have. So I stopped telling myself "you really should...." and I just did it. I started whining a bit less to Hubs and started stressing in a NICE voice what it was that was going to happen. I AM going to book these tickets...and if you want to accompany the family on the trip, I suggest you tell me, TONIGHT, what dates you can come. Otherwise, you're being left at home. LOL As for doing what you want to do...DO IT. Don't let the kids boss you around or change the family plans. The minute they try and get attitude with me, I tell them "You WILL get your butt in the car and you WILL sit in it all day long while we have fun. I'm in charge and I've got an idea of what could be fun. Either you participate or get locked in the car like Lassie. Either way, I don't care." I might be a mean mama though....

Just know that you are not alone in your crazy feelings. That's one thing I've learned in my short blogging life. I'm not the only mom who feels nuts more often than she feels sane. :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah I am currently having a similar sort of break down - feels like NOTHING is right.

And yet I know I have only first- world really lame complaints. But I am not even handling those well at all. If I had to handle REAL stuff (you know, poverty, hunger, etc.) I'd clearly be a huge heap of mess.

Ed said...

I wish I had the stones to publish what I've written in my head the last two days--it's eerily similar to the feelings you have so eloquently just relayed. (Except for the weepy part, though that may come yet.)

I feel your pain.

Life As I Know It said...

Oh my gosh - I could have written this.

I have started taking better care of MYSELF recently and that seems to help to lower my frustration levels lately ;)
hang in there...we've all been there. This motherhood gig is tough.

Miss said...

Life is a sonofabitch aint it? Sometimes I think I'm failing all around and then I think "hmmm in less than 2 months, I am going to binge drink with my ladies for 3 days" and suddenly things start looking up.


Kim said...

I so get it.
In so many ways you mentioned.. I feel like I lose it on crap that would have never bothered me...but it is those same fears I have.. I am disappearing, daily, and at a faster rate than I am willing to accept.. there are days I feel terribly guilty for feeling so annoyed..and then there are days I want to jump in my car and disappear for like two days just to collect my own thoughts..

I don't have the right answers.. I wish I did.. I can offer hugs and a "I love you man.." :)

Unknown said...

You're preachin' to the choir friend. I get so frustrated too when my hubs doesn't understand that yes I know he's busy and workds HARD but I have things that are important and pertinent as well. I totally hear ya.

I hope you feel a little better after writing this and I love the song/video!

Simon said...

Lots I can identify with here. OK, maybe not the baking banana bread part.

Momisodes said...

I definitely think we should start a support group. Reading this entry gave me chills seeing how similar our lives are. Even down to the plane tickets! To get anything done around here, much nagging has to be done. So much that I just end up doing it myself to save the energy and grief. A friend of mine asked me what "I" wanted to do today. The frightening reality is that I have no idea anymore! It's amazing how much we sacrifice as parents. Too much sometimes.

Lynn C Mama to 3 said...

AMEN and then some. I was just telling my friend how much I missed me. Weird, but true. At what point did I get boiled down to housekeeper? Even the kids like my husband more than me because I am the disciplinarian. I am the "eat your peas" and the "its bedtime" and "because I said so" and I am the "put your laundry away" and "quit hitting your brother." My husband is the one at work all day, walzing in the door at 6:15 even though I told him Girl Scouts was at 6:00 and now I am late. And, he acts like it doesn't matter because the world will keep spinning if Tabbi is 15 minutes late to Girl Scouts, but my world spins out of control. And then I resent that my world is shuttling her to and from activities when I used to be the head of HR for a major US staffing firm and now I am all "pick up your toys" and "don't spill your juice on purpose."

Anyway, my point is this... I hear ya. I feel ya. And, if nothing else, I think that knowing you guys are out there helps me know that I am not losing it completely.

Don Mills Diva said...

Get outta my head.

I can sooo relate to this. We spent $600 more on plane fare on our last trip because hubs wouldn't commit and ya, I feel great when I remember to sue a $1 coupon for pull-ups. Sometimes I just feel like I'm beating my head against a wall...

I think we all feel that way. Like you said, it's just so hard to always be negotiating day to day details - it's hard enough when it works out, but when it doesn't it just feels devastating.

We need to have wine soon. E-mail me, kay? Let's set a date...

LadyHAHA said...

oh we've all been there. We feel selfish, then we fee guilty, then we feel angry, resentful then guilty again for being angry and resentful. You're only human, and the everyday grind can be ...well grinding!

Two words. Girl. Trip. Even if its for a weekend at a hotel in the city. You need a do nothing weekend. I have it every year in Palm Springs. It does wonders. and you deserve it.

Natacha said...

Wow! I must say I feel a little better, a little scared, but also a little better. My little bundle (the 'joy' from the phrase has been purposefully removed for right now, hopefully we have a better day tomorrow) only arrived 9 months ago and now that I have sorted started sleeping again I have had a chance to look around and think "what the hell happened to ME, as in my life, what defines me, my identity". I'm still trying to get my head around the idea of actually having to redefine myself and the idea that I may from now on be known only as my baby's mom, and not as 'me' any more freaks me out completely. So it's good to hear that people feel the same way...and I already fear what you are going through as I justify moving out of my tiny condo in the city to the burbs by convincing myself that the fam and I will be back in Toronto every weekend hanging out....we'll see??!?!!

Jocelyn said...

I feel like I want to stomp my foot a little bit here and holler that you are NOT allowed to call yourself selfish when you're being healthy and real and honest. The kids were being suck. Your husband needed to step up. They are all used to you being the doer, the functioner, the make-it-happen-er. You deserve a cry or five.

Also, your life sounds much like that of anyone who's being honest about parenting/family life.

Unknown said...

I'm in one of these spaces myself right now. Not sure why, but I know what you mean about shaving years off of your life...and I consider myself a pretty laid back person. Quite often I wonder HOW I'm not having a heart attack or nervous breakdown, that maybe I'd be better off in a psych ward for a few days than at home...the whole things just drives me bananas somedays.


I've found that exercise helps tremendously. Same with limiting my internet time and pampering myself, drinking less wine but still having a glass after a hard workout, etc.

That said, sometimes you just need to explode.'s a much needed eye-opener to the family.

J said...

Oh honey, what a wonderful, gutsy post. Putting it out there. And I'm so sorry to say that we've all been there. I read an ebook once about improving your marriage, and one tip was to not nag. Not for him, but for you. Because, like you, I DO NOT want to become that person. And it happens so quickly. So now, I don't nag (much). Sometimes things don't get done that should. Sometimes we lose money on a deal, or don't get to do something I want to do, but I'm working on letting it go.

Regarding the trip into the city, take heart. When they get older, they'll be much more willing to do things like this. I remember one year, on MY BIRTHDAY, my daughter didn't want to do what I wanted to do (go into the city), and she pouted and basically ruined the day for me. Nice. I survived, but barely.

Cid said...

We have all been there. Word for word, I have lived that very scenario. I know it's tough and it will probably never get easier but know that we're all in there together.

Anonymous said...

Whoooo boy. That all sounds eerily familiar. But there isn't anything wrong with wanting to do something for yourself and making them just deal. The more we've started doing that, the better things have gotten around here.

Hang in there!

Elaine at Lipstickdaily said...

AMEN Mama! One reason why I still work - - gives me a little financial control. So I just make the plane reservations myself. Not always that easy . . . but I FEEL YOUR PAIN!

Kori said...

I missed this post yesterday, so
I had to come back to read it before I had any idea of what you were talking about today. And all I can do is say that just like every mother who has a brain in her head, we have all looked at our lives on occasion-maybe even lots of occasions-and said, "what the hell happened to ME?" You are SO not alone in this, but since I am a day late, you alaready know this. :)

Unknown said...

Ummm...I had a few days (errrm...make that WEEKS) similar to this! I've been feeling the exact same way...and Little One is only 6 months old! I ended up in tears the other day, feeling like I sometimes just can't handle it all.

You are not alone in your feelings. Some days are more challenging than others :) Not childish or selfish at all. Completely justified.

We seriously need to catch up, Karen! TTYS.

melissa said...

oh honey. isn't it kind of normal though? to hate your every tiny little minute. and be fine the next?
i think you need a vacation!! in july! with me!!

Knatolee said...

Something to remember through all this is that you have recently suffered a major loss with the death of your dear Dad. It doesn't surprise me one bit that you're weepy, fed up, and everything in between. While you've got good reason to be cranky without factoring in your Dad, when you add that into the picture, I can totally understand why you're feeling the way you're feeling. Just be kind to yourself and take some more "me" time. It takes a long time to get over the loss of a parent, and maybe this post will help hubster and even the kids realize that Mommy needs people to cut her some slack right now!!!

I would have written sooner, but I'm behind on my blog because I've been spending all my time outside trying to finish planting veggies and building beehives. Then when I AM in, my damn satellite internet keeps crapping out (tech is coming today.)

So hang in there, vent when you need to, and be kind to yourself!!! I hate feeling like a nag too.


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