This week has been a crazy week. In fact, the last few weeks have been crazy. And our schedule isn’t slowing down any time soon. I was chatting with a friend today and as I was laying out my month, I realized I didn’t really leave my family any real time to breathe. In fact, we had activities scheduled 5 out of 7 days this week; 4 out of 7 days next week; 5 out of 7 days the week after; 4 out of 7 days the following; and 6 out of 7 the week after that!
Now if you know me, you know I like to keep busy. And if you’ve read my curriculum plan for the year (you can read that here —–> Paterson Academy Curriculum Round Up 2018-2019) then you know that our science and history plans are outsourced classes.
But busyness also leads to fatigue and burn out. For all of us.
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Today must have been my day that everything caught up with me because today I just couldn’t handle things. I kinda lost it on the kids. I may have broken down on the husband. Every emotion I had bypassed my usual filter and escaped me in one major meltdown.
But let’s back up a little.
Somewhere along the lines, I think I completely lost control of my kids. I’ve spent endless hours of my day repeating myself.
“Brush your teeth.”
“We don’t hit.”
“Pick that up and throw it away.”
“Put your shoes on.”
“We don’t ‘blah, blah, blah’ our sister.”
“Empty the dishwasher.”
“Load the dishwasher.”
“Stop chasing your brother.”
“Speak with kindness.”
………….. and so on, and so on, and so on. Over and over and over and over.
And I say it all once. Twice. Three times. Fifteen times. I yell it. I scream it. I threaten groundings and beatings and the end of the world. Eventually, they listen, but tomorrow I will say the same exact things plus 5 new things that I now get to add to my record on repeat.
I’m exhausted. I’m frustrated. I’m unhappy.
I’m unhappy that my kids fight and argue and scream ALL. THE. TIME. I’m unhappy that they don’t listen to me unless I scream at them. (Believe me. I’ve tried all of the great advice to stop being a yell-er). I’m unhappy that I can’t walk out of the room without all hell breaking loose. I’m unhappy that I have to repeat myself over and over with the most mundane things.
Really? You didn’t know you needed to get the forks when you were setting the table? You set the table every single night. We use forks every single night. I tell you to get forks every single night. I tell you multiple times to get forks every single night. You thought tonight was different? You didn’t hear me say, “Get forks” the last 42 times? I’m telling you now to get the forks and you’re still not getting the forks. We are sitting down to eat and none of us have forks.
Fuck it. I’ll just eat spaghetti with my hands.
That’s where I’m at folks. Eating spaghetti with my hands because I just don’t want to have to tell my kids to get forks again.
But while I can eat spaghetti with my hands, I can’t safely drive the car with the kids screaming and fighting. I can’t ignore them punching or kicking each other. There are certain times that their out of control behavior is causing bigger issues than messy hands.
Today was one of those days.
The Princess and Little Man were fighting in the car. She picks on him, antagonizes him. He responds by screeching and whining. She responds by making fun of him. He responds by crying and yelling. She laughs at him one minute and yells at him the next. He hits her or kicks her. She gets angry and grabs and slaps him. He hits her more. Continues on the whole time we’re in the car.
Today I reached my limit. After multiple times telling them to stop, quit, don’t, be nice, be kind, give it back, don’t jerk things out of his/her hands… I pulled the car over into an apartment parking lot. I told them to get out of the car. I told them they could walk home. We were a good 20 miles from home so they would have to rely on each other to get home. They would have to work together to get home.
And damn it. I wish I could have gotten in my car and driven off and let them try.
But I didn’t. I lectured. I yelled. I cussed. But in the end, I let them back in the car. For 10 minutes they were peaceful and quiet. The Princess even spoke kindly and played with Little Man. For 10 minutes. Then it started again. What the F@#$!!!
We went in for piano lessons and I hoped maybe the break would stop it. No sooner had we gotten into the car than it started again. The entire 10-minute drive to dance classes. Finally, I stopped at a gas station before we got to dance and just sat there while the fighting escalated. How far would it go if I did nothing?
It got violent. There was a lot of screaming and crying. I videotaped some of it. Little Man made himself throw up.
And I cried.
No, I bawled. Heaving ugly crying.
Where did I go wrong? Where did I mess up with them that this is the way they treat each other? How do I deal with this day in and day out? How do I accept this as my norm? And if I don’t, how do I change it? Nothing seems to be working. And it’s just too much for me to deal with. It’s weighing me down to the point of crushing me. Sure, I have pills that help me not completely lose my cool, but folks, pills won’t solve this. I can’t keep increasing my anti-depressants or taking anxiety pills to deal with this. This just is not acceptable. But I have absolutely no clue how to change it.
I’m at a point where I’m not sure if I care about changing it. I think I just want to… run away…
Here is where I am at this moment. On the brink of getting in my car and following the road anywhere, that is not home, but I know that is not the answer. I know that these are my kids. I love them. I will be there for them. As much as I want to run away right now, I know that isn’t really what I want to do. I may feel crushed by the weight of having no clue how to handle these kids, but there *is* an answer. They are good kids. I just need to figure out how to help them be their best selves instead of jerks. I need to make sure that I am being my best self.
And perhaps, I need to consider that we all need some time to breathe. Maybe being overbooked this week and the next few weeks is exacerbating an already major problem. So, while I’m sitting at the library trying to regain some sanity before going back home to face the husband and kids, maybe I’ll take another look at our calendar and see if I can lighten our load.
Most importantly, I HAVE to remember that I’m not alone on this parenting journey. I have a community of friends and family here to support me. I don’t have to feel alone. Maybe next time I need to be sure to reach out for help before things get so far gone. And then I can remember that these 3 little beings that I love so much are just 3 little beings trying to figure things out. Sometimes that works out in loving ways and sometimes it doesn’t.