Bubbling underneath

Well, my low-sugar experiment last week was a success until the weekend. I’ll admit that when I caved, I did so out of frustration with my kids, not because I particularly wanted the sugar. And I also indulged on Sunday with a slice of one of those big cookie-cakes (my sister brought it over for Father’s Day) – and that was directly tied to how tired I was that day (seriously, super tired).  I decided to give it another go this week and I did very well yesterday. I’m taking it one day at a time – that’s about all I can manage to think about.

The rest of the summer is going to be pretty busy – lots of kid activities, plus the Griswolds have decided to take a vacation. Oh yes – we are loading up the RV and traveling to Yellowstone for our family vacation. I’m looking forward to the time away, but I’m not so much looking forward to the bickering and the squabbles that are sure to take place in the back seat of the truck during the 3 days that it will take to get to our destination. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Speaking of kids, and I’m having a hard time admitting this to myself and to you, but I’ve come to the realization that my kids really wear me down. Last week, the oldest was away at camp and the other two spent part of the week at grandma’s house, and while they were all away I had a really nice time. It was peaceful and quiet; my kitchen and living room stayed clean for 3 days. I didn’t have to make my 3-times-a-week run for milk and I only ran the dishwasher once. There were no tattle-tales, there were no arguments to referee, no “that’s not fair!”s to hear. The hubs and I spent some quality time together just running errands and hanging out. It was really, really nice.

Then they came home…and the whirlwind started up again. All the demands for my attention, all the couch cushions in the floor, all the dishes on the kitchen counter – it all came crashing over me like a tidal wave.

And here’s the part where I feel it necessary to say that I love my kids. I do! I have really great kids, as far as kids go (I’ve seen other people’s kids – it isn’t pretty) and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Mama bear gets feisty when someone messes with her cubs! And it makes me nervous when my baby birds are out of the nest – I actually prefer it when they are safe and snuggled in their own beds at night.

But…

I realize how taxing they can be. I realize how much of myself I pour into them everyday. As soon as they got home, I felt my tension level rise just a little bit. And yes, I do take time for myself – I get up early and exercise 3 days a week, I go to Zumba at least once a week, I take time to sit down and read a magazine once in a while, I get together with friends when I can…I’m not covered up 24/7, but the tension is there 24/7.

All of this is to say, that my family definitely affects my health. I’m not saying that my family has made me fat, but realizing that they are a contributing factor to the anxiety bubbling under the surface has made me stop and say well no wonder it’s so hard sometimes.

So what’s a mom with another 15 years of kids-living-at-home to do? Well I figure I can bemoan my fate (and my fat) or I can embrace the chaos and start dealing with it. I’m not exactly sure what that’s going to look like, but I know I don’t want to wish away my kids’ childhood. I just want that same peace I felt last week to hang around.

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8 thoughts on “Bubbling underneath

  1. Ah, your quandary sounds familiar to me but for different reasons: I’m at the age when it’s time to really serious consider a family and plan for one if we so choose. I love my life. I love the quiet. I love sporadic trips. I love having extra money. I’m 28 and feeling the glare of my mother and I think my husband is ready to plan. Am I? I can’t imagine life without children but at this point I really can’t imagine life with them! I’m ready to say this much: it will be a few years, if ever! 🙂

    Anyway, enough about me. Hats off to you for taking it all on one brave step at a time (especially on that summer vacation!) I’ve started to believe that a mother’s breaking point must increase exponentially for all the years she has children because the things I see mothers doing in their spare time would tire me out even if I tried taking it on over a weekend!

  2. First, about the sugar, any time away without the stuff is a success. “Caving” on a weekend doesn’t undo the benefits your body had the week before. It’s an addictive substance and hard to shake.

    I bet most of us with kids reading your post today about being worn down by the kids will react with, “Wow. Someone else struggles, too.”. I’m not sure why we are not allowed to admit that although we love our kids, we just sometimes don’t like being around them and want to get far away, very very far away.

    I am finding (knock on wood) that as I am able to stay away from sugary stuff, my mood stabilizes and I feel I can handle stesses better. I’ve even been able to handle my husband’s bad moods better. 😉

    The road trip sounds fun. I loved road trips as a kid, even when traveling with 5 of my cousins. This trip will create good memories for your kids – bickering and all.

  3. Totally with you one the “love my kids but really enjoy lots of time away from them” thing. Sometimes I honestly do wonder if I was cut out to have kids, if it was worth the total life change. A particularly huge change in my case because I went from living alone for about six years to husband and then kids soon after. I liked living alone! I enjoy family too, but … maybe having my five year old home sick today is making me remember the old days with particular fondness.

  4. Oh your description brought back fond memories for me! Probably not as good for my mom LOL. We took a family road trip to Yellowstone when me and my brother and sister were probably about the same age as your kids are. I hope you will have some good memories yourself from this trip.

    And I agree with Gina–any time away from the sugar is a good thing. Plus, don’t you feel great that you could just go back to having a good day after the not perfect weekend?

  5. I totally relate to this post. We had one of those stupid giant cookies this weekend. I’ve come to the conclusion that my family is trying to kill me with sugar. I got so sick yesterday, I seriously thought I’d end up in the hospital. Like you, I noticed that my fatigue is definitely sugar-related. Of course, they don’t make me eat it, but it’s hard to resist when it’s just sitting there on the counter looking all lonely and yummy.

    I applaud you for admitting that you love your kids, but they wear you down. I think most mothers know this deep down. It’s hard to say out loud, though. This very thought has been bouncing around in my head for some time now, but I’ve never let it out. I’ve always said my house will never be clean until the kids are grown. My oldest daughter has one more year of high school and my heart is already breaking at the thought of her moving out. As much as I complain, my time with them means more to me than sparkling floors and having everything in its place.

  6. I love my kids, adore my kids, but good lord! Some days just getting 5 minutes in the bathroom is a freaking miracle! It should be highlighted on the evening news! “Kyra got to pee today without children banging on the door! Quick! Start the parade!”

    I love them, but they wear you down, worry you, stress you out. It’s not even the things they ask you for, it’s the ones you cannot change or make an impact on at all that are the worst. The drama, the hurt feelings, the inevitability of life. That’s what sucks it out of you.

    Of course, they also bring a magic to your life that would otherwise be a rather empty world. It’s a trade off, everything comes with a price. But you already knew all that… I’m just saying…

    well heck, I just wish we lived closer!!!

  7. My two girls are at camp. Just the 20 year old and my DH and self. I miss them, I like the tidier house and fewer chores, I feel guilty I don’t have more to do– I do notice that it’s been easier to count calories and work out!

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