28 February 2008

Shame

[Preface: I know I'm too hard on myself, and I know it's OK if I yell and lose my patience sometimes. But still.]

This morning I really yelled at Riley. As in: at the top of my lungs, holding him by his shoulders, right into his face. I yelled, "Riley Kim! I cannot do this! I need help!" Then I threw a $30 Nars blusher across the bathroom, which was dumb for a number of reasons, two of them being (1) that the mirror inside shattered and got little bits of plastic-y sharp stuff all over the place and (2) that the powdery blush went all over the bathroom as will be a total bitch to clean up.

The top reason that all of this was a bad idea was that is scared the shit out of both Riley and Maddie. Riley burst into hysterical tears and Maddie ran out of the doorway of the bathroom and got a big, soft stuffed dog to cuddle to help her feel better. Excellent self-soothing, Mads; sorry that you didn't feel safe enough to come to Mama for the cuddles. We all sat on the floor of the bathroom and had a family cry, which helped us all feel better, and by the end both kids were smiling and laughing and the only real casualty was that we were late to daycare. So in the end, it all worked out, but it was still an awful way to start the day, and Riley was clearly fragile from the experience; he had that look of "if anything goes wrong, I will totally lose it ASAP."

You may be asking, "Why the yelling?" The shameful answer is nothing. Yes, Riley had been on the crabby side all morning: yes milk, no milk, yes bagel, no bagel, no socks! no diaper! etc. etc. So when he flipped out over something that to me seemed like nothing—the water in the bathroom faucet making an unexpected noise—it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Hence the shame.

We had a fun evening last night. The kids slept well. The only odd thing is that they have barely been eating; they pretty much turned down lunch at daycare, then barely touched their dinner and basically didn't want breakfast. I confess that this stresses me out, even though I know I shouldn't worry. Plus I'm nervous about the in-laws' visit this weekend. But really, the kids have been great. They were up around 6:45 this morning, seriously cracking themselves up in their room; I wish I had a video monitor to check out what the heck they think is so funny.

I'm just worn out, stressed out, stretched thin, and fragile. I feel wrung out and beaten down and lost. Add together a new job, in-laws coming, and the year mark of John's death on the horizon, mix that with two spirited toddlers and financial woes, and you get me. Same old song and dance that I've been singing and dancing for a while now.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or so the saying goes. The corollary would be that if it's broke, fix it. I'm broke (ha, in more ways that one), but I don't know how to fix me. There are too many conundrums at play. I need time away from the kids, but I barely get any time with the kids as it is. I'd like to find a way to earn some extra money through blogging/writing, but I'm too tired in the evenings to keep up with things around the house, much less take on more work (we'll see if BlogHer ads goes anywhere). Maybe I need a drastic change—like a move to Oregon—or maybe the timing isn't right yet; in any case trying to analyze the ins and outs of that makes my head spin (not to mention that I remembered this morning that the house is still in John's and my name and I need to get that cleared up before I can do anything real-estate related and doing that means a lawyer and, well, we're back to the money thing). I'm sure it would help me to talk to a counselor, but when? When could I possibly do that? I hate to use that as an excuse, but it's frankly just a fact that there is no time for me to do that. I'm already trying to find the time to do little things for myself like eat better, exercise, read a good book from time to time, see friends, etc. I suppose if I could find a counselor with evening hours, I could make it work. Right now it just sounds like something else on an endless to-do list, another thing to add that won't get checked off and will create more guilt for me because it's yet something else that I'm not doing. I have plenty of things that I should do, but don't do, already in my life. I can't add more.

This might sound simplistic, but I feel like what I really need is a vacation. A real vacation. Like where I fly somewhere by myself and do nothing all day. No work. No kids. I'm not at my house so I can't do projects. No cooking. No cleaning (not that I do that anyway, but . . .). Just me and my thoughts. Preferably somewhere warm. It wouldn't hurt if I were on a big boat. I need time to be with myself and just think. John died almost a year ago, and the only time I've had to process that is moments stolen here or there; the fact that he's really gone will sometimes hit me out of nowhere. I'll take five minutes to think about it, then I have to move on because I'm at work or a baby needs me or I have to go run an errand or it's the middle of the night and I fall back asleep. I've had no time—None!—to just be with my thoughts and try to figure out what I'm really feeling, what I want to do next, and how to be with my emotions.

A week away wouldn't solve my problems, of course, but I do feel like it would recharge me. Right now, I seek that time alone like some kind of crack whore. From the moment I pick up the kids, I'm counting down until I can put them to bed and be by myself. Anything that interferes with that causes me to fly off the handle. I plan my whole day around maximizing my time to "relax" in the evening, to the point that playing with the kids after work often involves having them "help" me do laundry and other chores so I don't have to do them when they go to bed. That's MY time, and my focus on that time gets in the way of OUR time, which doesn't seem fair.

I get out a lot. I see friends a lot. I do suff: book club, twin club, girls' nights, etc. That stuff helps. But a sustained break from my life would be even better. We all need time to get away and gain perspective, and I just haven't had that time, at a point in my life when I need it most. I just have to figure out how to get it.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am hitting the anniversary period of my daughter's death and I get the same way... and I have adult support. DO remember to be as gentle as possible with yourself.

If it makes you feel better, that "pillow, no pillow!" stage is the one where I have lost it the worst at my son. And again, I have back up. The good news is that it ends, sort of.

There are so many things to pick up on in what you've written. Yes, counsellors have evening hrs (comes with the job). Yes, you totally need a break, and money, and those things are in conflict. Maybe not this year but some year on possibility is a resort that has childcare (we have an inn near us that does over spring break and some specific weeks in the summer). You get the together time when you want it and at night. During the day, you leave the kids and go sit by the pool.

But mostly just hugs to you. You do deserve a hand. You need a paypal button for a babysitting/takeout/break slush fund so us anonymous readers can put a little something in your pocket.

- SL

Klynn said...

(((Hugs))) Don't forget...the offer of the guest room still stands. And I have a 3 3/4 year old to play with, and a 15 year old to help babysit. I'm a pretty good cook, and we've got lots of great restaurants close by. Lots of malls for shopping/retail therapy. The beach isn't too far away (for long introspective walks).

I know with the new job, and the financial issues, you probably can't get away, but the offer still stands. In the meantime, try not to be so hard on yourself. You accomplish more than most of us on a daily basis. Heck...the kids have temper tantrums all the time...aren't we entitled to have one now and then? :)

Michelle said...

A counsellor is probably one of the single most important things you can do for yourself right now. Talking with someone can help you work through grief and also some of the other things you are facing (finances, parenting, etc.) Even if taking the time to do this means the house goes longer without being cleaned or other chores remain undone, taking care of yourself is what will make you more able to do these things in the long run. Everyone is pulling for you!

Kizz said...

I think you said it all when you told Riley "I need help". You do. What you're doing is superhuman. I think it will work out. I think that help will come but I know that it feels awful right now and that you deserve help right this second.

Think about the paypal button. It would make it easier for people to make their commenty hugs tangible and I know people like to do that because they want to help, even when that's only a dollar here or there for a latte.

Jen said...

the topic of your post resonated with me. as you know, i suffered through post partum depression and "shame" was a prime issue for me. i never had negative feelings toward my son, which is rare for PPD.. but i had a LOT of negative feelings toward myself. Shame. I was ashamed that I couldn't conceive him without help.. I was ashamed of my body, my health, the fact that I couldn't carry him to term, the fact that I didn't produce any breastmilk, the fact that he needed to be in the NICU, the fact that I had to put him in daycare, the fact that i pick him up from daycare and am usually at my wits end by the time he goes to sleep.. the fact that i spend the rest of the night upset that i don't get enough time for anything.. enough time for myself, for my son, for my wife, for any of the things i used to think were important. Tag onto that a lifetime of baggage and poof.. certified nutjob. I've been in counceling and on medications for this for almost a year now (my one year anniversary of being committed into a lock inpatient ward at BID is coming up next week). ALl of this because of shame.

I'm sorry you had a rough morning and i'm sorry that the kids got upset. i was taught a number of "skills" to deal with the impulsive stuff.. for me it was hurting myself, but doing things like punching a pillow or hanging a punching bag from your doorway so you can wail the hell out of it are actually good things.. because they are #1..safe.. and #2.. they release endorphins, which reduce the amount of stress/anxiety/adrenaline that is coursing through your system.

Counselors are great.. i was a skeptic.. but i truly feel better after my appointments. it IS tough finding time.. my work takes the toll for that one..

so after making you so confident that i'm an upstanding and stable person.. :) i wanted to put the offer out there that if you ever want to get away for the weekend (or week).. we'd be more than happy to watch the kids. we have enough room in our car for 3 car seats and can put them down either in ben's room with him (although they'd probably have too much fun with that) or in the dining room. both shiela and i are comfortable with watching multiple children and would actually find it to be a lot of fun.. and since we use the same daycare.. it wouldn't be going out of our way to get them to and from daycare while we work. i'm totally serious about this.

a second.. if you don't know where to go.. my suggestion there would be to a b&b on the cape.. at least as far out as welfleet. this time of year is great.. it's quiet.. you can walk on the beach and spend time reading and really breathe. unless you don't like the beach.. then i say head to the mountains.. :)

in the end.. i can't make it better, although i'd love to make some ice cream sundaes and make the pain go away.. but all i can do is offer an e-hug and to let you know that the offer above is real and wouldn't cost a dime.

j

Nina said...

I've only recently started reading, but it does sound like you're carrying the weight of the world and you do very much deserve a vacation. Maybe your in-laws or parents would be willing to take the children for a week...still catching up on archives so I don't really know the whole situation with them and I'm sure if that was an option you'd have thought of that. Okay, so just ignore me really.

But I'm sorry things are so hard right now. For what it's worth, I really hope things get better for you.

Elle said...

Snick, I agree with Kizz, put a PayPal button up. Or Adsense ads, while you're waiting for Blogher, you can set Adsense up right from Blogger. I know *I* am often fascinated by ads and click them. We all want to help you. and there's not a person alive who hasn't yelled at their kid like that at some point or another. You're not alone in that, either!

debangel said...

I second (third, fourth, whatever!) the motion for a PayPal button so we can send you a slush/slushie/Frappuccino fund. I know it might make you feel weird, but think of it this way- if we could all hang out like regular girlfriends (why, oh why, has no-one invented the transporter?), we would totally all treat you to dinner and ice cream and help you feel better. You can just consider us all honorary godparents or something and send us baby pictures at the holidays =)

Anonymous said...

I completely get what you are saying. I have a partner to help me with my one two year old and feel the way that you do sometimes. Yesterday, I stayed home with me sick daughter. She was playing with a box that had packing peanuts in it. She destroyed them...smashed them into bits and they were stuck to EVERYTHING! I lost it and screamed at her and gave her a timeout. Keep in mind she was sick...and I knew she was playing with them...and I turned my back and then yelled. We all lose it sometimes.

I'm not a lawyer so don't take this as legal advise but...I work as a trust officer at a midwest bank and help clients through the process of transferring assets when someone dies. Granted, I don't know your states laws but I am fairly certain that you don't need a lawyer to remove John's name from the house. You just have to record his death certificate in the county you live in. Contact the County Clerk or Registrar of Deeds and they should be able to tell you exactly what you need to do.

Hang in there...I think it will get better.

Julie said...

I know this might sound like it's not legit, but I've heard of counselors who do phone sessions. Maybe you could set something up at night after the twins went to bed. Obviously, it's not as good as a F2F meeting, but it would be a start until things get a little more manageable.

amber said...

first, {{{hugs}}}

second, i think someone else said this, but i agree that the single most important thing you can do right now is to see a counselor. i'm sure there are many out there with evening hours. and if you explained your situtation, i'm sure they would work with you on pricing. also, i know some insurances cover a certain number of sessions as well. if it's overwhelming to you to sort through all that (b/c lord knows you're stretched thin as it is), could you delegate that to a close friend or family member? i know that i would do that kind of legwork in a heartbeat for my mom or my best friend. and i'm willing to bet yours would too.

you absolutely need help. and i think that just by starting to voice some of these concerns and worries and fears and all that other stuff to a paid professional might help to actually start mentally sorting through things. i'm not saying it'll solve all your problems, but it might give you the tools to start tackling them.

also, i remember telling my mom when she was the primary caretaker for my ailing grandfather that if she didn't take care of herself, then there was no way that she was going to have any reserves available to take care of him. this applies to you 110%.

hang in there. and i really hope that you make seeing a counselor high up on your to-do list.

{{hugs}}

amber

Elle said...

Chiming in again -- a lot of us who read your blog feel like we know you, and we all want to help. I live pretty close to you (North shore) and if you were my real-life friend I'd take the bull by the horns and tell you I'm paying my mom, housekeeper extraordinaire, to come and clean your house from top to bottom once a week.

But, because I don't really "know" you, that might be problematic, because I know I wouldn't want a strange woman bursting into my house and cleaning it! ;)

If you were to have a tip jar, or ads, then people like me *could* help you with these things. Clearly, I am not alone in feeling this way. Yeah, it's hard to accept help when you are used to being the one who helps, but think of it this way -- you are helping us get some good karma. You'd also provide a lot of people with a chance to show their better natures. Please consider giving us the chance to feel happy that we've helped someone in a concrete way ;)

moo said...

What you are feeling is totally normal. Two parents households go through the exact same thing, with the limit testing, frustration, yelling, and shame. You are not alone in your experience, even though you feel like it.

Shame is universal. I don't know of any parent who feels they are perfect, even those in two parent, well-to-do, singleton households.

The thing about grief is that it eats away at you and it can creep up on you, taking away any sense of normal you may have. Counseling would help, for sure. Local hospitals, colleges, and clinics often have people with flexible hours who can work with your schedule and budget (sliding scale fee). The hardest part is making that initial call, because then you are acknowledging that you cannot do it alone, that you need help, that you are broken.

Best of luck with the inlaw visit ... that would be enough to make me want to stab out my eyeballs.

glove said...

I have no answers. Only virtual hugs.

Snickollet said...

Moo--

I'm cracking up right now b/c the kids call my mom Moo, and I thought at first that she'd decided to comment (she does read the blog). Then I went over to your profile and saw that you call YOUR mom Baa, which is what my kids call their grandfather! Weird.

Thanks for the comment, and for reading.

-snick

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile - you are an excellend writer.

You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you need a break. I second the recommendation for a counselor - or maybe if you could find it, a group for parents with children who have lost a spouse. They might be able to help you sort through everything you are feeling and have ideas for you.

I have a 3 year old and one year old, and wanted you to know, you are not the only one who counts the minutes until your kids go to sleep. For me, it is countdown to naptime. I look foward to them taking an afternoon nap (at the same time) so I can have some time to myself. I totally get when you say it is like you are a crack whore - sometimes it is all I can think about all morning. And then of course the guilt comes in - I work part time, so I am only home with them on two weekdays anyway, shouldn't I be reveling in our time together? I have been wondering if others feel the same way, and you are the first one to successfully put it into words. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Snick. Love your writing. I don't have a blog. I am completely impressed with you. You are a major source of my inspiration. My daughter just turned 3. From 2 1/2 to 3, I am embarrassed to admit some of the stuff I have done. Let's see. I'll confess some now. Stomping my feet, jumping up and down and screaming "stop it, stop it, stop it". Screaming so loud it scared her and made her scream. Screaming so loud it made her jump into my arms and she started crying. And what I am most ashamed about. I pinched her once. Really hard. And she told me "do not touch my body like that! no!". I was so proud of her for sticking up for herself. Each time I apologized. I explained what I did it wrong, and I apologized. And I tried to open a dialog about making mistakes. I tell myself I am modeling good apologizing but it's still surprising how much I have to remind myself it's OK I make mistakes. Since she's turned 3, it's really turned around. But for a handful of months there, it was "this, no this", "you do it, no I do it" and "not listening". I have really hated myself for this moments but I have slowly worked through it, I guess. But I am still human. She was up early this morning and wouldn't play independently and I am fighting a cold and she was bugging me in bed and I was very annoyed with her and didn't handle myself well. I do not do well with sleep deprivation. I am college educated, I own a successful consulting business in the Boston area...and I have thrown a temper tantrum in front of my 2 yr old. That just doesn't make me feel too good! Parenting is much harder than anyone knows unless they have done it or are in the midst of it. Working full time is very hard. Doing it as a single parent while bereaving a beloved spouse, with twins...well, that's why you are amazing and normal and perfectly imperfect. Here's to you, and to all us mothers out there just trying to do good by our kids even though we are only human. Oh, and about the feeding stuff, have you read about Ellyn Satter? She has a really great philosophy (it's a one pager so it's a quick read) that helps calm me when my kid isn't in the mood to eat. http://www.ellynsatter.com/ Click on the "division of responsibility" link on the right hand side of the page.

Anonymous said...

I tenth (what number did we really get to?) on the PayPal button. Nothing to do with Karma, as I don't believe in it. I firmly believe the whole point of God putting other people on the earth with us is so we can help each other--giving and taking as required. It's just cool how the Internet has broadened who all can touch our lives, and whose lives we can maybe touch a little too. If it's an airfare thing, can we somehow pool miles or something and fly you somewhere? Just a thought.

You are amazing in what you are dealing with, just to wake up every day and function at all--and you do much more than just function! You provide such a loving home for your babes (and another "I second that" on the be gentle on yourself for yelling--it happens!). Grief can be truly, uttering crippling.

You hate that you yell at your kids. I hate that you yell at you (though that sounds judgemental on my part, and not gentle like I mean it to!!!). Because you deserve just as much tenderness.

Rachel said...

{{{{{Hugs}}}}}

I am sorry you and Riley had such a rough morning. I hope that you are able to get the week away. I wish I lived closer so I could babysit.

I found the age Riley and Maddy are at now to be very difficult because they want everything but are not able to verbalize their needs, or understand your reasons for saying no. It does get easier. I know I sound like a broken record, but this too shall pass.

The process for BlogHer can be sort of slowish, so don't get discouraged.

caro said...

I use sick time and see my counselor during work hours. And I only work in the office two days a week. It's just as legitimate as a medical need. What if you needed a root canal or had a broken arm? You'd take time off work and go. Or maybe you don't have any sick time since it's a new job? (A vacation sounds nicer, anyway.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Pay Pal Button idea!!

Counting down to bed time as well as the guilt associated with it is completely normal! No one is at their best at that time of day and as the sole caretaker of my 3.5 year old during the week (my husband travels Monday-Friday), I definitely cherish those moments alone after she is in bed even if I fritter them away watching reality TV...

Perhaps you can take your kids to spend a week of quality time with their grandparents and get away for a few days by yourself? This strategy has worked for me. Grandparents are happy to have grandchildren to themselves without parental oversight, grandchildren are happy to have grandparents spoil them, and mom is happy to be alone. What could be bad?

P

mary said...

I want to get together with you and Mama Nabi. Have a very long group hug and cry.

Anonymous said...

I realize you really aren't looking for advice per se, but I think moving closer to family is a very valid solution. When my marriage fell apart and I became a single parent, I moved closer to my parents. Not too close mind you ;), but close enough for them to help if I needed a kid free weekend. They have been amazing enough to come and help with yardwork and whatnot. I'm so sorry you're having such a time of it now. One saying constantly helps me "it will all be okay, different but okay". You are doing an amazing job, don't forget it.

renovationgirl said...

Counting down to bedtime...I do that all the time and I only have one kid and a husband. I find that I do this more on the days when I work (I work every other day). I'm tired, I have a million things to do, etc. You would think it would be the days when I've been home with him all day, but it's not. I've been told to see a counselor, too, but the no time/no money issue happens for me. If I had extra time, I feel like I should move ahead with my life and get some things done. That being said, having been in counseling before, it is extremely helpful. I have screamed at my son like that and it is always for the silliest, minor things. The big things are so obviously big that you know they could set you off. Those little things...they just grate on your nerves until you just can't take it and BAM...you scream and throw something...Good luck with the in-laws this weekend. I'll be wishing you peaceful thoughts!!

Jan said...

See if you can find a counselor near your office and take time out of your work day for it. If you're a salaried employee, you are entitled to take care of your health on company time. Think of how many dr appts you went to when you were pregnant -- these are dr appts.

Every parent yells when they wish they didn't. This very morning, in fact, I lost it with my daughter and when she sobbed, "Mommy, I don't like it when you talk to me that way -- you're hurting my feelings!" I actually turned around and shouted, "Good!" I was angry about something she did, but mostly my anger bucket was just full and she happened to toss in the last drop. We have to first and foremost forgive ourselves for these breaches of good intentions, but we also owe it to ourselves and our kids to make the changes in our lives that are necessary to keep the once-in-awhile from becoming a habit.

Call a counselor. Tell her you need help but you don't know how to make it work. If it costs 'too much', ask your parents to pay for it, for your kids if you won't do it for yourself.

And be kind to yourself, OK?

jenn in Maine said...

As a small lift, what about taking 2-3 days off of work but still taking the kids to day care. At least you could have some time to yourself without the expense of a "real" vacation. Get a pedicure, take yourself out to lunch, nap, go to a great coffeehouse and read a book...

Also, when friends and family offer to take the kids so you can get away or be alone, TAKE THEM UP ON IT. Most people who offer such things, would be genuinely thrilled to be helping you out. There is no shame in reaching out for support.

I think you're a terrific mom making the best of a sucky situation. We've all snapped and shrieked like lunatics at our kids. Don't be too hard on yourself.

LauraC said...

Another vote for Paypal button!

Jen said...

second post -- all to add my vote for the paypal button. i'll give you my entire $4, friend... never underestimate the generosity of your friends, family and perfect strangers!

btw.. i'm glad you were late to daycare this morning.. so was i, so we actually got to say hi. :)

NanarocksWeen said...

That idea of a paypal button - good one. I'd like to help.
My daughters (who are right around your age) are having a girls' night out because they are so worn down from work (teachers, one teaches fifth grade and one kindergarten special ed. w/ELEVEN special needs students!). They have husbands to help. Yes, they have problems - don't we all - but they at least have help. I'd love to help you, Snick. Reading your post made me cry. You deserve so much. How 'bout letting us, your reader-cyber-friends do something tangible to help you?

Nana

Anonymous said...

I think these are entirely normal feelings for folks who aren't widowed, who don't have twins, etc. I crave time to myself and feel guilty that I see as little of my daughter as I do. I do think it is okay to engage the twins in helping with chores - I'm always surprised at how much my kid likes to help with laundry and mopping the floor. She actually fights me to clean the lint trap!

Does your employer offer an employee assistance program? That may be a low cost/free way to get some therapy.

Thinking of you,
Paula
quiltinggrrl@yahoo.com

tousquireste said...

Having so often wished I could offer something more than virtual support and cheering you on from afar, I 18th (or whatever) the paypal button. It's super easy to set up. Maybe we could all contribute to a vacation fund? (Of course, I'll still send virtual support, no matter what you decide)

I hope you're able to find a way to visit a counselor - on lunch, during the day, after work, through an EAP... whatever's possible. It would be another way to take time for yourself, too.

You are amaze me (and clearly many others) all the time.

tousquireste said...

- sorry about the illiterate end to my comment. but you get the idea, hopefully!

A said...

I just want to say that I read your blog (and mostly lurk) because you are such a thoughtful parent and dealing so well with so much. I think your reactions are not a bit unusual. I hope you can find a way to get a vacation, or counseling, or whatever you decide will help most (and if it doesn't, I hope you will try whatever will help next).
As a parent of two four year olds, I can say that the struggles you are having with Riley will pass - and morph into something else. I can't say when, or what will be next, but it always helps me to remember that my kids are changing so fast if I can wait it out something new will come along.
Finally, I just want to encourage you to try to be patient with yourself, especially around making big decisions. You are coming up on the one year anniversary of your husband's death, and you just changed jobs. You have enough on your plate right now. I would advise anyone with similar stresses and concerns to wait and see for a while, before you decide to move cross-country or otherwise make a dramatic change for you and your twins. Best wishes to all of you!

Anonymous said...

I also agree a counselor might help you learn to cope and to manage. Kids go through stages when they just don't eat. My kids are 4 and 7 and still have phases when they don't eat. Other times you can't fill them up. Don't worry about the eating.

Another suggestion - I get overwhelmed with life also. There is a lot to manage. Sometimes it helps to just cancel everything - in my case ballet lessons, swim lessons, Brownies, etc - and just stay home for a while. Come home from work and not go back out. While all of your activities are good for you - twin group, book club, etc - all the running can wear you down. I've canceled 'life' for a couple of days and it did me a world of good in getting back on track.

Best wishes for you to figure all of this stuff out.

Tammy

Anonymous said...

Please look in your community for a local Family Resource Center - they may be able to steer you to a lawyer who will do the real estate paperwork pro bono.

Rev Dr Mom said...

(o)

I know the stress of single parenting and lack of money and time...and on top of that you have grief and loss. I hope you can find a way to see a counselor, and to get away for a few days for yourself.

BrooklynGirl said...

You are my hero. Seriously. If I were local, I would offer to babysit, but since I'm not...I completely ditto the paypal idea.

Good luck with the in-laws.

susan said...

What they all said. And hugs.

Paula said...

Hi Snick,

I do not have a blog and am a big reader of yours. I too am a twins mom, they just turned 18months and I am from the Boston area as well. I am living in NC right now.

But I just wanted to 2nd, 3rd .... gazillion.... what everyone else is saying. I can't imagine what you are going through, lord knows it is tough enough with another adult in the house, not that he isn't like a 3rd child sometimes. But I completely understand the demands the kids have on you. You are going through so much right now, cut yourself some slack. I dream of those days alone all the time so just know you are not alone in your imaginary world. There are lots of us with you.

And do the paypal thing girl... we all want to help.

Take care I hope to comment more vs just lurking and reading.

Elizabeth said...

I've been there. I became a 24 hrs a day - 7days a week single mom suddenly and I remember the rush to get them to bed. The absolute craving of quiet. No mama please, mama I want, MAMA!! And the guilt, oh the guilt. It gets easier as they age. But not completely. I took that vacation you are dreaming of. It does help. And I keep taking little ones. Days off work when the kids are at daycare. Weekends at the grandparents. There is still guilt but it is muted because I don't explode as often. There is value to taking them to the YMCA playroom right after work so I can run on the treadmill occasionally. Take the offers of help. It feels awkward and burdensome at first. But I figured kids need wide horizons and loads of love. Friends and family pitching in provide all those things and they get a happier mom as a bonus.

Paypal button very good idea.

Angela said...

I am so very sorry you are having such a hard time.I wish I was closer so I could do something more than just write words. Is there any way you can take some time for yourself? Either your in-laws or your parents even for a long weekend. Please don't be so hard on yourself, I know I yell at my kids and though not proud of myself I know I need to cut myself some slack and not feel too guilty.

Menita said...

Yes to the Paypal button, yes to the phone (or even email) counselling - I used a bit of the latter at a difficult time in my life and it did help.
What happened to you with R was normal, they are at a wicked rough age, and you have TWO, and you are by yourself. You are more than by yourself, you are minus John. I know you feel awful about having lost it, but try not to be too hard on yourself. The babies won't remember it, and you will remember it enough to know that maybe you need to find a way to get support.
Put up that Paypal button already.
You are doing a great job, I take pointers from you. With much love, M.

Carolina Girl said...

I have been lurking for some time now. You definitely have the weight of the world on your shoulders. I wish I could do something to help. Please think about the paypal button.

Does your new employer have a EAP? We have a 24-hour hotline that we can call and talk about whatever. They also have in-person counseling and offer legal and financial advice.

mlg said...

{{hugs}}

Once I was very close to my wit's end, much where you are now. I had tried to keep a brave face for the kid even though I was stressed to the max and every little part of my life was falling out around me.

Just after I put her to bed I got an awful phone call and just melted into tears. The kid heard me crying and called to me. I put on a strong face and went in, laid next to her and told her I was fine. Then I did soemthing I had never done. I broke down in front of her and cried and cried. She actually stroked my hair and told me it would all be fine (she was older than the twins).

It was so amazing to be able to show the kid that I was vulnerable. Kids sense our stress. Trying to hide it would seem like we are angry at them. I learned that day that it is okay to tell them we need help and we are struggling and we are not perfect. Obviously the message has to be edited for the age of the kid, but it was the last thing I thought I would ever do and the best thing I could do at the time, for me and for the kid.

Give yourself a break. 3 sets of house guests, the end being the in laws, the anniversary approaching, the change in jobs, money worries... It is amazing you are holding it together so well. Ask for help. It is the last thing we strong women feel we can do and the first thing we should do.

thinking of you..

Mama Nabi said...

I love you. I am so sorry that those three words are the only non-inane words I feel like I have to offer.

Our pediatrician, when LN was seriously toddling around - about the twins' age, had to remind me time after time that toddlers will NOT starve themselves and somehow seem to survive on a pea a day for while then will wolf down everything in sight. That's toddlers for you.

Lucky said...

To the comment leavers:
We all must look to this amazing woman for guidance in our own lives. We all know she will never ask the general public for assistance.
We all leave loving and smart comments.
So, what can "we" do?
Send any brainstorming to akraska7@hotmail.com.

Lucky said...

My idea?
Snickollet fits into the agenda of this retreat perfectly and the other attendees will walk away richer just by knowing her...
http://37days.typepad.com/37days/37days-retreat-sept-2628-.html
There is a scholarship for a single parent.
September is a long way away, though.
Still accepting ideas in the meantime...akraska7@hotmail.com

Karly said...

*delurking a bit*

I have been reading for the last few months...had to go back and read from the beginning even.

I hope you find some easier times soon. Some spring-filled happiness.

And I have many days that I count the minutes in the evening until bedtime. From about 5 until 7 is the hardest time of the day, IMO.

Hugs to you mama.

littleangelkisses said...

I think your reactions are completely normal. I wish you had the time/resources for a vacation. I agree, a paypal button...

every tenth said...

Call the laws schools in your area and ask whether they have a real estate clinic. Clinics are run by students supervised by professors, and you might be able to let free legal assistance that way, but the catch is that not all schools offer real estate help. Another alternative is to call your state bar association for a referral to a legal services organization where you could get pro-bono legal representation to help you sort through the house title issues.

silene said...

I haven't commented here in a while, but I want to say 2 things:

1. Yes, paypal button, please!
2. I am a trusts and estates atty and I would be happy to help you with the title transfer. I am not in MA, but I have transferred title to MA properties in estates I have worked on, and I routinely work with some attys there who could guide me through anything particular to MA law. It's pretty simple to do, and I would be more than happy to help.

If working with a complete stranger on something like that feels wierd, the definitely try one of the local law schools (BU comes to mind) to see if they can help. Otherwise, e-mail me and we'll get started!

Sylvie said...

Just wanted to also add my words of encouragement. You've had such a year, and perhaps in just trying to survive, you haven't had any time to process. It is too hard to make big decisions when you spend all your energy just living. I would recommend 2 things for what it's worth: have someone look after the kids one weekend day soon, before April, so at least you can sit quietly by yourself somewhere and relax for 6 straight hours and think. And second, try to find a pro-bono lawyer who will help with the house issue. Then at least if / when you are ready to make the decision to move, it is a feasible option rather than another stressful blockade. Will be thinking of you this weekend, hope it goes well.

Mrs. d. said...

I am so sorry you are feeling this way. Just know that it's OK and it is not a marker that you are a bad person/parent/friend, etc. Your life has really sucked over the last couple of years. Yes, it has been tempered with wonderful things, but it really has been stressful and sucky. Teaching your children that you can fight and make up is good. I know that your preference is to have not yelled at Riley in the first place, but kissing and making up as a family is not a bad second alternative.

It might make sense to start thinking both long- and short-term. One track (long-term) involves planning for how things will be in a year (new location? cheaper area? closer to family? staying put? making money on blog?). The other track (short-term) involves getting yourself as happy as possible now (babysitter? short trip to see friends? inviting friends to visit and help? going on vacation?).

It sounds like you feel as if you are working really, really hard just to barely keep your head above water. Well, it is true. The beauty in that is at least you are able to keep it above water and you have your two wonderful children. If something major (i.e., a move of some kind) needs to happen, you will do it when it's right.

Sorry for the rambling statements, but I hope something in here makes sense. You sound like a wonderful mother, friend, and daughter.

Ami

uberimma said...

I haven't read through all 53 comments, but in case someone hasn't already said it--it might really be time to think seriously about moving closer to your parents. You need help. The kids need it, too. You all need family--and maybe a little bit of a new start.

Also, with three little ones of my own, and having lived in Boston--it's a lot easier to be living someplace where it isn't cold and snowy for months on end. You can get out, there are places to go, you're not reliant on the car, and even if you're in Oregon where it's not all sunshiney all the time, it's just easier when you can be outside.

Jolene said...

I'm so sorry. Don't have any shame...you're doing an amazing job of juggling everything. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you...just know I'm still reading. Hugs...

Snickollet said...

Silene--

Thank you so much for your generous offer. I'd love to e-mail you and talk more about how to handle my RE title transfer, but when I try to view your Blogger profile and find your e-mial address, your profile is unavailable.

Help! (Or are you trying to give me the slip?!)

-snick

Anonymous said...

Haven't read all the comments -- but I would think your home passed to your husband's estate when he died. I would also assume that you are the executor of the estate, and the sole (or one of few) beneficiaries of the estate. Point is, you should be able to sell without getting the home in your name first.

I am an attorney, though not a RE or T&E attorney, so do check up on this. But I'd be surprised if you don't have the right as the executor (assuming you are the executor) to sell your home.

Good luck with all this. Your writing is so good. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your experiences on your blog.

halfmama said...

Snick-- How I wish we still lived in the area because I would tell you to pack your bags and drop Maddie and Riley off on the way to the Cape (we were on the South Shore) for the weekend. Okay, so it's not sunny and warm right now, but I remember visiting during the off-season months, and having such a nice, peaceful time. The quiet there is so nice this time of year.

I'm sorry I never got the chance to do this for you. Although it might seem weird to have a 'virtual' stranger offer to take your kids (mmm... creepy?), I would totally do it for you in a second. And quite honestly, I think Bean and Buddy would have loved to have another set of twins in the house.

Paypal, adsense, blogher ads... do it! Let us help however we can while you share so much of yourself with us.

P.S. I have gotten extremely angry at B&B... for no particular reason other than I am tired. And I have nothing to complain about! I yelled once until Buddy looked at me and sadly asked, "Mommy, why are you so angry?" And I didn't have an answer for him. Not a logical one, anyway. Yeah, not a proud moment for me and I still get sad and ashamed thinking about it.

I know. We are hard on ourselves. But I understand the shame. :( Hang in there. You are getting hit extra hard and a 'simple' thing as a vacation is sometimes all one needs to recharge and reset. I hope you can find a way to do this.

Julia said...

Can your dad come stay with the kids while you go away? And maybe this is the kind of money it's ok to ask your parents for-- the sanity-saving vacation money.
Hoping the weekend went ok. Still reading (bottom to top).