[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.