Yep, you guessed it! ME!!! Have you ever seen a scene in a movie or a cartoon where there is a robot that is getting way overloaded with information and his head starts steaming and vibrating and spinning and eventually explodes? That is how I feel some of these days. Wound up tight… rubber band about to pop. And when those bands snap, they hurt!
I wonder how I ever managed to work full time (in a demanding job that required travel and long hours none the less) while getting two small children up,fed, dressed, and dropped off, plus all of the normal responsibilities (dinner, baths, grocery shopping, housework, etc.) without losing my mind. I honestly can’t even imagine trying to do all of that with three children, and to those moms who manage to pull it off, I salute them! As it is, I’m home with the kids and I still feel like I will never be able to get this three ring circus running like a well oiled machine. I am not, and have never been, an organized and routine oriented person. I know that is what children need to function at their best, but I just can’t seem to get us there. Therefore, we are just one big “hot mess” of a family. I feel like my kids are out of control, and as a result, I am going nuts!!!
As an example, I recently took my five year old son to his first swimming lesson. I had to take all three children because it was scheduled at a time before my husband was home from work. Now this was a swimming lesson that I organized through some of the other mothers in our Moms Club. We hired a swimming instructor to teach a group lesson and I didn’t know quite what to expect. Since my son can already swim I imagined he would be getting instruction on better form and how to do actual strokes. I envisioned myself sitting at the side of the pool with the girls and watching as BB took his lesson.
Well… that’s not exactly how it went.
We arrived a few minutes late because I got lost on our way. The other two moms were already in the pool with their sons, who both had on floaties and clearly were not at the same level of swimming as my son. Once I realized it was expected for moms to be IN the pool with the kids, I sheepishly told them I had not even worn a bathing suit, because I knew I couldn’t get in the pool with the two girls. And I didn’t think I would need to since BB can swim. I got that look – you know the one – the what kind of an idiot are you?? look.
So, I got my son into the pool and found a chair in the shade to watch his lesson. Well, it did not go well. BB was too excited by the fact that one of his friend’s was also at the pool, he was bored by the little arm exercises the instructor had the other kids do, and he kept getting out of the pool and wandering off from the lesson or just swimming off to the other side of the pool. I would stand at the edge of the pool and yell his name to try to chorale him back to the rest of the group, to be met only by NOTHING. Completely ignored. I was growing angry and I felt helpless. I mean, what could I do? Jump into the five foot deep pool fully clothed and drag him over to the rest of the group?? The thought did cross my mind.
Finally the miserable 30 mins was over and the swimming coach came over to tell me she thought the lessons may be more appropriate for my two year old… not my five year old son. Ya think??
The afternoon ended by me having to jump into the kiddie pool to drag my son out, because he would not listen to me when it was time to leave. At that point I got the other look from the parents. The we’re all going to try and pretend we are not witnessing this horrible scene of bad parenting and a really bratty child! look.
I piled the kids into the van, drove home quite angry, and let the kids know I’d had enough and there would be “no more Mr. Nice Guy!” We ate dinner and then they were required to spend the rest of the evening in their rooms.
I am trying so hard to implement more routine into their lives, and to develop a lifestyle that does not drive us all bonkers. However, it’s been a difficult road. We have implemented a mandatory “quiet time” in their rooms for one hour each day, and my son now has a “Responsibility and Rewards” chart… but I’m not sure he quite gets the concept. The sad truth of it is that I’m not even trying to be “Mr. Nice Guy” but in reality I am just so exhausted and some days flat out overwhelmed with the responsibilities of raising three small children and managing all other aspects of a household that I just cannot always find the energy to be consistent. Yet I am learning the very difficult lesson that unless I want many more days like that terrible swimming lesson, I better learn to dig deep and find it within me to provide the structure these kids need.
Sometimes, especially when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, I wonder if maybe God didn’t know exactly what He was doing when we lost Kathryn. Sadly, I wonder if I could have even kept afloat with four small children or if my life might have just spiraled out of control. I guess I’ll never know.