I've been a bit on edge lately.
It seems that having four small children, no more than four consecutive hours of sleep, changing an untold number of diapers, preparing and mailing Christmas cards, last minute shopping, wrapping unusual shaped presents (a coffee thermos?), introducing a baby to solids and all that *other* stuff that I do everyday, has finally caught up to me. It caught up, knocked me down and started kicking hard.
Sometimes I might feel this way, but it will typically pass in a day. Two at most. But this time, it's been lingering and intensifying. I've been feeling so overwhelmed and in need of a really, really good cry. A good bawling, the shaking, sobbing, slobbery faced kind of cry that will clear out my senses. The kind that will leave me with a headache from the energy expelled. The kind that will require a Tylenol and a glass of wine. And a small bowl of ice cream. With a brownie.
Everything, and I mean everything, has been setting me off. I suspect that the mental collapse and admittance in to an institution I've been teetering around has been influenced by a culmination of events. For starters.
A month ago, I turned down a potentially large career opportunity. In my heart of hearts, I didn't accept the opportunity because I don't want to work full-time. I don't want to relocate our family and work 40+ hours a week. I don't want to do a lot of business travel. On a plane.
How could I leave Charlie at home? What about his career?
How could I expect that he can do what I do? Even if he could do some things better?
How could I leave my baby?
I have reservations about returning to work. I don't want to be buried under the bureaucracy of the next "new" system and the rules that are constantly changing and evolving and nearly impossible to stay caught up on. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Why would I want to be sitting in a meeting about ... something ... when I could be teaching my children how to do a somersault or hold my little baby close, stroke his cheek and watch him doze off to sleep while nursing? What's really important in my life??
I am away from the children for a few hours and I feel invigorated. When I found myself on the phone with various regulators last week regarding the lawless carpet cleaning neighbor, I felt empowered. I love working and making a difference. I also love getting a pay check. Which is really important when you are the kind of person who is unable to control their buying impulse when flipping through a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue.
The reality is, we lived for so long without children, that we are accustomed to buying whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Unfortunately going from a DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle, to a SINK (single income numerous kids) lifestyle can wreak absolute havoc on your financial situation if you're not careful. Even if you are careful. Offspring that are outgrowing clothes almost faster than I can wash them, are quite costly.
I love being home. But at the risk of sounding like a whiner, the triplets are driving me nuts. My friend Debbie described it as the "cumulative" phenomenon. It's easy to be impartial and level headed when you're not inundated with chaotic behavior constantly. The first time you tell them not to climb on the kitchen table, it's no big deal. The ten, twentieth, one hundredth time, you are ready to explode.
You do explode.
You raise your voice.
Your arms start swinging.
You say things that are unkind.
Like when they fall off the table and land smack on their head, instead of rushing to help them you say "That's what happens when you don't listen to me. Hurts, doesn't it? Wanna do it again?"
Or, when your son bites his sister for the umpteenth time, you wrap up his beloved blanket in a bag, toss it out the front door and tell him that it's going in to the ocean. And then you watch the most pained look imaginable cross his small face and listen to him sob hysterically for the next 30 minutes while you eat Twizzlers and pleasingly feel like the biggest ass to have ever walked the earth.
Interestingly enough, today when I heard one of the coaches at gymnastics talk sternly to my son when he was going the wrong way on the beam, I was ready to attack. I can threaten to throw his most valued possession in to the sea and yet a teacher who says "Stop! We're going THIS way, you need to pay attention!" makes me rabid.
How! DARE! She!
That's MY baby. But if he crosses me one more time today, I am going to launch him clear in to outer space.
Even though Charlie and I could live high on the hog if we were both to return to work, we are being pulled by some insane force to home school our children. Those very children that often drive us completely crazy. We are actually looking in to educating them at home. Have we been drugged?
Earlier this week, I took a little bit of time following a dentist appointment to run to the post office and pick up some baby food at the grocery store. Time was short. Charlie needed to get in to the office, so I felt like I had to rush.
I always feel like I have to rush.
I drive to a Mailboxes, Etc. before realizing that I should pinch pennies and although it would be more convenient to mail my packages from that location, I should really go to the post office. So I get back in my car and drive a mile to the post office.
There is a line.
Of course there's a line!! It's a week before Christmas!!
But, there is much smaller line at the automated service center (ASC). So I stand in that line, instead. Meanwhile, the long line gets really short - but because I'm next in line for the ASC, I don't want to leave. As it turns out, the woman in front of me has at least 30 envelopes and is weighing each and every one, because she has pictures in them - and no two envelopes are the same or will require identical postage. After trying to focus on something, anything other than the precious time that is slipping by while I'm wasting time waiting to mail my package - it is finally my turn.
I purchase postage for two parcels but see that Media Rate is not available at the ASC for the package of books I'm sending to my father. Considering the "book rate" is at least 3/4 the price of priority mail, I decide that I can either go stand in the line that is now extending out the door, or, go back to Mailboxes, Etc.
As I'm driving back to Mailboxes, Etc. I'm angry that I'm flailing so much. Why didn't I just stand in the customer service line at the post office in the first place? Why can't I execute something flawlessly? Why must everything be so difficult? Why am I so impatient? Have I always been this impatient? Does a normal person feel like freaking out because it took eight minutes instead of five to get something done? Does anyone else want to scream because their child goes slower than molasses whenever they wash their hands?
What's the rush?
Am I supposed to be somewhere?
Usually, no. But that doesn't stop me from feeling like we need to hurry and move on to the next thing. And the next. And then, go to bed so I can have some quiet time. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy - children that I prayed for everyday for 10 years straight - go to sleep and leave me alone.
After I dropped my packages off, I stopped by the grocery store to buy baby food. I dash in to the store and grab a hand basket. But, there are several hand baskets stuck together. I try to pull them apart and am unsuccessful. I am visibly struggling with the hand baskets to the point that I shake them over my head before putting them on the ground and hold them down with my feet while pulling up on the metal handles. I notice people coming in after me that are picking up one basket at a time, without problem. Meanwhile, I'm ready to roll across the floor to get my stupid basket free.
Everything is easy for everyone but me.
I collect my baby food and a few other items. I head to the checkout line. I pay, collect my items and drive home. The next morning, when I go to feed the baby, the organic value pack of fruit that I bought the day before is missing. It must have been left on the counter at the store. I'm certain I paid for it, because I know that I didn't spend $23.00 on sweet potatoes, peas, carrots and a box of Duncan Hines.
I feel like I've got an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and am running in circles.
And since I've started feeding Henry solids and have cut back on nursing, there has definitely been a shift in body chemistry. Earlier this week, I was feeling so unstable that I questioned if maybe I had the onset of postpartum depression. But now that I've written this blog, I have diagnosed myself with three-year old psychosis intensified by the Holidays.
Either way, I really think I need to be medicated.
Or, drink large quantities of egg nog and brandy.