Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The summer of my discontent....

So...yeah...not the best holiday weekend. Didn't help to wake up to blog and FB posts galore of FUN TIMES! FAMILY & FRIENDS! BBQ FIREWORKS PARTIES! WHOO HOO! Nothing like holidays to cause major FOMO when you weren't actually invited to any parties, and the fireworks are just too late and too crowded and too loud and were desperately counting down the end of the excess family togetherness but also dreading another looming work day full of annoyances and insurmountable hurdles.

It was a combination of many factors this weekend. It was sort of cool and gray and rainy---which is refreshing & delightful overall, but the kids weren't in the mood to go swimming or play in the fountains when there was a definite chill in the air. My MIL had a major tantrum Saturday about the fact that we planned for her to visit for only 2 weeks this summer because somehow she had it in her head that she was coming for an entire month (or the whole summer? unclear what she thought or why she thought it). Histrionics, tears, shouting, guilt-trips, multiple phone calls, enlisting other family to call, etc... and finally we compromised on 3 weeks. Which, ugh, in and of itself, but UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH how she did it, so that it ruined our freaking day and made me so anxious I could barely eat. We were debating between 2 and 3 weeks ANYWAYS so if she was reasonable & conveyed her thoughts & feelings to us respectfully...but never mind, she is bat-shit and there is no point analyzing her behavior.

Then there was G who "needed a break" from "doing things together" when I tried to plan family outings. I did give him the break---most of Sunday and some of Monday. He worked on a long long procrastinated project, and indeed he was refreshed and ready to take over again by Monday evening. He took the boys out so I could get my break (which consisted of cathartic crying, drinking wine, and watching Gilmore Girls on the iPad). And of course the boys themselves who were in spectacular form, just so sweet and adorable...and chock full of complaining and whining and "bad words" (not real bad words, but words we don't want them to say, like "stupid" and "what the HECK?!") and general grumpiness. It is exhausting to deal with bad attitudes all day long. Just so freaking exhausting. I yelled more than I want to think & delivered many pointless lectures about the importance of positive attitudes and seeing the bright side and letting things go. And that is conflicting for me. I certainly don't want to tell them to put a smile on and stuff their feelings inside...but sometimes I do...just for an hour or two? Can they just PRETEND that something isn't "boring" and "yucky"? There were consequences, like no screen time, which hurt US as much as it hurt them.

Oh and also? Sunday---I packed lunches and took the boys to the dinosaur museum, to have a picnic lunch near the fountains, to the library to return & get books and got them signed up for summer reading program which involved prizes & books, and then to the best gelato place in town for a treat. G took them out for an hour to a park (also got them ice cream). And I hear: "The best part of the weekend was going with Daddy. I LOVE going places with you, Daddy!" Also today I heard from B "this was the worst 4th of July ever, because we didn't see fireworks" (as IF we would do fireworks in our tiny backyard! I like having 20 digits on each of us! And the poor doggy was already besides herself! or that we would take them to the crazy crowded city concert/fireworks that didn't end til 11pm...in the RAIN?!)

I am postponing...for the second time...a grant submission til the next cycle. I just don't have my preliminary data, supporting manuscripts, or ideas/research plans together enough for this resubmission to be remotely successful. If it was just me, I'd go ahead and submit it anyways, but I really don't want to wear out my welcome with my collaborators and consultants by asking yet AGAIN for letters and CVs and such when I KNOW I can (and WILL) have a better package to send out in a month or two. But UGH. I feel like its my own damn fault for procrastinating and not being efficient and productive. Its a downward spiral of shame/guilt that is so unhelpful---I feel bad about not being productive, and the feeling bad leads to feeling so overwhelmed that I freeze and become even LESS productive.

And while I'm at it...I've also gained weight and my clothes feel uncomfortable and my hair is growing out and looks like total crap (but I have no room in my budget for another salon haircut and NO I'M NOT CUTTING IT MYSELF). Also, while I got many compliments on the short cut, it was too maintenance heavy for summer; I can't blow dry & straighten it every time we go to the pool or get caught in a thunderstorm. I keep getting up early to meditate and no matter how early I get up, someone comes downstairs right when I'm finishing up my coffee and ready to turn on my meditation app.

Yes I know this is cranky and ranty. I'm not in the best mood these days. To top it off my therapy session has been cancelled TWICE, from Friday to today and now next Friday (supposedly!) and I was really really really looking forward to having someone to talk to about all this.

I'm coping by going to the gym (I missed bodypump on Saturday even though I planned so well for the 9:30 class. because it was at 9), going outside as much as possible, and binge watching Lost after the kids are in bed (its so good! I had no idea!). Also wine.


26 comments:

  1. Sorry the weekend was so sucky! Your coping mechanisms sound excellent, though. A good mix of the healthy and he decadent.

    Yesterday was kind of crappy for me, too. A fight with my dad because he was being himself. And then K asked for the day off work and ended up going in for 6 hours (not his fault). Luckily we turned it around with a nice fireworks party, though. I hope things pick up for you soon, too.

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  2. I hear you!! Why is it that sometimes it feels like the more fun things you plan the worse the kids behave?! A little gratitude and graciousness would go a long way.

    Hope things are looking up soon. I'm there with the wine and GG!

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    1. I'm in season 7 now. its so weird. I just want to finish it, but I get so little time to watch. I've been watching this damn show for about 18 months now.

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  3. *Hug*

    Lost is good! I hope I can convince my husband to watch it with me so I can start over.

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    1. My husband is re-watching it so that I can watch it...it took zero convincing.

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    2. ....it took zero convincing

      LOL

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  4. We told Dylan she could have a mlp figure if she didn't whine before bed for a week. F not covering up your feelings. You gotta learn to do it sometime. It worked too, btw. I also told her to stop bothering me so I could read my fun book (i.e. Not studying) on multiple occasions. It's ok, you don't have to be perfect. Sounds like a garbage weekend. Sorry that happened.

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    1. i am ALL ABOUT the bribes. it doesn't always work for us. Actually it works for B, but not for L---he just can't figure it all out, and he's older/same age as Dylan. I wonder what goes on in his head sometimes, he's so strange.

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    2. My daughter understands bribes but my son never really did. (Nor did he understand reward charts or all sorts of common toddler things.) Maybe he does now that he's nine? It is definitely odd how different things just don't work for some kids.

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  5. Sounds exhausting. How is your sleep?

    One thing to consider: your kids - like all kids - seem to say things are boring and yucky, etc. They are going to do it again. Have you considered having a few stock, non-emotional phrases ready and/or just acknowledging their feelings and moving on? You can't be talked about your negative feelings, and neither can they. Seems like a lot of your energy and good will are being lost as you try.

    As for the compliments to Daddy thing, I'm sure it stings. I, too, hear it as well. If you can, you have to let that one go. It doesn't mean they don't love time with you, even if their words and actions in the moment say otherwise.

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    1. well, yes, I know that. And I usually do just ignore or give a pat answer "yes, I understand you feel that way". Its just ALL THE DAMN TIME. It gets old, when its been from 6:30 AM to 9PMish EVERY DAY.
      And, actually the Daddy thing doesn't usually bother me AT ALL. They go back and forth on this all the time and its funny, actually. If they prefer Daddy today, whoo hoo, mommy gets a break! But this time, it just did for some reason.

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  6. *hugs*
    I totally sympathize on having house guests for way too long. I can only offer that we get MIL together with my mom, hopefully they cancel each other. But in all seriousness, I got nothing

    Sometimes I just feel grumpy and yucky and need space. Running to take a shower and shave my legs and just not be bugged for a while helps. I have also moved to waxing my eyebrows and cutting my own hair as I am rarely happy with the salon anyway and have to wait to be squeezed in (I have been cutting other people's hair for many years, so I am not a total diletante, but wielding a Nair stick on eyebrows for the first couple of times was scary).

    Anyway, I think you shouldn't be so tough on yourself. We are all fed these ideas that people should be sunny and happy and positive all the time. It's not realistic for most people. I am much more positive now then I was in my youth before emigrating, but I think as positive as I am now is my maximum. Years of upbringing among grumpy people and grumpy genes if there's such a thing do leave a mark, and that's okay. My longwinded point is that if you are sometimes grumpy, that's fine, don't worry about it. I am usually patient with my kids, but when I don't have it in me, I actually say those words: "Sorry, I am just really grumpy today. You didn't do anything wrong, I am not angry with you, I am just in a bad mood." And it does take some of the pressure off of me, and the kids are usually very understanding; they don't think it's a big deal, and give me some space or sometimes try to cheer me up by being silly or snuggling, which usually works.

    I think it's a mistake to pretend like we grownups are oases of perennial calm and patience. It's unattainable for most people and denying how we are really felling is not a good role model for the kids anyway.

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    1. Thank you so so much for this comment! All of it resonates (except the DYI haircut/eyebrow thing...I actually don't mind going to the salon---I can read while I wait, and the hair salon gives me beer! its just the $$$)

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    2. Ditto. This comment rings true to me too. And we can't compare our real selves with the collection of snippets we see in others' FB and blog pages. That's just not reality 100% of the time. It's just a small slice of what these authors are truly experiencing.

      Good for you for putting it out there and thereby getting a reality check.

      Sounds like with a special needs child, a demanding career, marriage and motherhood plus a manipulative passive aggressive mil trying to move into your life for 3 weeks, you're doing an excellent job of managing life and balancing everything.

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    3. 100% agree. I think you're doing amazing.

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    4. Also totally agree! One that you are doing a great job, and the last part:
      "I think it's a mistake to pretend like we grownups are oases of perennial calm and patience. It's unattainable for most people and denying how we are really felling is not a good role model for the kids anyway."

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  7. aghghgh. I think you will feel so much better when you have resumed your normal routine. And maybe even some of the ugh feeling will fade and you will have happy memories of the trip in the end.

    re: the complaining, is it mostly B or L too now? do you think it's more of a habit/pattern that he has just ingrained or does he mean it when he is complaining? (i'm not really troubleshooting, just curious!).

    the MIL stuff sounds UNBELIEVABLY challenging. honestly that would be enough to push me over the edge right there.

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    1. oh its both of them. I think L learned it from B, who is genuinely grumpy. Also L is going through something these days and is REALLY challenging. I stand by my belief that FOUR is the worst for my kids. I think he's dropping his nap? So he is SO SO tired and screamy from about 5pm to 8pm.

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  8. Re:MIL

    Are there any week long conferences you can go to?

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    1. I did this in the spring when she came (I KNOW. she JUST came!) and it was amazing. I have no money for conferences left and its pretty last minute (she is coming in 2 weeks!)

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    2. Maybe you could "try really hard" to get that grant in, necessitating late nights at the office?

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  9. Oh girl. I feel you 1000% on this post. I haven't been posting on my blog because the weather has continued to be shitty and I know I can't write anything but FUCK THIS FOR REALZ and we are a day away from heading home and I am just counting the minutes.

    I cannot fathom three weeks at MIL's. And you have to use your vacay time?! Ahhhh!!! And I'm sure she totally gives your kids whatever they want and then you get to be the bitch who tried to rein it in, or has to seriously detox them when they get home, right? (Or is that just my MIL? ;) The close quarters alone is enough to get to anyone. We are certainly feeling that. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed without my kids two feet away in either direction.

    I don't have any words of wisdom to make it better, just soilidarity in feeling shitty about how summer expectations are never met and what a bummer that can be.

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    1. She is coming to us...so no vacay time used but YES with the give-in-to-everything and me having to be the bitch & the detox. UGH. Its all candy and screen time all day long when she's around. yuck.

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  10. Three weeks? OMG. You are a saint! Our 4th was very low key because we came back from the beach the day before and were exhausted. It's usually my husband's favorite holiday, but none of us were really in the mood. A couple of our neighbors have amazing fireworks, and we couldn't even drag ourselves outside. It did sting the next day to see pics on FB of happy, smiling neighbors watching the show.

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  11. I get the Daddy thing, too. It frustrates the hell out of me because I think: "why do you take me for granted?" But then I think: maybe I have to show them how to appreciate people better. And tell them how I feel. (e.g. "It hurts my feelings sometimes when I don't feel appreciated." Which has actually worked ... and helps them learn to communicate their feelings, too.

    But yes: summer is cracked up to be so much more than it ends up being, especially when you have to work (which I do, too)!

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