Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Suffering

I'm not feeling as enlightened today.  I'm struggling to get back on track.  I know this is part of the deal with being human.  I know this is definitely part of the deal with being Heather Minter.  My ups and downs have certainly leveled off as I've gotten older and healed a lot of open wounds, but I think I'll forever be on a wave pattern with my mood and wellness and motivation.  I tried to do the Yoga Meltdown yesterday, and I did it.  But I didn't try as hard as I usually do.  I struggled to find that "ganas" within me to push myself.  I just felt like crumbling.  I am glad I stayed.  I'm trying to just stay.  I have all those usual places I go to for comfort...food, alcohol, TV, music and plain old laziness.  I'm trying to just do what I have to do and not focus on these feelings of "don't want to."  But everything feels so half-hearted.  Where is this coming from?  Why now?  Where did my strength of mind go?  When will it come back?

The kids have been sick for weeks.  The doctor says they have allergies.  Now Zoe is really sick and crying all the time and wanting me to hold her.  And that makes Elliot want me to hold him.  And while that's going on Maya is usually doing something naughty like stripping the sheets off all the beds or opening the basement door or stealing gum or giving everyone metal spoons to beat the walls...it never ends.  I feel like I have to be on constant Maya Watch, which is completely exhausting.  I know for sure that I'm expecting her to have done something bad when I leave the room.  Unfortunately, I'm usually right.  It's so hard to pick my battles.  I know that stripping the sheets is not a big deal, but it exhausts my spirit.  It's another thing I have to do before the next nap - make all three beds.  I try to focus on things that are potentially dangerous for Maya or the babies like access to the stairs or access to the electrical outlets or using the cord to a lamp as a "jump rope."  It's just, after a while, I'm tired and grumpy and start getting angry even before it happens.  Afterwards, I tell people, and I know it's funny.  I know years from now I'll laugh about her pooping in the bath and playing with the poop.  But it almost made me cry the other night.  I had to spank her and drain the bath and scrub it out and wash her and get through it while she screamed that she was cold and mad at me.

I'd really like a road-map or a framework for this parenting gig.  I picked up this discipline book, but I have only read a couple of things.  And I just don't see how I'm supposed to answer each time she calls for me as an example for her to respond when I call.  She calls me all day.  Last night she was screaming in the bath, so Marco ran in there.  She just wanted to tell him that she wasn't ready to get out.  Seriously??  I think she spends her days dreaming up ways to break us down.  She must have been an interrogator in a former life.  It's so hard to maintain the vigilance of not giving in with all the screaming and begging and tantrums.  It's so hard to have fights over something totally insane.  And I question myself, "Should I just give her a different cup, or should I stick this out because of the principle?"  Can you really ever know?

Well, this post is a poorly written ramble, but that's where I'm at.  I want to document it.  I feel like I was doing so well maintaining the vigilance.  But now I just feel like giving up.  I want a break, but there is no such thing.  I could get a babysitter for an evening, but I still have to get up in the night with sick babies and a screaming toddler.  I still have tomorrow.  I know that sounds so defeatist.  But today I'm feeling defeated.

Can I just stay here and feel this feeling?  Last night, in the middle of the night, when Maya was throwing a tantrum because I wouldn't let her in our bed (we already had Zoe, who is sick), I was so overwhelmed with anger.  I found myself wanting to spank her.  That sounds awful, but it just felt like I could spank her and get her to stop screaming and yelling and keeping everyone awake.  I tried so hard to just stay there and feel that anger and figure out that it was really fear.  I struggled to turn that around into compassion.  I tried so hard to put myself in her shoes and feel the frustration and sadness and rejection and fear of my own anger.  I felt like I might just snap or fall apart or disappear.  I don't know if I really accomplished anything or learned anything, but I didn't hit her.  I did take her water and talk to her.  I felt so angry, and at first I told her that and was almost shouting.  But I could see her little face in the dark, and my whole spirit just felt so terrible.  I hugged her, and she did go to sleep then.  But Elliot woke up shortly thereafter and ended up in bed with us.

I'm writing now to sort this out, to ignore the cleaning, to take a break.  I'm listening to music to try to soothe this brokenness, but I'm just feeling low.  I will still exercise today.  I will still clean and do 3 loads of laundry and bike to pick up Maya and all of that.  I have to do it.  And I won't eat and drink.  I don't want to stay here.  I don't want to.  But this is my suffering.  This moment is my teacher.  If I'm serious about learning, then I better fucking buck up when it gets tough because that's when I can learn the most.  I can soften, or I can become more angry.  I can go back into my cocoon of self-indulgence, or I can just feel this aching exhaustion and try to find the heart center in it.  Some people can't afford to go to the doctor.  Some people don't have children.  Some people are in unhappy marriages.  Some people don't have food to eat.  I can suffer this with the idea that they don't have to...or something like that.

6 comments:

melissa said...

You are doing a great job under much stress! Remembering to breathe is the first step. It's ok to be tired, angry, frustrated, etc... and when you need it, ask for a break/help. It takes a village!!!

Anonymous said...

Your are my hero, it is valid to admit how much you struggle trying to maintain the balance with the needs of three babies at home. You need at least three days at the beach by yourself or with Marco. I can schedule myself to replace you for those days at home and help on some more to make it happen. Plan and let me know what you think...
Love you all!! Lulu

KatieKjomeCollins said...

Oh Heather, I'm so glad you're writing and sharing all this. You nailed it at the end for me - how come no one told us (or me at least) that so much of mothering is about becoming stronger? It's hard and exhausting and crushing sometimes, but seriously, I never knew we'd learn to be so strong...even if we feel like helpless failures in the midst of it. Alek worked till 8pm for the first time today and I'm ready to crash after single-parenting just TWO kids through the evening routine of play/even-just-tv, dinner, bath, bedtime... And you do it every day with THREE! Hang in there my friend. We'll make - and so will our kids : )

Anonymous said...

Time for FL!! Hang in there my friend. This too shall pass :)

~ Jill

sonja said...

is it bad to say that at times I feel the exact same way you feel sometimes... overwhelmed, tired, worn out, unmotivated, etc etc...

and...
I
don't
have
any kids!

just me!!!!
I try to think of people like you when I feel sorry for myself! You are amazing Heather! You and all the moms out there who are superheros everyday!

when I am tired out... I take a break, I take time for myself, I relax and I just do whatever I want to.
I cannot imagine what I will do if I ever have children.

I do hope that in whatever way you can, that you can take time for yourself- and totally relax and enjoy relaxing (I know that is almost impossible to do) ...remember that when kids are sick and not feeling well, you do have to take more time for yourself too--b/c you are putting out so much extra energy for them as well!

love you millions...

Anonymous said...

Heather, you are moving through life fully aware. So much more than almost everyone else on this planet. When I was in my most difficult years, I would project myself into the future in my mind and try to feel how much I would miss the present. This really helped. Project yourself into the future and picture all of the kids gone off on their own. Although this may seem delightful on the surface, if you really connect with your 'future self' this time will become at least slightly more enjoyable. I promise. You should be so proud of yourself, sister. I love you!

Scott

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