Monday, August 31, 2015

Too Stressed To Think of a Title

I am stressed.

Stressed, like, beyond anything I've ever known.

I underestimated my worth as a stay-at-home-mum, but now that I'm a working mum, I realize just how much I did when I was at home.

I stayed home with the kids when they were sick.
I took them to doctor's appointments and dentist visits.
I took the cats to the vet.
I paid the bills (on time).
I took letters to the post office.
I went to the bank.
I made calls to sort out doctor's appointments, bill queries, banking issues.
I took the cars in for oil changes and maintenance.
I cleaned out the cars.
I cleaned the house.
I kept on top of the laundry.
I kept on top of the dishes. 
I made menus and grocery lists and did the grocery shopping.
I prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I even got in my "me time" by going to the gym and keeping fit and healthy.


All those things still need to get done, but Scott and I both need to leave the house by 7:30 to get the kids to school and daycare and get ourselves to work by 8. We both push ourselves mentally to the limit daily from 8-4:30, only occasionally taking an hour for a lunch break, before heading back home to collect the kids. By the time we get home, it's too late to run errands or make phone calls. By the time we've done homework with the kids, eaten a late dinner, and put all the little people to bed, it's time to tackle all the chores.  

Throw into the mix moving into a new house, where the errands, bills, and housework are thrown into overdrive. We are surrounded by boxes we have no time to empty and loose ends we have no time to tie. We had the old house to clean too, and all the old utilities to reconcile. 

This weekend we drove nine hours to Texas to visit family which was AMAZING (minus the driving part) and fun. But upon arriving back home at 1:45am and seeing the mess my house is in and knowing I'd have to be getting up for work in just five hours was devastating. I thought I'd also get the grocery shopping for the week finally done, after living the last two weeks on takeout, but that never happened either.  

Next week, my in-laws from Scotland are coming. The guest room is still full of boxes and no bed.

I never realized before how tough working mamas have it.  I worked full time from home for several years, which was extremely taxing, but I had no idea how hard it would be to work outside the home and not be able to get daytime tasks accomplished. Some people joke that going to work is a break from the kids, but my job is just one loooong day of a shitload too much to do. I go home from working nonstop all day to thinking of all the things that didn't get done at work and at home that need to get done. I wake up in the middle of the night trying to work out problems that won't let me get back to sleep. I remember half way through my work day that I never paid the car payment but I can't do anything about it because I'm at work. All my perfectly organized systems and daily itineraries are shot. My days run into each other bringing to close week after week without my realizing where the time has gone.

I am stressed.

I tell myself that in time it'll all come together. I'll make a new, albeit busier, routine and fall comfortably into it. But at the moment, I can't see that anywhere. All I see is a rocky landscape stretching to the horizon, and me climbing and tripping over the boulders and loose stones trying to go forward under the glare of a blistering, blinding midday sun. And all that's in the horizon for me is more rocks.

Usually, when I catch myself in danger of depression, I see myself slipping down a steep slope. I see it as a fast, slick descent. Right now, I see it as something I'm pushing myself into, unable to go any other direction other than full force straight into it, because that's the direction and inertia of my life.

How do you working mothers do this? How do you balance work and home? How do you spend all day expending your mental powers on the job and then come home to children who need attention and affection and patient help with homework, without totally coming unglued? 

I want to be that mother who comes home from work and pulls all the children onto her lap like a box full of kittens and snuggles them all with sitcom-worthy good nature before setting the whole family down for a healthy meal of meat and two vegetables. Who then brushes all the teeth and reads all the bedtime stories and tucks in all the blankets and coos as she turns out all the lights. Who throws in a load of laundry, washes all the dinner dishes, and then cuddles up with her husband on the couch with a glass of wine and a happy smile on her face. Who then wriggles into her perfectly made bed (done every morning, of course) with a book to read before slipping easily off to her eight hours of healthful sleep, fresh and ready for the 6 o'clock alarm the next morning.

Instead, I'm the mother who curses at the traffic on her way home from work, who picks up the kids from daycare and screams at the them because they have immediately begun to fight as soon as they get into the car over car seats and seat belts. Who gets home to a messy house and feels a massive headache come on as she tries to figure out what to throw together for dinner in a pinch because she hasn't had time to go to the grocery store in two weeks. Who feels guilty over the lack of vegetables on the plates and the overabundance of starches.  Who then loses her temper when the kids refuse to get dressed for bed because they have suddenly remembered that they have homework they need help with. Who snaps at her husband who also has been working all day over the tiniest things because her patience is gone and the house is a mess and even though they are both trying to carry their weight, the weight is too heavy. And when the kids are finally in their beds, after yet another night with no bedtime story, she looks at all the work that needs to be done and just cries as she moves from room to room doing small tasks that lead to other small tasks that make her feel she has done nothing at all when she looks back over the whole thing. Who collapses into bed without washing her face because she's too exhausted to fucking care that her face is going to break out and eyeliner is going to smudge all over her pillowcase.

That's the beautiful image I see of this girl right here. Hi, I'm Lori, the evil, stressed out arch nemesis of Supermom. Nice to meet you.


  1. I am exhausted just reading this! I know how you feel, I don't work 9-5, but at night and during the day, I'm schooling 4 of my kids at home which leave 0 time for getting chores done. My house is pretty disgusting and I was in tears this week myself. I don't know how we are to do this, either.

  2. I tried to write you a comment; I think it was yesterday. But I was interrupted, and it vanished, and i can't remember what I was saying, except that I am sorry. You can always quit your job if it comes to that. Sometimes I think bearing a thought like that in mind can help you during an adjustment phase. You tell yourself, "I am doing this because I want to, not because I have to." Somehow that can have a fortifying effect. You have to give it all a chance to settle. You will develop new routines and strategies. You've had a lot of changes all at once: school, move, new job. Could you take a day or two off at some point in the near future to finish unpacking? Sometimes unpacking (or any housework) is a lot more "fun" if you are escaping work to do it, rather than just staring it in the face every day as you wake up. I'll bet your in-laws will be a great help and encouragement when they come. Just get their bed set up. They will help with the rest. :-)


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