The Between-ness of Growing Up

There is a common misconception of growing up, that once you reach adulthood you are at a definite location in your life. As a teenager you think that being an adult means you have things figured out. You have a working definition of who you are. Your life makes sense, and you have “it all” figured out. 
In my experience as an “adult”, I have found that it is more of a general “in between-ness” rather than a definite place. You don’t really have anything figured out, much less “it all”, and rather than a definition of who you are, you are a continuous work-in-progress. Being an adult is less about knowing where  you are, and more about knowing where you have been and where you want to be. You end up in the middle. Stuck, right there, in between everything. 

Here are a few examples of “adulthood”

1. Wanting to go out drinking with friends but not wanting the three-day-you-aren’t-nineteen-anymore hangover.

2. Wanting to be done University but not really wanting to join the real world.

3. Wanting to save for a house but wanting to go on that awesome vacation

4. Disneyland or Tropical Beach?

5. Wanting to save for retirement but wanting to spend money doing fun things- right now.

6. Wanting to have kids and not wanting to give up Saturday sleep-ins and spontaneous sex

7. Planning a spa weekend or planning a wedding?

8. Wanting your kids to need you and cuddle you forever but wanting them to grow up and do things for themselves.

9. Wanting a “real job” but not wanting more responsibilities

10. Waking up wondering how you ended up in this nightmare but never wanting this wonderful dream to end.

So, adulthood is not so much an endpoint, as a constant starting point. You keep starting over in the middle of something new. It stays that way, I assume, until you enter old age (I’ll let you know when I get there) –Stuck right in the middle of all your plans and “reality”. Whatever that means.

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday: Identity? (Original Post from my First Blog which no longer is active)

Part of why I am doing this blogging thing is to be brutally honest with myself about myself.
I recently went back to school because I want to be a counsellor. Not just any counsellor, one specializing in sexuality. (Seems funny if you read my rant about “the talk” with my son but it is less awkward with other people!)

Why do I want to do this? I want to help people who are having problems in their lives sexually. People who, for whatever reason, aren’t performing well, or are struggling with their sexuality. I want to help them come to terms with their sexual struggle and what this means for their identity. 

A lot of who we are is tied to our sexuality, in fact, probably too much. Women are told they need to be sexy to get a man and they need a man to have a family and they need a family to avoid ending up alone with a million cats and a rocking chair on some falling apart porch in the country. Men constantly hear how women don’t stay with “minute men” or how we are so often unsatisfied, creating a fear that no woman will stay if you aren’t the best lover in the world. (I think we can all figure out how struggling with homosexuality, bisexuality,etc causes fear and anxiety.. if not, google that shit. It is EVERYWHERE.)

What we don’t do is offer a safe world to learn and change in sexually.
Still not sure what I mean? Let me take you on a hard journey of mine..(You are lucky, even some of my closest friends are hearing this for the first time..)

A few years ago I met a wonderful man who loves me and respects me and who is great with his kids and mine. He is a one of a kind man, and we had a firey romance from the start. Our sex life was great (SORRY MOM) and even if our finances sucked, or we had a hard parenting day, I could look forward to snuggling up and knowing if I wanted sex, not only could I have it, I was GOOD AT IT.

About a year after we moved in together, though, shit got shitty. It started to really hurt when we had sex, and I mean REALLY hurt. To the point I was crying and he couldn’t even look in my direction or it hurt. (Okay, I may be overreacting, but it felt like someone lit my girl parts on FIRE.. can you imagine it? Don’t. It hurts to imagine too!)

I found out that I had HPV. (Yeah, that was a bloody shock. I had always been careful, knew the history of those I slept with, used condoms, etc.. yeah but uh, it’s pretty damn easy to catch. F*ck)
So.. okay.. go to the doctor, treat the HPV, go back to the doctor, treat it again.. it sucks, it is embarrassing, and you feel like absolute SHIT but the doctor says “It’s really common. It’s super easy to treat. You will be better before you know it”.. so you have a pretty good outlook.(It still sucks, GET YOUR DAUGHTERS VACCINATED!!!)

All that treatment, however, causes irritation, which, wouldn’t you know it, makes sex painful (wasn’t that my problem in the first place?) I mean, obviously, not always, but in me it sure did. So treatment is done, and hey, I still can’t get down.

My doctor doesn’t know what is going on so let’s go to doctor number two..tests, abnormal PAP..more tests.. biopsy..more tests.. LEEP procedure..(Through all of this I would like to note I got NO information..completely in the dark) WHAM! “You had cancer but we THINK we got it all with the LEEP”
(GET REGULAR PAP TESTS! IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!)

Woah woah woah! (I know, you are thinking, what? Where the hell did that come from? Me too)

All THAT poking and prodding and crap continued to make it PAINFUL to have sex.. so hmm 2 years..no sex. As if that isn’t bad enough in itself but now we enter THE EMOTIONS.
This is the part that fuels my career ambitions.

I started to fall apart. I got really depressed, I cried all the time. If my hubby got flirty I was frustrated and angry cause he knew I couldn’t have sex, and if he didn’t I felt unwanted, and like he would leave. I felt like a failure as a woman, and I mean FAILURE. I couldn’t have sex, I didn’t feel sexy, if I could never have sex I couldn’t have any more babies, I had completely lost my identity. I felt like nothing. I kept asking my husband “what could you possibly want to stay with me for? I’m useless” and tell him to go find someone who could give him what he wanted.

It took months of him telling me I was smart, and funny, and kind, and all these other things that I even started to realize he wasn’t leaving. It took even longer, journalling, finding hobbies, etc to feel like I had some worth outside of my sexual ability. 

I still struggle at times with feelings of worthlessness because we still have troubles sometimes. All that trauma down there left my lady bits a bit sensitive, and it does get frustrating still.. but together we are getting through it. 

I want to help people through those types of feelings, I want to be someone who helps get people on the path to finding a new identity when any part of their sexual identity gets taken away. To see their trouble as a new way to live, instead of a loss or a flaw, and to be there for people in the way my husband was there for me. ❤

What’s missing…

Since we stopped talking, I have found myself occasionally evaluating my life without you. It’s sad, but it doesn’t seem strange not to talk to you, and I don’t feel like my life is much different. What a statement about the lack of relationship we had to begin with. There are some things I am missing, though:

1. Disappointment. I am missing the all too familiar feeling that came when you didn’t call, remember my birthday, and finally, when you didn’t want to get to know me.
2.Anger. I have plenty of anger in my life at times, but since we stopped talking, I find myself without a reason to be angry with you. I don’t spend the days leading up to my birthday waiting to be pissed off. I am not angry that you don’t want to talk to me. I am not angry that you can go months without even seeing me.
3. Responsibility/Guilt. I no longer have to rearrange my plans at the last minute when you text to say you are visiting in 24hours. Nor do I have to feel guilty if I can’t make sure the kids are all there to see you. I don’t feel bad if I don’t know you well enough to pick out a meaningful Christmas gift. 
4. My siblings. Unfortunately, the only time I ever see or talk to any of my siblings is when we are all with you. Since I am no longer there, they seemingly no longer have time for me. I miss them. All four of them. 
5. Hope. I don’t have the hope that things will change. I don’t sit there every time you message me on facebook, telling myself you will start talking to me regularly. I don’t hope that one of these days you will wake up and be sad that you have a stranger for a daughter. 

I think about those things, and I try to think about what my kids are missing. I really don’t know you all that well, so what are they missing? A chance to get to know you, and their aunt and uncles. The opportunity to have a handful of additional people in their corner when they need support and strength. But they are also missing the chance that they will feel the pangs of disappointment, sadness, and anger.

Of all the things that are missing, I believe you are missing the most. Your pride, your stubbornness, your unwillingness to change at all, ensure that you are missing out. On alot:

1. The opportunity to know your grandchildren. You won’t know how dedicated and talented one is at sports. You won’t see how the middle child has the most creative and unique view of the world possible. You can’t laugh at the antics of our youngest boy as he tells it like it is in the most innocent way. And you won’t ooh and ahh at the beauty of our girl, the preciousness of her, and the happiness that beams from her.
2. The chance to know my partner for the strong, loving man that he is. You miss out on seeing him hold my hand through every hurdle, to see the kids beam when he is around, and to hear his ideas on life.
3. You miss out on meeting a very good person. A person who cares about helping others, who volunteers, who is kind and loving to everyone, and willing to give everyone (even you) endless chances to change, grow, and become more than they thought they could ever be.
4. The wonderful part of parenthood where you get to be your child’s rock. You have not and will not be there through illness, hardship, or even just the times that are so good they need to be shared!
5.Growth. You miss out on the opportunity to become a better parent, and to learn something from these people you shut out. You miss the opportunity to change how you connect with and relate to your family. 

All these things are really crappy. What’s worse is knowing that you don’t even know what you are missing.

Behind the wall that is my anxiety.

You may have noticed this blog hasn’t been very active recently. You can thank Gill’s puppies and my anxiety for that. Gill is busy cleaning up literal shit All. Day. Long. Put pups out. Let pups in. Clean up shit. Repeat. She’ll be back soon.

I, in similar fashion, have been trying to clean up figurative shit. I have been locked in my head, sorting through the kind of shit that anxiety creates, for weeks now. In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, it seems fitting to talk about my own struggles with a mental illness… So that is what I will attempt to do here.
What is it like to be trapped in your own head? It sucks. It is crowded. It is scary. It is hard.

My typical day consists of talking myself down from one worry after another, after another, after another, and trying to organize, clean, create, or exercise, at a level that causes many of my friends and family to wonder if I have some sort of OCD (and I probably do), to keep the level of anxiety low. Luckily, I have kids so there is ALWAYS something to clean and organize. Unfortunately, I have kids so there is always something to worry about.

Bills. Kids.Groceries. Cats. Degus. Hamster. Baby. Teething. Diapers. Dishes. Laundry. Sleep. Naptime. Schedule. Classes. Back to School. Workout. Organize. Supper. Lunch. Cleaning. Shower. Vitamins. Wedding. Money. Loans. Moles. Cancer. Surgery. Appointments. Anxiety. Blog. Migraine. Mail. Books. Textbooks. Rent. Sex. Pills. Refills. Activities. Babysitters. Dust. Reorganize. Garbage. Ligthbulb. Costco. Walmart. Crowds. People. Friends. Time. Driving. Journal. Makeup. Clothing. Smile. Custody. Support. Holidays. Christmas. Birthdays. Anniversary. Rinse. Repeat.

These things and more pop into my head all day long. It makes me feel like I can’t breathe. Like I can’t think. Like I can’t keep up. 
Then I get emotional. Then I get grumpy. Then I worry about being grumpy and how it effects other people. It is worse if I am trying to talk myself down from an anxious thought, and someone needs something at that exact moment. Then I am really grumpy, but mostly because I can’t think, and then I feel guilty, which makes the anxiety worse.

My medications aren’t working lately. I’m feeling worse. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t stop. Even when my medications work it dulls the physical symptoms, breathlessness, racing heart, migraines, sleeplessness, panic, but the thoughts keep running. 24.7; 365. That is what it is like to live with anxiety. That is my struggle. And my excuse for not blogging. 

More medications to come, followed by… more blogs? Here’s hoping!

 

By sunspot615 Posted in Blogs

Open Letter To Naptime

Dear Naptime,

I would like to apologize for being such a bitch to you when I was younger. Honestly, I didn’t know any better. I really just thought you were boring, and you got in the way of ALOT of the fun stuff I wanted to do. Let’s face it, we were at different places in our lives.

Luckily I have grown up and seen the error of my ways. I love you. I love you so much I cannot get through a day without you (literally). No matter how bad the morning was, or how many fights I had to break up, or how many times I heard about how I was ruining my children’s lives, we all have a nap and life is good again. You are truly a life saver. A saint. My hero.

That said, I have a bone to pick with you. Just because I get a little bit busy one day and can’t fit you in doesn’t mean you have to send Karma and Murphy (with his stupid law) after me. I totally get how you would be jealous, and maybe even feel a bit angry, but seriously. I just told you how much more wonderful my days are with you… trust me, they are bad enough when I can’t fit you in without you sending reinforcements.

How about we make a deal? I will try harder not to cancel plans with you, if you call off the hounds. Sound good? Screaming kids, getting told I am a bad mom, crying infant, and being too tired to make macaroni for supper should be sufficient punishment. Let’s forget the burns, cuts, and bruises, the stubbed toes, gravity yanking things out of my hands, construction on EVERY road I need to take home with screaming kids in the car, and every other crappy thing that could possibly happen.

I’d really like it if we could remain friends, and look forward to your cooperation.

Sincerely, 

Your biggest fan – Mom

Can I at least get some sick days?!

I never applied for the job. I didn’t seek out a career that had me working 24 hours a day 7 days a week, without pay, or appreciation. It landed on my lap. Even then, I didn’t sign up. I got drafted.

I got picked for the job of motherhood.

 
Don’t get me wrong. I love it. I love the hugs. The kisses. The cuddles. I love those tiny beasts more than anything in the world.

There are days, though, that I seriously consider handing in my letter of resignation. Just quitting. Finding a new career. Maybe I could take up a job as a janitor? That would be nice and quiet. I clean up everyone else’s crap anyway. I’m good at it. Years of experience. Anyone looking?

 

The days I want to quit are few and far between… usually at the end of a weeklong battle over who’s the boss with my five year old.

Usually after days of fighting my partner about enforcing the rules, and not overruling everything.

Usually after a week of hearing the two older boys fight with each other, cry, whine, and say I’m bored four hundred times a day.

After endless arguments about the x-box, how whatever I made for supper isn’t what they wanted, after stepping on toys for the millionth time, and cleaning up a room only to go back five minutes later to another mess..

Usually after my patience has been whittled down to a toothpick sized, and equally brittle, part of my personality.

 

This is when I snap. I lose it. Everyone go to your room! Take your toys with you before they go in the garbage! I’m not making supper tonight or ever again until people start cleaning up after themselves! And my partner gets the “I am not superwoman, so why can’t you just play on my team for a while because I am going to end up in a mental hospital which would be a nice vacation if we could afford the daycare while I am away” speech.

It is these days when I vent. I cry. I feel guilty. I am a shitty, spazz of a mother. I made my kids feel bad for being kids. I raised my voice. Again. Other moms can deal with this shit. Why can’t I? I need to quit. I am not up for the task. I am no good at this whole mother-spouse thing.

 

Where do I hand in my resignation? Oh, not an option. How about request vacation? No? Hmm.. Is there at least a suggestion box?

Now Hiring: Bride

You can count on some things in life.

  1. You will run into your ex the ONE day you are in a rush because you are out of milk and have four screaming kids at home so you run to WalMart without make up and still in your worst pair of pajamas.
  2. Your computer will crash and/or your printer will stop printing the day before a major writing deadline.
  3. Planning your wedding will make you question, daily, whether or not you should be getting married in the first place.

 

Let’s talk about number three for a second. I was the one who got proposed to. I assume that means it is my partners desire to marry me.. right? You’re all thinking, of course. Why are you being an idiot and even questioning it? Look at that ring on your hand! Shut up and LOOK, dammit!

 

Okay. OKAY! I looked. But you know what? You plan a wedding. You’ll see. You say “I need addresses for your family so I can send the invitations”. He says “MMhmm” and two months later… still no addresses. You say “You need to ask the people you want to be your groomsmen so if anyone says no we can find replacements”. He says “yeah.. uh, next week.” Which turns into the next, nope the one after that –oh wait, maybe next week?

 

He doesn’t have an opinion on anything EXCEPT the one thing you have already decided on without him… the flowers! WTF?!  So, there’s that. The groom is too lazy to jump on the wedding bandwagon and it leaves you feeling that maybe he doesn’t feel like getting married anyway.

 

Then, there is the “I want to plan a stress-free wedding”. This is stressful. I want it to be fun, and laid back. I tell my bridesmaids to pick a dress they are comfortable in. I want them to look like themselves. I want them to feel comfy. “How long should it be?” “What fabric?” “Straps? No straps?” “Should I wear high heels? What’s everyone else wearing?” “You’re going to have to pick it out for me, I have no idea what you want.”
Umm… It’s supposed to be stress-free. Pick what you want. Translation: Don’t bug me about it!

 

I want the food to be low-maintenance. Cabbage rolls. Hamburgers. Hell, I would do subs! “You can’t do hamburgers at a wedding! People will be expecting real food.” Well… whose wedding is it anyway? (Meanwhile guilt stabs at me like a serial killer).

 

I chose a small, lightweight, white dress. Not a gown. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES PEOPLE HAVE SAID I WILL REGRET NOT HAVING A GOWN?!

Cut my hair because I prefer short. If I decide I want it long for the wedding I will do extensions. Nope. Should have kept it long. Need to lose weight. Whose doing my makeup? I can’t seriously be considering wearing slippers can I?

 

I don’t really like flowers, but we HAVE to have some. Would prefer a small gathering, but have to invite everyone who ever said hi to me, out of guilt.. Guilt and fear that one of them will end up being a serial killer and I will be stabbed for real… at my wedding..

 

I really shouldn’t be getting married. Apparently I know nothing about weddings, and my groom doesn’t “Feel like” a wedding anyway. Anyone want to plan a stress-free, low-maintenance wedding? Now filling the position of BRIDE.

Because I am “less than” too often.

I read an article today from the Huffington Post about a facebook group called Women Against Feminism. It is basically a group of women who post pictures of themselves with written notes about why they don’t need feminism. 
(You can read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/15/women-against-feminism_n_5588062.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-living)

I am not one of those people who believes that if you don’t agree with my views you are bad, or less, or even wrong. I don’t think all women HAVE TO believe in feminism. I do think it is important to disagree with it because you actually disagree with it, not because you believe (falsly) that feminism is an elitist group of women out to take rights from men and give them to sluts who are playing the victim card. Because truthfully, for me and every feminist I know, it isn’t about taking from men and giving to women. We aren’t playing Robin Hood here. It is about equality for everyone. Men, women, anyone in between, from all walks of life, sexualities, classes, careers, etc. My spouse is a feminist. He doesn’t hate men. Neither do I. I hate that all over the world there are still women who are “less than” because they have vaginas…

I don’t even have a problem with having an anti-feminist page if the page consists of women who are against feminism because they don’t think equality is important, or because they don’t think it effects them… my biggest problem with the page is that they criticize feminists for being elitist, and belittling them for not living up to feminist expectations of women… the page has many women belittling feminists for not being like them. How is that better?

In response to many of the pictures I saw, and false arguments against feminism, here are my arguments as to why feminism is important:

1. Because my choosing to stay home with my kids when they are young is not a problem. The problem is that in too many of my relationships, I wasn’t even given an option. It was presumed that I would give up my goals to stay home, and expected. 

2. Because cooking for my spouse does not make me less. Him treating me badly, or being angry with me for NOT cooking for him would make me less. Him expecting me to do it would make me less. 

3. Because doing housework does not take away from my intelligence. I don’t have a job, and currently stay home with the kids. I do most of the housework. When I work, my spouse and I share housework duties equally. Too many women don’t have spouses who do. It is another expectation that women will work the double shift and not complain.

4. Because if I go to a bar in a sexy top and a guy checks me out and buys me a drink it isn’t oppressive. When I get called a slut/whore/tease/bitch because I didn’t consider that drink as a deposit on my vagina and offer to go home with the guy, that is oppressive.

5. Because noticing that I am good looking is not offensive. My looks being more important than my credentials, brain, or personality is.

6. Because rape culture exists. Because if I get drunk at a party, or don’t, flirt, or don’t, say no, or don’t, show some skin, or don’t doesn’t make it okay for any person to touch me in any way without explicit consent. Because consent is not the absence of “no” but the presence of “yes”.

7. Because of the phrase “Girls can’t [blank]”. My ability to do something or not do something should be a reflection of my talent/credentials/training/experience/ABILITY, not my sexual parts.

8. Because I don’t think I should get paid more for working less hours than a male, or for doing an easier job. I believe if I do the same job I should get paid the same. I also believe I should have access to better daycare so that working the same hours as a male is an option for me. 

9. Because there is a lack of female voices in politics, meaning issues that are generally “women’s issues” like reproduction, daycare, abortion, etc. are decided on/changed/ and seen only from the perspective of people who don’t have to live with the consequences of those decisions.

10. Because anyone who isn’t heterosexual is oppressed.

11. Because too many women in the world don’t have a voice.

12. Because there have been too many times in my life when I didn’t have a voice because of what was between my legs, not what was between my ears.

Again, you don’t have to agree. You don’t have to be a feminist. I will still believe in your right to equality, and mine. But do some research. Disagree with it for what it is, not for what the rumours going around say it is. 

For the love of formula!!

When my first child was born I was planning to have this perfect little boy, live with his dad in our beautiful apartment, kept clean and organized, and I’d breastfeed, of course. Leave it to a child to completely turn those expectations upside-down. Having a child is complicated, and as life got more complicated my relationship with his dad fell apart, we moved out of the apartment (Which had not been clean or organized for several months), and the fancy crib didn’t get used for almost the first year.
Breastfeeding? Didn’t happen. Not because I didn’t want to – I couldn’t! My son was in the NICU for a month and, despite pumping every three hours on the hour, the milk just stopped coming. I had one nurse who was great about it, she said I tried and if I just couldn’t then there was no shame in it. Other people on the other hand? It was like I was failing the “good mother Olympics”. I wasn’t even going to get bronze. I got looked at like I was pathetic, or stupid, even though I explained that I tried. My son had tubes in and out of everywhere, couldn’t cry, couldn’t latch… there was nothing natural about it. Yet here I was, expected to be able to nurture my child in the “natural” way. I got everything from “well you know, breast is best” to “if you started letting him try breastfeeding again you could start making milk again”… soooo starve my child when he is hungry by trying to make him eat where there is no food? Sounds like I would be causing a lot of un-needed stress. Truthfully, you wouldn’t know the difference. Had I not said he wasn’t breastfed you wouldn’t look at him and KNOW. He isn’t weak or super sick – in fact he is one of the healthiest, smartest, most agile five year olds I know! But there is this guilt that goes along with not breastfeeding, even if it isn’t really your choice, that you are somehow failing as a mother.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I was going to make up for it by breastfeeding. I KNEW that formula feeding didn’t mean my child would not be taken care of, or loved, or cuddled, or get nutrition, but something inside of me said I HAD to breastfeed to be a good mom. That something is known as pressure. Expectation. Guilt Culture. We live in a culture that thrives on guilting people into doing the “right thing”… well, turns out the right thing for my baby was NOT breastfeeding. She was always crying, always hungry… every thirty minutes. My milk was just not cutting it. I was tired, worried, upset – she was crying, hungry, stressed. I made the decision to switch to formula, she is so much happier, and so am I.
I miss having her cuddled into my flesh, eating until she eventually passes out on the most comfortable and warm human pillow ever made. I miss not having to make bottles, or buy formula. The rebellious part of me misses feeding in the middle of a restaurant while onlookers gave me looks of disapproval. I really enjoyed getting to send a great big “mind your own damn business” out there. That’s it. I HATED the painful letdowns… and I mean PAINFUL! I hated pumping. I hated not being able to go pee without my daughter screaming because she was hungry NOW, dammit! I hated that if I got one of my famous migraines I couldn’t take my medication for fear that it would pass through my milk and somehow hurt her. I hated that if I was exhausted I couldn’t just ask my partner to do the night feedings just once so I could sleep. I hated the pressure of being the only one who could feed her, and that every little thing I put in my body would effect her… the wrong vegetables could give her gas, my morning coffee could cause a stomache ache, heaven forbid I decided to have a pepsi, or a piece of cake, then she would be up all night. Some women love the all consuming job of breastfeeding, and I loved the look I got when it was me, always me, who calmed the screaming and gave the nourishment my baby needed, but that is a lot of pressure.
On top of that, people love technology. We know that organic, homemade foods are better for us. We still hit up a drive-through and buy pre-made pizza and junk. We know that walking, biking, rollerblading is better for us. We still drive. We know that water, milk, real fruit smoothies are better for us. We still drink beer, wine, pop. We don’t feel guilty about it. Or, maybe we do, but we don’t feel like we are BAD people for it. We have technology to feed our babies with formula. This wasn’t invented because someone decided that breast milk wasn’t the healthier choice… but it is a choice. It is there for people who can’t breastfeed, either because they physically can’t, or emotionally can’t, or because they just don’t want to.
Truthfully, I still get the cuddles, I make sure to give my baby skin on skin time and hold her all the time. I show up with a warm bottle and I still get that look that says “oh, thank you – I was starving!” But now, her daddy gets that, too. Now I don’t have to endure my migraine for 24 hours or more because I can take my medication, pass her off to her dad, and sleep it off for a few hours. I can feed her and then know she will be full for an hour or two so I can wash some dishes, or make supper, or read a few pages in a book. These things may seem trivial, but they make me feel less stressed, and I am a better mom for it.
So, maybe I am failing the “Good Mom Olympics” according to all the other moms out there who do breastfeed. Maybe I am not excelling like society says I should. But to my kids, and my newborn, a less stressed, happier mommy that has time to cuddle and play and laugh because she made a choice that worked better for everyone? That’s worth the gold medal – every time.

Getting Away From It All… With 4 Kids and One Spouse.

Ever noticed that there is nothing like a vacation to stress you the fuck out?! If you are a mom, you have. I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain. At least I get to go on vacation. But from the minute we decide to go on vacation until two days after we get back it is “Welcome to Stressville –population, Mom”.

It starts with lists. What to bring, what to shop for, what we will eat.. lists to remember what is on the other lists. After a full day of shopping for necessities, double checking lists, and going through the kids clothes, it is time to actually pack. It usually goes something like this:

Me: Okay, so I have all the food figured out, and the kids clothes… do I have all the medication? Shit. Where is the baby advil? Okay.. wait, did I remember to pack socks for everyone?
Unpack all kids bags, realize they all had their socks, repack.
Partner: Ugh, I’m tired. Can’t wait to hit the lake tomorrow. What time are we leaving?

Me: What? Wait. What are you doing?

Partner: Resting. When are we leaving tomorrow?

Me: Resting? Do you not see all the stuff we still have to pack? We won’t be leaving at all tomorrow if we don’t get everything packed!

Partner: Oh. Yeah. I will get to it…

In the meantime, I am still trying to pack everything. I pack my stuff. I pack the kids stuff. I tell him there is a list so he can pack his stuff.
The next morning I get the “Did you remember to pack my glasses? Did you grab my charger? What did I do with my pills?”
And without fail, when we get there it is “Mooom, did you bring me my [insert toy/game/book]?”

Shoot. Me. Now.

I have one rule when we go to the lake. No electronics. And every year my partner spends 90% of his time playing with his phone. My kids play their ipods, Nintendos, and other video game devices. I get frustrated. I tell them to put them away, only to have my parenting vetoed by my partner, who would rather everyone sit at the lake like robots than actually find something to do. (So, remind me why we spent the money and gas getting out here if we were going to act exactly like we do at home?)

Seriously, any takers on the whole putting me out of my misery request? No?

Now, here we are at the lake. Me, constantly wrestling electronics out of peoples fingers. The five year old only wants to eat junk food. He is in a pissy mood, and everyone needs to feel his wrath.
The nine year old sneaks off to play on his electronic game device. He is unimpressed when I find him.
The twelve year old whines about.. everything. There’s nothing to do. He doesn’t want to go outside. He refused to bring a friend to hang out with. There’s nobody he knows. He doesn’t want to meet new people. He is bored.
The only one I am not annoyed at is the baby. She does what she is supposed to. Eats. Cries. Poops. Cries. Sleeps. Cries. Eats.

Nobody wants to play cards. Nobody wants to go exploring. Nobody wants to talk. Nobody wants to hang out with anybody. I should bring up a bunch of girlfriends next time. At least we would actually want to see each other… Nobody wants to DO anything ALONE, but nobody wants to be with ANYONE that is there.

Soooo relaxing! I’m soooo glad I decided to leave my bottle of wine at home and go to the lake… *SARCASM*

It is like this.. whining, fighting, crying (mostly by me), stressful… every day until we go home. Vacation just began and I am counting down the minutes until we get home, and get back to our routine again. Sigh.