Have you ever reached a point where you become so overwhelmed that you don’t want to do anything? You just want to throw in the towel and yell, “I QUIT!” at the top of your lungs? And then run away to Mexico?
Well, I am at that point now, and sadly, have been stuck in it, mucking about, for the past few days or so. Help! I cannot pinpoint the moment things went south for me. But I do have some general ideas.
Let’s begin with the children. The oldest has been enjoying nap-free, action-packed days with later than normal bedtimes. This has the effect of turning her into a bit of a monster. She has become overly sensitive and emotional, as well as grouchy and sassy. And I can’t tell her she’s tired because it will just end up in an argument. After 4:00 p.m., she seems to lose all control of her manners, the words that come out of her mouth, and the ability to remain upright without falling into something for more than fifteen minutes at a time.
The middle child is perhaps the whining-est child on the face of the earth right now. Truly. I have not met a child who whines more than she does. At first, I chocked it ip to teething. But, if that’s the case, the child has been teething now for over four months straight, and is showing no signs of stopping. From the moment she wakes up, until the moment she goes to sleep, and then, on into the middle of the night, it’s:
“Hold me, mama!”
“Arm!” (she wants to lie on my arm)
“Mom-MEE! Mom-MEE!” (spoken like Will Ferrell demanding ‘Meatloaf!’ in the movie Wedding Crashers)
And the baby. The poor, sweet baby. He is mostly quiet and pleasant and smiley. He rarely fusses. But he’s been in a poor-napping-during-the-day phase for some time. As a result, I end up spending much of the day either holding the baby, or trying endlessly to put him down for a nap. Our house is just too small, and the noise and distraction too much, that he wakes up time and again after being put to sleep in my arms.
Then, there’s the house. Besides being small, there is always, always the issue of child clutter on the floor. Lately, there have been tens upon tens of little colorful plastic bears littering the floor. I had to recently round them up and retire them to a secret hidey spot that NO ONE knows about. There is also always laundry to be done and folded and put away. And dishes in the sink or on the counter, or in the dishwasher waiting to be put away.
But then there is the recent stuff too. Like the landlord wanting us to buy the mower. Thankfully, we have put his ridiculous offer on hold for the time being. Or the hundreds of maggots I discovered in the garage once I moved a towel that was lying on the floor. They scattered everywhere in an instant. Normally, I am not afraid of bugs, but this was just too much. I told the hubs he needed to immediately come outside and deal with the situation. His solution—throw away the towel. But what about the scattering maggots?!
Then there are the flies that reside in our house these days, again, numbering in the tens upon tens. I swatted at least twelve yesterday. I’ve no doubt these are coming from the maggot farm in the garage. Also, there are small ants that seem to be building their den underneath the bathroom floor, coming and going as they please. I suppose it is nice entertainment to watch them while I’m sitting on the toilet, but I’d really like for them to build and destruct elsewhere.
Then, there’s the washing machine. That started giving us trouble weeks ago when it began leaking copious amounts of water onto the floor. Turns out the water valve was faulty and cold water was just gushing out all over the place. Lovely.
So we went for a whole week without the use of a fully functioning washing machine. This was especially trying since we need to launder diapers every other day. We were able to make it work for a bit, but I had to stay with the machine while it filled up, then manually turn off the water, then come back downstairs for the rinse cycle, turn on the water, stay until the basin filled up, and then leave again, on and on ad nauseam.
We finally got a refurbished one a few days ago—courtesy of the landlord—which of course, I just discovered is leaking water again, although gratefully, not as much as last time. Does the madness ever end, I wonder.
So this morning, when I woke up at 7:45 (thank you, husband, for getting up with the baby at 6:00), and just wanted a moment to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee in hand, but instead was met with a rambunctious four-year-old who wanted to build a block bed with me for her wooden doll family, a whiny two-year-old demanding, “Hold me, mama! Nurses on the couch!”, and a baby, who would very soon need to be put down for a nap, I really did want to run away to Mexico. I felt as though I couldn’t do it again—another day of the same old routine. Another day of swatting flies and cleaning clutter and dishes and holding babies and listening to “Mom-MEE!”
There’s this phrase that I’m reminded of time and again when I feel overwhelmed like this.
Don’t think about everything that needs to be done, just put one foot in front of the other and do something. So, I nursed the toddler while drinking my coffee and watching the four-year-old play with blocks. My husband, bless him, sensing my unraveling, went in a little late to work so he could rock the baby to sleep.
After he left, I managed a shower. Next, I swatted a fly and killed it dead. Then, I started a load of diapers. Baby steps. Finally, when I felt I could do no more than that, I called my sister and told her that I was coming over with the kids because I couldn’t be trusted to be on my own with them today.
She laughed and took us in. We hung out and chatted. She put the baby down for his second nap. And then, she fed us and gave me a couple of glasses of wine. And it was just what I needed. A break from the monotony and confining walls of our home.
It’s funny. In the moment I always think, “Oh man. God is really testing me today. What with all the flies and maggots about.” And then, after the briefest respite, I suffer from the guilt of you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-God-is-testing-you, you’re-so-blessed-it’s-not-even-funny nonsense.
I guess it’s like my wise husband says: There’s always tomorrow. A new day. A chance to start all over again and make things better than they were before.
Aren’t we lucky?