Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Let's be real...

The last week and a half has been hard.

My friend, Jess, shared on Facebook this weekend that her week was hard too.  Her husband was out of town and she was just feeling DONE with her kids (gee, that sounds familiar).  She shared how most people look at her and think that she's got her "s**t" together, but in reality that's not always the case.
I'm sorry Jess, but as I read your post it actually made me feel a bit better.  Maybe misery really does love company. Anyway, it's had me thinking a lot (this whole week has) and this is my outlet so I'm just going to share.  Let's be real shall we...

 I am a total optimist by nature.  Most of the time this is a really healthy thing.  Occasionally I am living in denial.  At the same time, if you really know me, you know that I'm also pretty real with my life and my feelings.  I lived part of high school and college and beyond in performance, but that just doesn't work very well for me.  It's pretty hard actually because I tend to be a person who has a difficult time concealing my feelings and emotions.

So to recap...I'm generally a pretty real, genuine person who's not afraid to let people see the hard things (mostly).  But I'm also an optimist so I tend to focus on the positive.  So although I'm generally willing to let people see the hard things it's just not always what they see.  Make sense?

The vast majority of what you see on my blog is reality.  I really do love to plan ridiculous birthday parties for my kids (not because I have to, but because I really do enjoy doing it).  I'll admit, however, that most of the formal sibling photo shoots (where they are all together) are a bit forced and not really as enjoyable in person.  I'm going to keep doing it anyway.  I'm a glutton for punishment.  Anyway...

The reality is that my life is pretty darn good.  And compared to 90% of the world's population my life is darn amazing.  But the reality is that is can also be hard and I rarely have all of my "stuff" together.  And the last week and a half has been hard.  Pretty crappy actually (figuratively and literally).  As an optimist this is sort of hard to say, but it's the truth.

Mostly it's that I'm tired.  Really, really tired.  I guess that 6 months of feeding a baby every two hours morning, noon, and night will do that to a person.  This is not a complaint...it's reality.  I wouldn't change it for the world, but I'm still tired.

At the recommendation of our doctor and at the insistence of my husband we started sleep training a week and a half (or so) ago.  I'll write more about this later, but for now let's suffice it to say that it was every bit as hard as I was expecting.  There were hours of screaming, long sleepless nights, and lots of tears (from my babe and from me).

 The first night that my sweet Liam actually slept through (rather than screamed through) the 2 a.m. time slot was the night that our puppy got sick.  And by sick I mean that we woke up at 2 a.m. to find that she had explosive diarrhea ALL OVER our bedroom.  How we slept through this is beyond me (clearly we are exhausted).  We spent an hour and a half (yep, that would be 2:00-4:30 a.m.) scrubbing down the floor, changing sheets, giving the dog a bath, scrapping off her dog bed (which might be the first thing that has ever literally made me gag).  We still don't really know what happened, but if the smell was any indication I believe that she ate something dead and it then exploded out her behind all over our bedroom.  The cruel irony that this happened the first night that Liam slept was not lost on us.

And two days later my husband left for a conference in New York.  This is a conference that Campus Crusade puts on for the students in our region.  You might remember that I have been the one to take our students to this conference the last couple of years and I loved it.  I got to be with students, share a hotel room with my girlfriends, eat out at some of my favorite restaurants, use my photography skills in ministry, and see God work.  I also got to get away for a few days from my role as mother.  It was good.  It was healthy.

But this year my role as mama and primary food source for the babe had to take priority.  So, away my husband went for 5 days and 4 nights.  And all the while leading up to this I STILL hadn't slept through the middle of the night stretch because the baby and puppy were alternating waking me up at night.  This is true.  It happened.  For numerous nights in a row one of them would wake me up.  The next night it would be the other.  I swear that they were conspiring together against me.

So Joe left.  And promptly broke down.  Well, I should say that the truck broke down.  First in New Hampshire and then finally in Vermont where he was forced to stop and get a hotel for the night while he waited for the mechanic to open the next morning.  When it was all said and done we had to shell out $1,000 to get our truck back on the road.  This would have been hard enough except that Joe would have been able to do all of the repairs himself in our driveway if he had been home with his tools.  Nope.  Instead we had no choice but to pay the big bucks to get him back on the road.  This was incredibly frustrating for the both of us.  Money is tight around here right now.  And with the new year came a new resolve for us to be even more careful with how we spent our money.  Let's just say that this truck repair wasn't in the budget.

So there was that.  And then shortly after that our internet service stopped working.  The day after he left I spent pretty much every single moment of Liam's morning and early afternoon naps on the phone with our internet provider and they tried to fix it for me.  After the 3rd phone call wasted what precious little time I had that day the lady finally told me that they would have to send somebody out to fix it.  And then she told me that they couldn't send somebody out for 4-5 days!

This is where things got ugly.  I called Joe (who had finally made it to the conference) and I just sort of broke down.  What can I say...I was exhausted.  And I don't say that as an exaggeration to make my point.  I was literally exhausted.  I was also totally overwhelmed by the truck repair bill.  And the thought of the internet being down the entire time he was gone was the last straw for me.  We don't have cable and I hate how quiet it is at night when he's gone (it makes me nervous) so I often watch shows online (sometimes just for background noise) to keep my mind from wandering too far!

So, the internet was the last straw.  And I called Joe in tears.  I was trying to explain to him about the internet all the while crying and stammering over and over again that, "I was just so tired" and "why did we start sleep training before this conference" and things like that.  Mostly I was tired.  Lack of sleep does crazy things to a person's brain.

My poor husband.  He listened and did the best he could to comfort me from many states away.  Somehow he managed to make me feel like I wasn't a total lunatic.  Even though I kinda was.

But that was the worst of it. After that I slowly managed to pull myself together.  The kids weren't terrible.  They weren't great either.  They were their typical 6 and 4 year old selves...fighting with each other and making constant messes and noise. Oh the noise!  Because they are kids and this is normal.  I probably yelled a few too many times during those 5 days.  And more than once I begged them to just try to be helpful instead of making more trouble.  We had some fun too of course.  But by the end I was pretty much done.  Those children?  I love those children more than I can even explain.  And I would literally give my life for theirs.  And yet at the end of five days alone with them the mere sound of their voices made me want to run from the house screaming.

That's the reality.  It was nothing really all that over the top.  Just the reality that I need my husband and that parenting solo is hard.  And that sleep is VERY important to healthy functioning (for everybody).  And that although it might look good from the outside the reality is that I don't always have my stuff together.  I just don't.  I wish I did, but I am a work in progress and I often need help from the Lord, and my friends, and our family.

My husband is back home and we are recovering from the aftermath of his time away.  Liam has slept through the middle of the night two night in a row now.  The house is still a disaster.  But things are beginning to look up.

Thanks for letting me process and be real.

1 comment:

murillo said...

This post made me laugh ("We still don't really know what happened, but if the smell was any indication I believe that she ate something dead and it then exploded out her behind all over our bedroom." was such amazing imagery) and cry (I feel for you because I know that I would have had a similar reaction faced with all you did during that time). I'm glad things are getting better and I appreciate you being real!