Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Is Where I'm At

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed these days.

See what I did there?  I added the words a bit.  Not because I needed to but only because it sounds less whiny.  In blogging there's a real fine line between being a whiny McWhinerson and just plain keepin' it real.

It's May.  And usually around this time of year I'm jumping for joy.  The days are long and spent 100% outdoors.  After an evening jaunt to the park and scrubbing the dirt from their sun-kissed bodies I'll settle down and say to myself, "It's only May!  We still have three whole months of summer to go.  Hooray!"

But this year I find myself grumbling.  "It's only May.  I still have three more months of this.  Ugh."

What it is, is this.  I'm not really a mom.  I'm just someone who has been chosen to oversee this runaway circus show.

We live in Minnesota and our warm weather months are very limited.  So I'm constantly kicking the kids outside.  Of which they never protest.  But of which they always find some sort of trouble to get in while I'm tied up inside tending to some need of the baby.

Just yesterday I brought the baby inside for less than a minute when I peaked out the window and no longer saw Lucy.

"William, where's Lucy?"

"I don't know."

Then I always have a little fight in my head.  She's probably fine.  Let it be.  Stop being a helicopter parent.  This is the only voice Brian hears in his head, by the way.  It both irritates me and sends me into a fit of envy all at the same time.  How can he just do nothing and feel OK with it?

The other voice of mine says What kind of parent are you?  Go find her!  What will the neighbors think?  She's probably halfway to the Mississippi by now!

I listened to the second voice.  I plopped the baby down and ignored her screams.  I ran out the back door yelling her name.

I could faintly hear her voice coming from somewhere in the front yard.  So I ran around to the front of the house to find her ringing the doorbell of our next door neighbor.  A confused, but still smiling, Mrs. P answered the door.  I apologized profusely.  Here I am.  The mother who let her three-year-old daughter loose in the neighborhood to play Ding, Dong, Ditch.

I can hear you laughing but please believe me when I tell you that was the very last reaction I had.

So on the back stairs she went for a timeout and some very stern warnings about the Rules of Summer and Outdoor Play.

1. We don't cross the alley.
2. We don't ring other people's doorbells.
3. Furthermore, we don't go into other people's yards.

OK, Mommy.

"If you break the rules," I threaten, "I will take away your wand."

She gasps.

Ah-ha!  I've found it.  This one would sting.  Now we're speaking the same language.  The wand has been threatened.  This is serious business.

You see?  It's a story like this, where I can see myself from an out-of-body perspective, when I know that all I really do all day is run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to put out fires.

Maybe it's the difference between two children and three.  Or maybe it's the difference between rule-follower William and rule-challenger Lucy.

Whatever it is, I'm exhausted.  And depleted.

A couple weeks ago Brian was traveling for work and I thought it was going to be the end of me.  All the mornings.  All the nights.  All the days.  All by myself.

The problem isn't really the travel. The problem is that the travel is so long. Most times extending to a full work week and sometimes even a weekend. It's an eternity in my life.

Travel was not supposed to be a part of his job description but alas here we are.  Part of me is really excited for him in his career.  He's jetsetting off to really cool places.  He's drinking the world's best coffee and making best friends with Europeans.  He's drinking craft beer with Princeton University students.  He's meeting big-name clients face-to-face and hearing about cutting edge medical breakthoughs.  It's the kind of stuff we always dreamed about when he first set out in the wonderful world of Sales.

But I would be lying if I didn't admit that there's also a part of me that's desperately bitter about the whole thing.  Because OMIGOSH what I wouldn't give to sit in an airport and read USA Today.  Or fly the friendly skys knowing that the scream I hear ten rows back is no child of my responsiblity.  Or to sleep in a king-sized bed all by myself for four nights straight without a single distruption except my morning alarm.

The only thing that keeps the bite from really stinging is the fact that Brian completely acknowledges the fact that, at this point in our lives, he totally drew the longer stick.

So we laugh and poke fun at the situation.  Because otherwise I'd cry.

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