I woke up this morning about 3:30 to the sounds of our dog, Tinkerbell, barking. I stumbled out of bed, sans glasses, let her out of her crate, and opened the back door to let her outside – or tried to anyway, because she felt how chilly it was out there and stayed by the door. I have no idea why she woke up in the first place. Maybe she gets insomnia like me.
I heard go to her bowl and start eating her food and I laid down on the couch, knowing that if I go back to bed, she might actually have to go to the bathroom, but forget to let me know. She is over a year old, but still has accidents sometimes.
As I laid there, hot and sweaty (as the house is inefficient at staying cool in the summer after an 80 degree day even if it’s 60 degrees at night), I started reviewing the day I had today and I decided I needed to get up and write about it.
The highlight of the day was taking the girls swimming to my neighbor’s house down the street. I didn’t want to go at first, as the girls were being really obnoxious during lunch and I was feeling lethargic most of the morning. Some days are like that – probably due to the funky thyroid condition combined with lots of therapy ‘homework’ of exploring emotions and practicing communication skills. I saw my therapist for an individual session on Thursday and while I feel great talking about things during the sessions, between sessions, sometimes I get really moody.
The girls finally got their act together and we went for a few hours.
I was keenly aware of how much I like my neighbor’s backyard. My neighbor has two monstrous maple trees with stocky trunks and enormous leafy crowns which not only provided ample shade, but it was about 10 degrees cooler than in the sun.
She has a table and chairs placed beneath one and we sat and drank lemonade while the kids swam. While I was there today, I saw a Cooper’s Hawk flying close by and sorely wished I had my camera. We also saw a woodpecker and of course the American Goldfinch. I decided I am extremely jealous of her with those trees. If my yard ever had trees in it, they were long gone before we ever moved in.
The kids were having fun, and as my neighbor and I chatted, I realized how much I appreciated her in my life. I can’t quite say we are best friends or anything, but we have routinely car-pooled the kids, she’s baby-sat for me a few times, and we do get together with the kids about once a week or so. I’ve made attempts to invite her out with just me, and she’s always managed to decline. I haven’t quite figured out why that is, but I’ve decided to let it go and enjoy the relationship I do have with her.
And her backyard.
I was sorry we had to cut our visit short. And when we trudged home and in the house, the whining began almost immediately.
I don’t know why that is. We can be having a marvelous time out of the house, and the minute we step through the thresh-hold of the door, it’s not long before the placid children turn shrew-like and all hell breaks loose.
My enjoyment of the afternoon abruptly turned sour. My mood darkened, and the typical spots in my body started kinking up – the shoulders and neck. I began the litany of negative, self-defeating thoughts and the struggle not to roar at them. My old familiar enemies, anger and rage, started bubbling up inside me and I struggled to keep them at bay.
I don’t know why it is that I can go from peaceful to really irritated in 6.3 seconds. I think I successfully contained my anger, and turned most of it inward…though I hadn’t realized until now THAT’s why I spent the remainder of the day pretty much incapacitated with a low-grade headache and depressed feelings and a sensation that my body was moving through molasses.
I hate to admit it, but this is the biggest reason why I find motherhood so challenging. I have no idea why I can’t just ‘roll with the punches’ and not let my daughters’ moods and behavior affect me so much. It makes parenting so hard. It keeps me frozen in indecision on how to discipline, or if I actually am moved to action, it’s usually with a mixture of anger and resentment (I don’t want to have my peace shattered). I can’t calm myself down enough to rationally address their obnoxious behavior, and most times I’ll choose between yelling and ignoring until things get out of hand. And then I am full of self-reproach.
What’s worse, I could not shake the feelings for quite some time, even AFTER I asked Mr. RSG to take the girls out to dinner and the bookstore, hoping that I would return to normal (or a close approximation of it) by the time they returned.
Really, no such luck.
At least, not until I grabbed an India Pale Ale, one of the few kinds of beer I actually like to drink. I can say NOW I understand why people self-medicate with alcohol. I can’t say that it made me chipper, but it certainly loosed the death grip of my thoughts long enough for me to not notice so much about how I awful I physically felt.
I don’t know what to do about this. My therapist seems to understand. In fact, she told me so on Thursday. It’s quite simple you see…having an alternating neglectful and abusive mother whom you couldn’t rely on makes you anxiously attached to your own kids. Yes, I know this, I’ve researched all about it…just tell me how to fix it, doc, and quickly, before my kids grow up.
Perhaps instead of saving for a college fund for them, I ought to start saving for their therapy sessions they are going to need when THEY grow up.